Baldwin Gulch Trailhead


Road Difficulty

Moderate 4WD, long wheel base vehicles not recommended. Good clearance required. 4   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
Easy 2WD dirt to 9,400' at start of the Baldwin Gulch road.
4WD to 12,000' in Baldwin Gulch.
Narrow 4WD to 13,100'.

Driving Directions

From the junction of U.S. 285 and U.S. 24, south of Buena Vista, drive 5.5 miles south on U.S. 285 and turn right (west) on Chaffee County Road 162 - towards Mt. Princeton. Drive almost 12.5 miles on this road (dirt after 10 miles) to reach the signed Baldwin Gulch Jeep Road on the left (also listed as the 277 Road). If you plan on parking here, there are plenty of pull-offs along the road. This is the lower trailhead. Short, high-clearance 4WD vehicles can drive up the 277 road. Above the river crossing (10,850'), there are dispersed camping spots along the side of the road.

Winter Access

Usually closed at the start of the Baldwin Gulch 4WD road.
Status Updates 
Posted By: Jay521
Info: No snow to contend with at all. Stream crossings looked easy. But I swear that road gets rougher every time I drive it - or perhaps I am just getting softer...
Posted By: chrislowrimore1
Info: 4WD road is completely dry of snow up to 12,700 ft. We rented two stock 2018 Jeep Wranglers from rental agencies at the Denver Airport for the trip with standard Goodyear Wrangler AT tires. High clearance and 4WD vehicles with AT or MT tires are required with large and occassional sharp rocks. Crossed both creek crossings, and the bottom crossing had about 8 inches of water (seen in photo 3). It took us about an hour to drive from the bottom of the 4WD road to 12,000 ft, which is where we parked. This area is above tree line right before the start of the switchbacks, and there was a little loop pull off for both of our vehicles to fit. I wish we would have parked a little bit lower, as the section of road from directly above tree line (photo 4) to where we parked contained a lot of smaller, sharper loose rock. But we managed just fine. Other jeeps, 4runners, or trucks with higher clearance and more heavy duty AT or MT tires were able to make it up to 12,700 ft before a section of snow (seen if zooming in on photo 5). However, one jeep decided to go up to 13,500 ft but ended up rolling his jeep about 50-100 yards down the mountain! See my trip report for more details. NO vehicles besides ATVs, 4-wheelers, or dirt bikes should drive above the ridge crest at 13,100 ft!!
Posted By: Kevo
Info: Road is driveable all the way to treeline with no snow. High clearance 4x4 needed. Saw a brave Subaru outback at the first creek crossing, only Jeeps, Tacomas, 4Runners beyond. Took 1.5 hours each way to drive in 4 miles to treeline in a TRD Off-road 4Runner with good AT tires.

Above the creek crossing things get pretty loose, which makes for more difficult driving.

Recommend only driving this road with good AT or MT tires. There are a ton of sharp rocks waiting to puncture sidewalls or highway tires starting at the base of the road.
Posted By: Chicago Transplant
Info: You can maybe get 1/2 mile up the road before a large snow drift blocks passage. Parking for 3-4 cars to depending on how you arrange them and how much turnaround space you allow. The road has very patchy snow above that, with long dry stretches all the way until above the creek crossing/road split. Some of those drifts may take a while to melt enough for driving. No flotation needed and not possible to ski, might be a little icy in a few spots. There is a series of boulders along the creek crossing you can carefully navigate to walk across, watch out for any wet/icy ones in the morning. We didn’t put our skis on until above the creek by a good 1/4 mile, we were headed towards Cronin but Antero was very dry.

Image 1 is of the creek crossing showing the rocks you can use to cross.
Image 2 is Antero from Cronin
Posted By: Eagle Eye
Info: As sallenrogem87 said, the road has some serious ice on it almost right from the start. This picture shows one of several thick ice flow places on the Baldwin Gulch Jeep Road, within eyesight of CC 162. Even for just walking up the road, micro spikes added quite a bit of safety and speed to my trip.
Posted By: sallenrogem87
Info: Since it has been some time since anyone updated this, I just wanted to share some info. The Baldwin Gulch "277" road above 9,400ft is still snowy and not passable. There is a great small parking area just feet from the 2WD TH itself. I can remember 3 ice floes that would stop most vehicles on the hike up beyond the 2WD TH. I could see some tire tracks of someone who tried to go up the 4WD road, but they stopped at a certain point (before the ice floes).
Posted By: cloudkicker
Info: You’ll have to start from the bottom of the road if you want any of the peaks up this way. Snow and ice on the road immediately from the Chalk Creek Rd junction.
Posted By: rijaca
Info: There is a large ice skating rink on the Baldwin Gulch Rd (277) about .25 miles from Chaffee County 162. Plan accordingly.
Posted By: Thevirtualsherpa
Info: Snow has shutdown this trailhead until next spring I presume. Lots of snow from road all the way to the end of the trail near the ridge of Antero. One note about the road too: there are a couple of downed trees about 1.8 miles in which could be an issue if not removed by the time snow melts next season.
Posted By: NickJohnson
Info: Tried getting past that section of ice a couple hundred yards from road but ended up almost sideways. Slowly backed down to the main road and hiked in from there. Very glad we did so as a fair portion of the 4WD road is covered in a sheet of thick, hard ice. I’m very doubtful it will be driveable before next spring/summer. Might be doable with chains....
Posted By: KSU Wildcat
Info: I will confirm Bombay2Boulder’s comments below. 3 jeeps bailed out in the first 200 yards this morning.
Posted By: Bombay2Boulder
Info: Road is icy starting from 0.5 miles up the road and lot of very icy patches throughout the road. Until 10 AM in the morning, this ice was bullet proof. I do not really know how one 4runner managed to make it till the stream crossing. Maybe they had chains. Save yourself the mental stress and just hike the road up. Unless we have a really warm spell expect to have ice on the road early morning.
Posted By: JasonKline
Info: Road is clear of snow until the upper switchbacks.
Posted By: wireless973
Info: Made it up to the treeline in my all stock 4WD Toyota Tundra without bottoming out at any point, I do not have running boards. As others have said the road is in bad shape, extremely rocky and quite narrow at certain points. I don’t have any particular off road technical skills but I took my time and made it up and down without any damage. I did not have any issues with mud or water, it was mostly dry minus a few minor sections. If you can make it up to the stream crossing I think its fair to say you can make it up to the top, especially with a shorter vehicle. It gets pretty narrow on the switchbacks but there is room to back up and make the turns.
Posted By: ezabielski
Info: Drove the whole road to 13,800. I remember a few years ago a friend got his Forester to the 4WD trailhead, and I just don’t see how that is possible anymore. The road seems much rockier than I remember. It’s not any better, but not really much worse after the 4WD trailhead. Once above treeline, it’s much less rocky. It’s also narrower with some tight switchbacks that might require 3 point turns. I would not recommend a wide truck due to how narrow it is. After the parking area at 13,100’, the final switchbacks are very tight and steep with plenty of larger rocks. No problem anywhere on the road with water or mud.
Posted By: Brimstone10
Info: Did Antero from this TH on 7/22 and was in my lifted 4 Runner. Mud pit is still there as mentioned in a previous report but I saw a 3/4 ton dodge diesel truck go through it with stock tires as well as numerous other jeeps, tacomas, 4 runners and even a bwm motorcycle parked up past the stream crossing. I didn’t think the stream crossing was all that bad. All the conditions encountered on this road are subject to your comfort level and experience and not so much about what you drive. With that said, I personally wouldn’t take ford fiesta up there but I’m sure there’s someone who has and has made it. Use your judgment and ymmv
Posted By: sodinski
Info: Saw a Kia Sportage and a Dodge Nitro past the stream crossing. I stopped at the stream in my 4x4 dodge diesel to get my 3000’. At that point, it’s barely faster than walking. Case in point, a hiker started about 5 minutes before me, and I beat him to the stream by maybe 10 minutes.
Posted By: Candace66
Info: Just drove down from this Trailhead area. To start with, there is a nasty mudhole about half mile down from where people generally park to climb Antero. I have a Wrangler with mud terrain tires and on Thursday I drove up through this and it was pretty mushy. But there was a big storm in the area Friday night/Saturday morning and that thing is a real mess. So there is now a traffic/parking cluster just below it because people don’t want to try to drive through it. Which is a good idea.

I wouldn’t attempt it without Mud tires or an ATV. Even then, the risk is that someone else is going to get stuck in it and you may be trapped above until they get moved.

The stream crossing the road where people normally start hiking up Antero has got quite a bit of water in it right now. This morning it looked more like a river.

Oh and there is also a Chaffee County SAR operation going on up there as of this morning. Quite frankly if you were thinking of Antero this weekend I would recommend a different destination!
Posted By: Lute82
Info: in a stock trail rated Tacoma, 9.3 inch clearance, could have went 13100 ft no problem, medium wheel base
Posted By: addrock528
Info: Road is pretty much clear of snow up to 12,800’. I should think any 4x4 up for a rough ride should make it that far.
Posted By: kansas
Info: Road dry and clear until about 1/2 mile past the stream crossing. Melting fast
Posted By: kayleenann8
Info: 2WD: clear and dry.

4WD: parked at the 2WD TH and hike up the 4WD road. About a mile or so up the road, there’s a pretty deep snow drift that doesn’t have any tire tracks across it. Several Jeep wranglers were parked below it today and it looks like no one has made it higher than this in a car yet. At 2.4 miles, an avalanche deposited a lot of snow and some debris across the entire road. There’s a downed tree across the road shortly after that. It’ll need a chainsaw to it to clear the road.
Posted By: RyGuy
Info: Road plowed to and past the TH itself. Park about 100 feet before the trailhead entrance in the large pull-out. The road up the gulch has been decently packed by snowmobiles, but you will want snowshoes.
Posted By: Eagle Eye
Info: (See 2 attached pictures) A smooth ice section only about .4 miles from the start of the road presented a problem. It is steep and leans away from the mountain slightly. There are few rocks to keep your traction/tires on & the likelyhood of sliding off the road seems high. I got about 3/4 through this & had to back down it. Chains or more momentum might get you through this, but I dont think I would want to be facing down it either.
Posted By: Hiker Mike
Info: I drove up to about 11,000+ feet in my rented 2008 Jeep Wrangler before I parked it. It might have had a 1" lift but otherwise nothing fancy. I was in 4WD Low all the way. For me, it was the worst road I‘ve been on. Just lots of rocks until the treeline. A rough ride for sure. The two water crossing were easy since the streams weren‘t high. I don‘t see a passenger car making this drive.

The trailhead can be easy to miss in the early morning light. If you drive past Alpine Lake, you have gone to far.

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