Turn left at this sign and drive for about 2.7 miles up a
This is definitely a 4WD trailhead, but I know that means different things to different people, so here are some pictures of the worst areas. My Tundra did just fine.
If you can make it to the stream crossing you can make it all the way to 13,800’ as the trail gets easier from here. I saw a bunch of Jeeps, 4Runners, Tacomas, a
GMC full size truck, and other modified vehicles there. I parked here because I wanted the elevation gain /mileage. After parking I crossed the stream and headed left.
This was not the hike I’d wanted to take today. I had another one in mind but I had a 4pm meeting I needed to be at, so my plans changed. I needed something close, so now it was between Mt Princeton and Mt Antero. The beta on the Mt Princeton trailhead said a week ago a 4Runner was stuck in the middle of the trailhead, with no further updates. Not wanting to risk missing a hike due to a blocked trailhead I just went with Mt Antero.
As noted above, the trail was a 4WD trail and FUN in the dark! I love watching the shadows play across the road as my high beams light them up. It was a challenge, but fun in my Tundra.
I arrived at 5am. After parking and crossing the stream I headed left and hiked for about 3 miles in the dark. It was pitch black. I couldn’t see a thing when the dome light in my truck went off so I turned on my headlamp.
There are actually 4 grouse in this picture, a mama and three chicks about 3 or 4 her size. I swear they’re in the picture! They blend in very well.
This trail followed the 4WD trail just about the entire way. About halfway up the switchbacks it started to get icy. It looks like it snowed and rained yesterday, and that all turned to ice. That ice was SLIPPERY! I wished I’d brought crampons or microspikes or something as this ice slowed my speed.
I could tell I was the first person on the trail that day because there were no human footprints in the snow. I did see some goat tracks. At about 12,800’ I saw a Tundra parked on the hillside. See, my truck could have made it!
After this area the snow became more pronounced.
I had to really dig in my toes to keep from slipping. At this point I saw new tracks on the snow. The shoes were small and the stride was just about perfect with mine, so I assumed it was a female hiker. It looked like this person was hiking in Keds? What’s up with that? Funny thing, I didn’t see any footprints that looked like the person had slipped. There were also dog prints accompanying the shoe prints.
I continued up the hillside until I came to the end of the road. At this point I could see the rest of my climb, as well as a hiker climbing down from the summit. This is where the real hike begins. The rest was just walking up a road.
I began to see pika prints!
Here’s a look at the last part of the ridge
At this point I met the hiker in front of me. It was a young man (indeed wearing worn in Keds). The white Tundra I’d seen was his. He’d driven up the night before, slept in his truck, and started at 5am. We wished each other well and I continued on.
I got to climb this!
It’s actually MUCH easier than it looks in this picture (this hike is an
easy class 2 in my opinion).
The only thing that made this hike difficult was the snow. After I left the road I had trouble finding a trail (but I knew there was one). Everything looked the same with a dusting of snow.
I couldn’t see where others had hiked before, so I used the
rocks to scramble to the top.
Here’s a look back at the climb to the summit
And a picture of the summit wind wall
Picture proof I summited. I had the entire summit to myself!
I only stayed a few minutes, then it was time to head back down.
The way back down was a bit more challenging than the way up for a few reasons. It was easier to find the trail, but it was covered in snow.
The most challenging part however was the ice. I was slipping and sliding the whole way back down.
It doesn’t look that bad, but most of it was difficult to see. I had to keep looking at my feel to brace myself for the ice. Every time I looked up at the scenery I ended up hitting a patch of ice and flying backwards onto my butt. Not cool.
This ice continued most of the way back down until treeline. I really wished I’d have brought my crampons. I could have hiked much faster back down if I’d had them.
I knew I was almost done with the hike when I hit this tiny
I saw my truck on the other side of the larger stream and breathed a sigh of relief all 4 of my tires were still inflated. I love my truck, but I always worry!
I made it back down at exactly 10am, so it was a 5 hour hike
for me. On the drive back down I encountered a lot of Jeeps and Off
Road Vehicles. It was challenging navigating the 4WD road with more than one vehicle. I moved when possible, but many times I just couldn’t go backwards. It was really nice when other drivers backed up as well.
Oh, and I saw some of the leaves beginning to change. Seems early, but it’s just a little, so I guess it’s ok.
This hike isn’t one I’d do again. It was way too easy (despite the snow) and
not very pretty. No flowers or scenery to look at, just a lot of 4WD tracks.
Such a shame!
Video from Summit