Baldwin Lake

Buena Vista, Colorado (Chaffee County)

Last Updated: 07/02/2020
4.4 / 5 ( 10 reviews )
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Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: 06/01 - 10/31
Length: 3.22 miles
Highest Elevation: 12606 feet
Duration: About 1 hour
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Buena Vista
Nearest Town w/ Services: Buena Vista
Official Road Name: 277
Management Agency: San Isabel National Forest
District: Salida Ranger District

Highlights

Highlight: Baldwin Lake
The Baldwin Lake Trail follows the Baldwin Creek drainage, gaining elevation as it climbs out of Baldwin Gulch. The trail offers postcard worthy views of Baldwin Lake as it sits in the basin below Grizzly Mountain (13,708'). The trail is part of the Mount Antero Trail system, and is a side trip off the Mount Antero Trail. Baldwin Lake offers the opportunity for high alpine fishing and the trail continues into the basin above giving a glimpse of the areas past mining history. Views of Mount Antero (14,275') are prominent on the return trip down the valley.

Video

Route Information

Technical Rating

( MODERATE - DIFFICULT )

Read more about our rating system

Waypoints

1. Trailhead (0 mi)
Continue straight on FS 277 to start the Baldwin Lake Trail.

Directions to Trailhead

The Baldwin Lake Trail is part of the Mount Antero trail system and to get to the trailhead, you must first drive to Waypoint 3 of the Mount Antero Trail. At Waypoint 3, continue straight staying FS 277. This marks the beginning of the Baldwin Lake Trail.

Camping

Dispersed

Land Use Issues

This area is part of Pike-San Isabel National Forest, and as such is part of the 2011 Lawsuit where a coalition of conservation and recreation groups are suing the U.S. Forest Service over what they say is the illegal addition of 500 miles of motorized roads and trails. A settlement was reached in late 2015 that is requiring the U.S. Forest Service to re-evaluate the roads and create a new travel management plan. Over the next year, 30 roads will be partially or completely closed while this evaluation takes place over the next 5 years. It is imperative that the OHV community lets their voices be heard on this issue. If we do nothing, those 500 miles **will be shut down**. Contact the local ranger districts and let them know why the area is important to you and the history you have there. Salida Forest Service District Office Leadville Forest Service District Office

Trail Reviews (17)

Author:
Status: Open
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great trail to end the day. Only saw 1 other vehicle on the trail. Couple spots were tore up pretty good but no issues with my JL on 33s
Author:
Status: Open
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Had previously attempted this trail (see 8/12/21 review) without success. This time we were guided by a more experienced driver as part of the annual 14'er Fest in Buena Vista. Jeff was extremely helpful and very patient in getting a couple of novices up to the lake - which was beautiful. Still the most difficult trail I have attempted and would want to attempt in my daily driver, a 2015 4runner with rear locker & sliders but otherwise stock. Besides pinstriping and some fairly hard hits on the skid plates & sliders, my friend ruined a tire on his Rubicon, slashing the sidewall on one of the many sharp rocks.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Drove up here with my Jeep for the first time and had no issues. Ive previously tried with my 50” SxS but couldn’t do it without scraping. I would personally recommend a lift for this trail because there are some bigger rocks. I found the trail a bit stressful because of passing. I ran into several other vehicles and it’s not always easy to back up and over some of the bigger rocks while hunting for the occasional small spot to pull over. I enjoyed the lake and views at the top but a lot of this trail is in the trees with no views. Side note: this trail network / the beginning of the Antero trail could really use a typical “high clearance 4x4 only” type of warning sign. Several times now I’ve seen cars that belong on pavement trying out the very beginning of the Antero trail and it’s mind boggling that people think that’s a good idea.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
To get to the trailhead as described by the admin, you must first travel 2.7 miles of the Mt. Antero Trail. Unfortunately we turned back at 2.9 miles (just beyond Waypoint 2, dispersed camping - as described above) fearful of damage to our daily drivers (stock 4runner Trail & stock JK Wrangler Rubicon). Just didn't have the clearance for the large, exposed rocks. Call me a wimp, (please don't) but there you have it. Fun trail for the first 2.8 miles. Had no problem with trails to nearby Hancock Lake, Ptarmigan Lake and Tincup Pass the same week. May try this again with more experience or with someone who has done it previously.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Tried this for my first time with my SxS and didn’t complete it. I’m sure the end would be nice but the beginning is pretty rough; just a long steep hill with large loose rocks all over it. I finally came up to some rocks that were too big for the amount of clearance I had. Gave them my best shot trying different lines but as soon as I scraped my skid plate I decided to stop. Might come back with my Jeep but I do find other trails in the area more appealing.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Trail is fully open.
Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Trail is open until just before waypoint 5 (the hiking trailhead near the lake).
Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
The trail is open to just before Waypoint 3.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Was able to get up to Baldwin lake today. There is just a tiny bit of snow left, but passable (although a stock 4runner got high centered). If you are reading this, then I doubt there will be any issue when you get there. 2nd the note below on avy debris coming up to the fork.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
The trail is open to around waypoint 4, at this point the trail is blocked by avalanche debris. To get to this point, you must also cross several avalanche debris field on the Mount Antero Trail.
Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Multiple avalanche slides remain over the road. The three before the Mt. Antero / Baldwin Lakes fork are passable. The two half way up to Baldwin Lakes are not.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
Snow has fallen closing this trail for the winter.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I led a run up Baldwin Lake as part of 14erfest on Saturday, September 29. We had seven rigs on the run, including one side-by-side. We had a beautiful, cool-but-not-cold fall day (although it was a little windy at the top). Even though the aspen were a little past peak, there was still plenty of color to enjoy. The trail was bumpy but not difficult with just a couple spots with big enough rocks to make the smaller rigs think about their line. The scenery was spectacular; the weather was pleasant; and the company was fantastic. It was a great time.
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Took me quite a bit longer than the ETA given above but I was able to complete it in an 08 Forester with about 28" tires. Scrubbed the skid plates in several spots and had to reattempt a few obstacles, but it is definitely worth the view a the top!
Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
no snow - perfect weather
Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail is fully open for summer.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Permanently Closed
Offroaded on:
Snow has fallen making this trail impassable until next season

Questions & Answers (3)

Q: Any idea if this trail is open as of August 2021? The latest trail review seems to be Oct. '20. Thanks.
–Obtuse Angler (08/03/2021)
–Marcus Trusty (08/03/2021)
Q: Looking to do Baldwin Gulch road to treeline to Hike Antero this weekend. I will be in a stock 4Runner TRD Premium with 265/70/17 Perelli Scorpion AT Plus tires. Should I be fine on this trail with this setup? Any risk of scraping or body damage?
–Chris (07/09/2020)
–Marcus Trusty (07/09/2020)
Q: I may be mistaken but I don't think you can finish this trail by vehicle anymore. I got up to the point where you can park and hike over to Baldwin lake but there was a sign not allowing motorized vehicles past that corner right after the pull off.
–Richard Skelton (07/02/2018)
–Marcus Trusty (07/02/2018)

Writer Information

Marcus Trusty

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Marcus is a 3rd generation Buena Vista, Colorado native who grew up bouncing around the central Colorado mountains in the back of his dad's CJ5. During his younger years, Marcus grew to appreciate public lands and the recreation opportunities backroads and 4-wheel drive trails offer. Marcus has been wheeling for 20 years now and has wheeled in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and California. Until a few years ago Marcus had just been a participant in the wheeling community, but he has become much more active in preserving trails and working to make sure the wheeling community has their access maintained for future generations. Marcus helped to found Colorado Off Road Enterprise - CORE, based out of Buena Vista. CORE has worked with the Forest Service and BLM and has volunteer agreements in place with both organizations. CORE also has a Forest Service trail adoption agreement in place for Grizzly Lake, Pomeroy Lake, Hancock Lake, Hancock Pass, and Tincup Pass, Tomichi Pass, Williams Pass, Ptarmigan Lake, Mineral Basin, Clohesy Lake, Lost Canyon, Champion Mill, Iron Mike Mine, and Slide Lake. If Marcus is not working you can generally find him somewhere out on the trails around Buena Vista.
For individual use only, not to be shared.