This moderate, mostly off-trail stroll takes in two Colorado Tenners and features dynamite views of the high and mighty Sawatch Range to the west. This is a good cold-weather option, though bear in mind the snow in the trees will slow your progress in-season. The footing is a combination of sage and scrub (on southerly aspects, dense woods on northerly aspects and more sparse forest in the saddle in between the two peaks. There is no major rock to contend with, mostly grass, dirt and duff. The navigation is not particularly complex, but due to the dense woods, curving route and double peak ascent, I would not recommend this route to a beginning off-trail navigator.
Distance: 8 miles roundtrip*Net Elevation Gain: 2700 feet (cumulative gain higher)YDS Class: 1+
Assumes parking at RT 397 due to snow. If the gate on FS 308 is open, the trip is only roughly 4 miles roundtrip.
From US 24 / US 285 northbound from Buena Vista,
head south on CR 397.
Travel a bit over 1 mile to FS 308.
Note: CR 397 is graded dirt. FS 308 is a smooth dirt Forest Service Road. However, there is a gate closure roughly 2 miles away from CR 397. In dry conditions, proceed to the mouth of the gully at the southeast base of Kaufman Ridge North to begin your off-trail hike.
* Spot a clearing to your left (northwest) in a shallow gully up the slopes of Kaufman Ridge North.
* Ascend the gentle gully, possibly trending to its northeast side to stay out of the denser forest.
* Turn northeast up the steepening slopes of Kaufman Ridge North and ride this slope as it curves to the top of this first peak.
* Descend from the summit of Kaufman Ridge North into dense forest and head northerly toward the saddle with Antero Benchmark.
* Pass through the sparse aspen in the saddle and begin
ascending the southeast slope of Antero Benchmark.
* Walk across Pt. 10504, descend slightly to the northwest,
then finally gain the summit of Antero Benchmark.
Simply retrace your steps back to the start of your hike.
- Map & compass and/or GPS
- Comfortable hiking boots or shoes
- Outerwear appropriate to the season
- Snowshoes in snow season
- Water and snacks
- A camera to save memories of the high country views
- First aid kit
- Other standard backcountry essentials