Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Lat/Lon: 38.88470°N / 105.9767°W
County: Chaffee & Park
Activities: Hiking
Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Elevation: 10528 ft / 3209 m


Greater Kaufman Ridge formationGreater Kaufman Ridge formation from NW
USGS MarkerUSGS Marker

East of Buena Vista and Johnson Village is a series of wooded ridgelines making up the greater Kaufman Ridge structure. The northwestern-most of these is Antero Benchmark. Not terribly far from big sibling Mount Antero, but quite different in character, Antero Benchmark is a pleasant little bushwhack stroll with fine westward views from a partially open summit. The summit register is contained within an apparently hand-made birdhouse, quite a neat find upon reaching the top. The trip to the summit of Antero Benchmark is a nice shoulder-season outing, and a great place to take in the beauty of the snow-covered Sawatch Range to the west that pushes beyond 14,000 feet / 4267 meters into the sky.

What this summit lacks in altitude it makes up in wildlife! Signs of wildlife are abundant on its slopes, and judging by the boneyard (parts yard?) we encountered on the southern slopes, at least one large cat calls this mountain home.

Rank: 2028th highest peak in Colorado
Prominence: 438 feet
USGS Quad: Antero Reservoir
Trail to Summit: No
YDS Class: 1+ (due to off-trail travel)

Rank & Prominence: Lists of John

Getting There

Buffalo Peaks en routeBuffalo Peaks en route
Stimpy resting in snowStimpy resting in snow

This peak is perched on the boundary between Chaffee and Park counties.Antero Benchmark is bordered to the north and west by US Hwy 24, westbound on the highway from Trout Creek Pass before reaching Johnson Village. It is not terribly far from either Fairplay nor Buena Vista. This peak can be accessed from Hwy 24 from FS 329 via Route 318 or from FS 308 via Route 307.

Wildlife on the slopes of Antero Benchmark
Buck Head
Elk Leg
Elk leg bones
Elk skull

Red Tape

Aspen OddityAspen Oddity
Summit RegisterSummit Register

There is plenty of private property to the north of Antero Benchmark, and a few blocks of private land inholdings interspersed nearby. Extend the same courtesies to landowners that you would want visitors near your home to extend to you.

Otherwise, there are no fees to access this area and few regulations governing your use of this part of the National Forest.

Camping & Lodging

Sawatch Views (1)Western horizon
Sawatch Views (3)Yale and Columbia
Sawatch Views (4)Sawatch Range

Sawatch Views (2)Mount Yale

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Campgrounds

The AHRA operates six campgrounds in the Arkansas River valley, two of which are located in reasonable proximity to Kaufman Ridge Highpoint. Be aware that these campgrounds are popular with white water rafters in the warmer months and are used as take-outs / put-ins for boaters.

Railroad Bridge Campground

North of Buena Vista on County Road 371
• 14 campsites (each consists of tent pad, fire grill and table)
• Two vault toilets
• Two changing areas

Ruby Mountain Campground

South of Buena Vista on County Road 300 via CR 301
• 22 campsites (each consists of tent pad, fire grill and table)
• Four vault toilets
• Two changing areas

Buena Vista hotels, B&Bs, cabins and commercial campgrounds

A variety of lodging options are available in the nearby town of Buena Vista, skewing toward the simple and affordable. Visit the Colorado Vacation Directory Buena Vista page or the Trip Advisor area guide for more details.

Weather & Seasons

Summit RegisterSummit register

This moderate elevation peak is a year-round objective.

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Fall: Autumn would be a perfect time to visit this peak, when the Aspen are ablaze in bright golds against the blue Colorado sky and the summertime crowds have begun to wane. Be mindful of elk hunters in the area and wear bright colors for safety.

Winter: Antero Benchmark might make a delightful snowshoe outing. Winter brings Forest Service gates closures to the surrounding area (and thus longer walks). For the most part, you should find you have this area all to yourself in the winter. Be mindful of elk hunters in the vicinity and wear bright colors for safety.

Spring: Deep and rotten late-season snow could make Kaufman Ridge Highpoint an arduous outing in the Spring. In fact, the trail-braking can make this trip challenging enough even in winter.

Summer: This lower elevation area east of Buena Vista gets somewhat hot and sun-baked compared to the high country to the west, but this could be a good acclimatization hike for visitors from lower elevations wanting to tackle higher goals later in their visit.
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