Chinaman Gulch For OHV Driving
The 5th most popular off-highway vehicle trail in Colorado.
Thursday 7 July 2016 05:20 GMT
Southwest of Buena Vista and Johnson Village, the Chinaman Gulch route runs parallel to US285, just a few miles south. The OHV route can be driven either direction by either starting near Johnson Village in the west or at Trout Pass in the east.
Take County Road 307 off of Highway 285 below Trout Creek Pass. County Road 307 is a loop road that ties back into Highway 285, so you will have to turn off of County Road 307 on to County Road 187. About a mile from County 307 and 187s intersection is a two track Forest Development Road, #300, that heads west off of County Road 187, take this turn to the left to begin the four wheeling. FDR#300 is a mild two track that runs down Arnold Gulch toward Bald Mountain. After passing a few side roads that go to campsites you will come to an intersection, the Bald Mountain Gulch road FDR#300.A, take the right turn and stay with Arnold Gulch. As you follow FDR#300 Arnold Gulch will widen and become a large wash with a few side roads. Just before Arnold Gulch narrows up again, a right turn will take you north toward Triad Ridge. If you continue down Arnold Gulch you will run into private property and a cable across the road. Head north up the side drainage into Arnold Gulch, you will pass one side road. Next you will find a large intersection. Continuing north on a faint two track will take you to the remains of the Triad Mine.
Going back to the big intersection and taking a right turn, heading west, puts you on the old Chinaman 4WD road. After passing through a fence you will come to the first obstacle, an uphill with some side boulders. Shortly after this climb is the second obstacle, a down hill made up of two "s" turns. As you continue past this challenge down along the edge of Chinaman Gulch you will come to an intersection. Take the left turn because the right takes you to Trout Creek, which you can no longer cross due to private property. Right after the intersection the road will cross Chinaman Gulch, turn left and drive up the gulch, this is new Chinaman. Follow the wash east and work your way through the boulders that get bigger and bigger and become more of a challenge to negotiate.
About a mile from where you started up Chinaman Gulch you will come to the main obstacle, you cant miss it. Before you, will be a large step that has three approaches. The most difficult route is the left side. Taking a vehicle up this way requires climbing the steepest incline of the step and negotiating a large boulder on the passenger side. To be successful at this approach will also require a teeter to the passenger side that will feel like your going over before the right front tire finds the ground again. The middle approach is a straight on that is so steep you may have to shove your front bumper up the rock face before your front tires make contact. The third route is the easiest, but requires making a tight right turn in order to start up the step.
To drive Chinaman Gulch from Buena Vista to Trout Creek Pass, start by crossing the Arkansas River east of Johnson Village on Highway 285 and taking County Road 301 south for 1.5 miles. You will find a small fence gate that marks BLM property with a small yellow sign that says, "Please Close Gate". Go through this gate and follow the two track to another gate. After going through this gate turn left and follow the marked route, it will turn right and proceed up a hill. When you reach a sandy ATV trail turn left. You will end up coming to a wash, this is Chinaman Gulch (blue route on Map).
Overall, Chinaman Gulch is the 5th most popular OHV & 4wd jeep trail of all 61 OHV routes in Colorado. Several of the better ohv/4wd trails are nearby Chinaman Gulch including Texas Creek OHV Area, St Elmo / Tincup / Pitkin Loop, Grizzly Lake Trail and Alpine Tunnel / Hancock Pass.