China Camp

Scout Route
4.3/5 (5 reviews)

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China Peak got its name from Chinese laborers that built the road to the San Juan Mines in the late 19th century. This trail is not for the faint of heart as it features narrow shelf roads, limited passing areas, and steep drops to the valley below. The trail starts as an unmaintained gravel road but increases in difficulty as it gains elevation, moving towards China Peak. Large rock obstacles, loose rocks, and washed-out areas will test vehicle suspension and limit the types of vehicles that can make it to the top. A high clearance vehicle with four-wheel drive is necessary to reach higher elevations. After climbing a narrow shelf road, travelers will identify the entrance to China Camp. “The Gate” is a narrow pass cut through massive rock formations. The Gate is large enough for full-sized vehicles to pass. Several cement foundations can be found in the areas just past the Gate. These are all that remains of China Camp. This is a great area to turn around, but those wishing to reach the peak may continue along FR697. Following China Camp, FR697 continues to wind toward China Peak. There are several connecting trails leading to abandoned mine locations. The recorded scout route trail culminates at the last major turnaround point before the China Peak summit. The San Juan Mine entrance is accessible from this location. It is possible to continue all the way to China Peak via vehicle, but the route becomes Severe-Extreme due to steep slopes and very few turnaround points. Off-camber vehicles run a high risk of rolling over. Pinstriping can also be expected in this area. Several dispersed campsites exist near China Camp. They are first-come, first-serve.