Fourmile Area: Shields / McGee Loop

3.8/5 (4 reviews)
Buena Vista, Colorado (Chaffee County)
Last Updated: 07/06/2018
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Trail Information

Highlights

Miles of easy, winding roads with amazing views of the collegiate peaks on the west side and dispersed camping for tents, RVs, trailers, whatever you have. Most sites are in fir and aspen forests, but some are in open meadows that can accommodate larger groups. This area is close enough to Denver or Colorado Springs for an overnight camping trip, and the roads are fun for all sorts of off-road vehicles. Shields Gulch features campsites with stunning views of the Collegiate Peaks and the hills and valleys of the Fourmile area. McGee Gulch runs along a small valley with streams and marsh areas, cattle graze along the route. Campsites here offer more protection from wind than the exposed sites on the ridges of Shields Gulch, and are closer to the main route. Small water crossings and muddy spots add diversity to the drive, which is beautiful and easy. This area is popular with ATVs and horses because it is possible to bring large trailers in safely. There are non-motorized trails for mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

This area is mostly easy, with sandy runs, some rocky sections and hills. All of it is suitable for a stock SUV with good ground clearance. As soon as you leave the pavement you'll be in sand, and that's the most common terrain in the area. There are muddy sections as well, but careful tire placement will get you through or around most of them. Compared to most Colorado trails there is very little embedded rock. Small whoopdees and potholes are more common on this loop. Shields Gulch / 315 follows a mostly flat path leading to a ridge full of camping spurs with views of the Collegiate peaks and the Sevenmile Creek area. The camping spurs are too numerous to list, and there are a variety of sizes and exposures for just about any camping style or group size. The first part of 315 is used to access the Midland Bike Trail, it is well marked and there are some kiosks with maps and rules near each trailhead. A local volunteer group, http://garna.org/friends-of-fourmile/ maintain the kiosks. The section of 376 that connects the trails is flat and uneventful, but beautiful and has some large flat camping spots that can accomodate large trailers. McGee Gulch / 305 is slighty rougher and narrower than 315 with more turns and small stream crossings. Some parts of the loop near popular camping, particularly on the western side, can be deeply rutted from large trucks pulling campers. We didn't have any problems with our stock Xterra.

Trail Reviews

3.8/5 (4 reviews)
Status: Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 06/02/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

This is a really fun area. Lots of dirt bikes, ate's, etc., but they were all responsible drivers. Really great camping spots too. This would be a great area to take someone that is just getting started with technical trails.
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/12/2021
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Five stars is for the dispersed camping on the Shields Gulch (west) side of the loop. In terms of an offroad trail, there's a little more to it than a maintained dirt road but most any vehicle should be able to get along fine. Saw some pretty big trailers at a campsite pretty far in, so that tells you something. We camped in an amazing spot near the end of Shields, with great views and very little traffic. Rain in the area but it stayed dry where we were. Great views of the collegiate peaks too. Also, that forest is dead quiet at night. I'm used to frogs or crickets or something making noise, but just nothing. Enjoyed the peace!
Trail Review: Fourmile Area: Shields / McGee Loop - Phil Frick
Trail Review: Fourmile Area: Shields / McGee Loop - Phil Frick
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Status: Open
Rated 3/5
Visited: 07/06/2019

Followed CR 315 from Hwy 24 to CR 376. Saw lots of dispersed camping areas and the road was easy driving. Turned right at the intersection of 315 and 376 and followed 376 out to Chubb Park. See my review of Lenhardy Cutoff. Lots of dirt bikes, ATVs and UTVs on the roads so be alert.
Status: Open
Rated 3/5
Visited: 06/04/2019

Completed over two days using as access roads to other Four Mile areas. Found in good condition. All 2WD as far as I can remember.

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