Fourmile Area: Spanish Mills

Buena Vista, Colorado (Chaffee County)

Last Updated: 09/27/2020
4 / 5 ( 2 reviews )
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Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 2.97 miles
Highest Elevation: 8500 feet
Duration: About 40 minutes
Shape of Trail: Connector
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Buena Vista
Nearest Town w/ Services: Buena Vista
Official Road Name: 375/376
Management Agency: San Isabel National Forest
District: Salida Ranger District, Royal George BLM Field Office


Highlight: Fourmile Area: Spanish Mills
This trail winds back and forth over small washes with magnificent views of the 14,000' Collegiate Peaks before dropping into a sandy wash at a place known as Spanish Mills. Spanish Mills is the name locals have given this route as there is an old arrastra site (an arrastra is a primitive mill for grinding and pulverizing (typically) gold or silver ore) just down stream from where this trail crosses Fourmile Creek. Spanish Mills was built by area miners in the early 1900s and was later named after the mine operation was abandoned. Please respect private property in this area as the mine and old mill site sit on a patented mining claim. Spanish Mills is a connector trail which ends where the Lenhardy Cut-Off trail and the Natural Bridge trail begin.


Route Information

Technical Rating

( EASY )

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1. Trailhead (0 mi)
The Trailhead to the Fourmile Travel Management Area starts just as FS 375 leaves CR 371. There is ample parking for vehicles and trailers. There is also a loading dock for trailered equipment and a kiosk showing a large map of the area. The Fourmile Recreation Area is managed as a cooperative effort by BLM, the Forest Service and the Friends of Fourmile citizens group.

Directions to Trailhead

From the stoplight in Buena Vista head east on East Main Street and in two blocks turn left onto North Colorado Street. Continue north on Colorado Street as it becomes CR 371. Continue on CR 371, you will cross the Arkansas River and wind through a residential area before CR 371 transitions to dirt. Continue on 371 as the dirt road begins, soon you will see the Midland Train Tunnels, turn right onto FS 375 just before you get to the first tunnel. You will see the Fourmile Travel Management parking area on the left with a loading dock and kiosk.



Land Use Issues

This area is part of Pike-San Isabel National Forest, and as such is part of the 2011 Lawsuit where a coalition of conservation and recreation groups are suing the U.S. Forest Service over what they say is the illegal addition of 500 miles of motorized roads and trails. A settlement was reached in late 2015 that is requiring the U.S. Forest Service to re-evaluate the roads and create a new travel management plan. Over the next year, 30 roads will be partially or completely closed while this evaluation takes place over the next 5 years. It is imperative that the OHV community let's their voices be heard on this issue. If we do nothing, those 500 miles will be shutdown. Contact the local ranger districts and let them know why the area is important to you and the history you have there. Salida Forest Service District Office Leadville Forest Service District Office

Trail Reviews (6)

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
National Public Lands Day cleanup project with Stay the Trail and CORE. Trail is dry and dusty.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail is fully open and dry.
Author: Official Crew
Social Media:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Fun little trail and good for connecting to others in the area. A nice sandy wash type driving experience with good views.
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Both in good shape other than maybe washboarding on 375. 376 has some good camping looking over Buena Vista.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Ran this trail on the way to a camp spot on 311. In good shape with a bit of snow. Very nice for the start to the winter.
Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail was clear and dry. Creek was still at a low flow. Lots of campers, bikers, hikers, UTVs, ATVs and motorcycles on the trail.

Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information

Marcus Trusty

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Marcus is a 3rd generation Buena Vista, Colorado native who grew up bouncing around the central Colorado mountains in the back of his dad's CJ5. During his younger years, Marcus grew to appreciate public lands and the recreation opportunities backroads and 4-wheel drive trails offer. Marcus has been wheeling for 20 years now and has wheeled in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and California. Until a few years ago Marcus had just been a participant in the wheeling community, but he has become much more active in preserving trails and working to make sure the wheeling community has their access maintained for future generations. Marcus helped to found Colorado Off Road Enterprise - CORE, based out of Buena Vista. CORE has worked with the Forest Service and BLM and has volunteer agreements in place with both organizations. CORE also has a Forest Service trail adoption agreement in place for Grizzly Lake, Pomeroy Lake, Hancock Lake, Hancock Pass, and Tincup Pass, Tomichi Pass, Williams Pass, Ptarmigan Lake, Mineral Basin, Clohesy Lake, Lost Canyon, Champion Mill, Iron Mike Mine, and Slide Lake. If Marcus is not working you can generally find him somewhere out on the trails around Buena Vista.
For individual use only, not to be shared.