Fourmile Area: Big Sandy

Johnson Village, Colorado (Chaffee County)

Last Updated: 09/08/2021
4 / 5 ( 2 reviews )
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Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 4.39 miles
Highest Elevation: 9369 feet
Duration: About 45 minutes
Shape of Trail: Connector
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Johnson Village
Nearest Town w/ Services: Johnson Village
Official Road Name: 376A
Management Agency: San Isabel National Forest
District: Salida District


Highlight: Fourmile Area: Big Sandy
This trail is a connector route to the Lenhardy Cutoff Trail/FS 376 and is an access point for several additional trails in the Fourmile Travel Management Area. You can expect amazing panoramic views of the Collegiate Peaks Mountains and an opportunity to take in some of the area's history that won't disappoint. The trailhead is at the south end of Sleeping Indian, a rocky formation directly east of the town of Buena Vista. The first section of the trail travels the old Midland Railroad grade. The Midland Railway was incorporated in 1883. It was the first standard gauge built over the continental divide. It ran from Colorado Springs to Leadville and through the divide at Hagerman Pass to Glenwood Springs and then to Grand Junction. This trail also passes through a section of the Trout Creek Pegmatite Mineral District and offers a short hike to an old quartz quarry. Be sure to bring your camera and a pair of your favorite hiking shoes.


Route Information

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1. Trailhead (0 mi)
Continue straight through the parking area and onto trail. The kiosk has information outlining the Fourmile Area routes and the Midland bike trails.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Johnson Village, Colorado

Head east on Highway 24/285. After you cross the bridge over the Arkansas River, you will gradually start to gain elevation. As you climb the hill and come around the first corner, immediately look for the CR 304 left-hand turn. Proceed into the left-hand turn lane and turn left onto CR 304. Follow CR 304 past the Collegiate Peaks Overlook approximately 1.5 miles, and the trailhead is on your right. The trailhead is marked by a turnout area and the Fourmile Travel Management Area 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, 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 lets their voices be heard on this issue. If we do nothing, those 500 miles will be shut down. 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 (2)

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Ran this from hyw285 to CR376. This road is not shown on Google maps were I save my offline maps. The road on map ended but not the road in front of me. I was trying to get back to my campsite true a road shown on Google was not accessible at one point so stayed on Big Sandy trail. Got true it in about 25 mins on a stock FJC. Trail got technical in a few spots but had no trouble getting true. Nice views towards county road.
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
I ran this trail on 6/27 & 6/29 while leading the Overland Bound Buena Vista June Jam. Trail was dry and in good condition and could be run in 2wd in my stock full size Chevrolet. I don't know where the name "Big Sandy" originated, but the trail isn't very sandy and not nearly as much as others in Fourmile. On my second trip down, we were surprised to see a stranded Chevy Impala that appeared to have been damaged on some of the rocks perhaps the night before. There are some expansive camping areas with great views in the area of where this trail terminates on the uphill end, but they can be quite busy on the weekends during tourist season. This trail was fun and provided an alternate path back to the highway form our campsite.

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.