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Just north of Lake George, Colorado, China Wall is a renowned hotspot in the Colorado Front Range for off-roaders. This trail lets you test your vehicle's off-road prowess with a mix of terrain, including challenging rock crawling sections, without needing a full day's commitment. For those who love a challenge, you can spend hours mastering the trail's obstacles and finding the best lines. Along the way, you are treated to stunning views of the Tarryall Mountains, a beautiful backdrop for your adventure. With its popularity among wheelers, China Wall Road is vital to any Colorado adventurer's bucket list. Buckle up for the thrilling obstacle challenges and immerse yourself in the grandeur of mountain landscapes for an exhilarating and unforgettable experience.
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China Wall in the Pike National Forest is a 3.8-mile out-and-back dirt and rock track. There are several obstacles with no bypasses. If you don’t go slow and follow the right lines, you will hit bottom on this one. This trail gets very little snow in the winter, so it will be one of the first to open in the spring.
This is an entrance to a spur meant only for camping, these roads are not for off-roading.
You can continue straight past this entrance to a larger campsite where there are trees to act as a backstop for the elements.
The camping loop from Waypoint 2 wraps around and ends at this spot just before the gate.
This is a large intersection with Little China Road and the seasonal gate. Once you pass through the gate, you will do a bit of mild off-camber rock riding toward the next Waypoint.
This is a large intersection with Box Road. Since this area is often run as a loop, this intersection can be a little busy on the weekends.
This rock obstacle is easy but does require paying attention to where you are putting your tires on the way up or down. You can bypass the rock around to the side if you choose.
This is the most significant rock obstacle on the trail and must be conquered by going down and back up to get off the trail. It helps to have a spotter, but with a well-built rig, most experienced drivers should be able to handle this area from the cab. There is no bypass for this obstacle.
This obstacle is much like Obstacle #1 and is only one small group of rocks to climb down and up. There is also a bypass for this obstacle.
This is the most prominent part of the trail, and this rock is a steep climb to the top and should only be attempted with a spotter. Longer wheel-based vehicles will have trouble here as the bottom has gotten dug out over the years. Stay in the middle to avoid damage and flipping.
The trail ends at a large teardrop parking lot and a small fenced loop. There is no camping allowed down by the river anymore. Turn around and return the way you came.
Primitive camping is limited to designated spots on a spur camping loop between Waypoints 2 and 4. The sites are large, flat, and nestled in a grove of pines.
Spruce Grove Campground sits beside Tarryall Creek and large rock outcroppings. It offers 27 sites suitable for tents or RVs. Both primitive and electric hookups are available, with amenities like potable water and picnic tables.
Eleven Mile Canyon Recreation Area, close to Lake George, CO, is a treat for outdoor lovers. Here, you'll discover four campgrounds: Cove, Riverside, Spillway, and Springer Gulch, offering 131 total campsites ready to accommodate tents and RVs up to 35 feet, all requiring reservations. Avid picnickers will appreciate the four picnic areas: Eleven Mile, Idlewild, Messenger Gulch, and O'Brien Gulch, kitted out with tables and grills. While it's open year-round, services become limited during the winter months.
Happy Meadows Campground sits along the South Platte River near the Eleven Mile Reservoir and Eleven Mile Canyon in Lake George. With eight standard non-electric sites, it is designed to accommodate tents or RVs up to 35 feet. Essentials like vault toilets and drinking water are available. Open from May 15th to September 15th, it's a hot spot for fishing, tubing, and hiking activities.
Lake George Cabins and RV Park in Lake George is a family-owned operation providing ten cozy, heated cabins with bathrooms and kitchenettes, plus 14 full hook-up RV sites. The campground also offers community bathrooms with showers, free WiFi, a gift shop, and a playground. Pets are welcome with an additional fee. Open from May 1st to November 1st, it's also an official dark sky location perfect for stargazing.
Mountain River Lodge in Lake George is a luxury destination in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. It offers 11 five-star cabins with luxury amenities such as kitchenettes or full kitchens, fireplaces, jacuzzies, flat-screen TVs, and free WiFi. A few cabins feature private decks or patios with mountain views. The lodge has a spacious terrace with a grill, a stone fireplace, a propane fire pit, and plenty of outdoor seating. The lodge is open year-round and can accommodate short-term and long-term rentals. Pets are welcome for an additional fee.
Dawn of Hope Ranch in Florissant is an outdoor retreat and adventure destination for individuals, families, and groups. It offers a variety of lodging options, including cabins, RV sites, tent sites, and bunkhouses. It also has a cafe, a swimming pool, a fishing pond, a ropes course, a zip line, and a communal fire pit.
Historic Triple B Ranch is a unique lodging option offering a variety of cabins that can accommodate 2 to 12 people. Each cabin has a kitchen or kitchenette, a fireplace, a TV, and free WiFi. The ranch, set on 80 private acres, offers outdoor activities like horseback riding and serves as an event venue.
Bristlecone Lodge lies in Woodland Park on 4 acres of mountain terrain. They provide one-bedroom and two-bedroom cabins, tiny homes, and an RV park with eight full hookup sites. Amenities include a hot tub, complimentary breakfast, free WiFi, and a picnic area. The Lodge is conveniently close to various shops, restaurants, and attractions in the Pikes Peak region.
Pikes Peak Paradise offers a secluded mountain view bed and breakfast experience in Woodland Park. With five guest rooms, each equipped with a private bathroom, in-room hot tub, jacuzzi tub, or sauna, and a private balcony or deck, comfort is a given. A few rooms offer a fireplace, a small kitchenette, a microwave, and a mini fridge. Extras include a home-cooked breakfast, dessert, four hours of complimentary evening beer and wine, free WiFi, free parking, and optional yoga classes.
Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Woodland Park is a comfortable hotel on Highway 24 near Pikes Peak and Cripple Creek. It offers 59 modern guest rooms with air conditioning, flat-screen HDTV, desk, coffee maker, mini-refrigerator, microwave, ironing amenities, and hairdryer. The hotel provides complimentary breakfast, WiFi, parking, an electric vehicle charging station, a fitness center, and a business center. Pets are welcome for an additional fee.
The private Diamond Campground and RV Park, perched at 8500' on Pikes Peak's flank in Woodland Park, boasts 130 spacious full hookup sites and nine tent sites. The location features a bathhouse, laundry room, free WiFi, a playground, a common area with a fire pit, and a clubhouse with planned activities. It's operational from May 10th to September 30th.
From US 24 and County Road 77/Tarryall Road, follow 77 for 11.4 miles to the trailhead on the right.
The trail is open all the way through but please note that the Forest Service has laid some logs along certain parts of the trail, especially near the river. These areas that are blocked off are not authorized trails and is the start of the Forest Service's efforts to close off those areas as they are close to the water and residences on the other side of the river. Do not move these logs or drive over them. The Forest Service plans to replace them with fencing later this summer and trailsoffroad will be out there to update this writeup at that time.
Included in these photos is a roll-over that occured on the same day they opened China Wall this year. It's a reminder to be careful on that obsatcle and that rolling over is very possible. Don't take on the wall without a spotter.
Pictures used with permission and courtesy of Colorado Four Wheelers.
We did a check up on the trail. The Forest Service did far more than install seasonal gates. They have closed a number of bypasses and some areas that have degraded, like the muddy area near the China Wall main obstacle. The Forest Service has made it very clear where you can and can't go. Please Stay The Trail.
This trail was easier on new 35's, though we found ourselves on a bad line down the curvy descent. I can't recommend having a spotter for this trail enough. It will save you body damage or a scrape on the ground. On top of the closure work on the trail, there was also some repair work and some of the deep rutting has been filled in.
There was no snow to be found and the weather forecasts in the area are not calling for anything anytime in the next few weeks. We saw only some dust in a few tiny spots in the shade, but it is cold at night in Lake George and we saw evidence of the creek icing over when we were at the bottom of the trail near the campsites.
This trail remains a constant barrage of obstacles and we took a number of new waypoints today for this trail. Stayed tuned this week for updates to this trail and added obstacles and information!
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