China Wall Road

Lake George, Colorado (Park County)

Last Updated: 06/15/2021
4.7 / 5 ( 9 reviews )
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Information
Nearby Trails
Status:
Open
Typically Open: 06/16 - 12/31
Difficulty: 5-5
( DIFFICULT )
Length: 3.78 miles
Highest Elevation: 9013 feet
Duration: About 1 hour
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Lake George
Nearest Town w/ Services: Lake George
Official Road Name: 212
Management Agency: United States Forest Service
District: South Park Ranger District

Highlights

Highlight: China Wall Road
A little north of Lake George, CO, resides a well-known trail along the Colorado Front Range, China Wall Road. The trail is a great trail to test your rig out and get a little bit of rock crawling without spending the whole day climbing. There is plenty of scenery to be had as well; views of the Tarryall Mountains are prominent throughout. You can choose to bypass the obstacles or spend hours trying to master them and find the best lines. This trail's popularity makes it a must-do in Colorado trails. The obstacles here will give everyone a little adrenaline rush, with some scenery to round out the experience.

Video

Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
Lightly Modified 4X4 (Small Lift and Larger Tires)
Concerns:
Summary:
This trail contains some significant areas of rocks and inclines. Waypoints 7 through 10 are the most difficult, with Waypoint 2 being the hardest point along the trail that there is no bypass for. Keep in mind that these rock obstacles will be traveled both ways since this trail is out and back.

Technical Rating

MANDATORY
5
DIFFICULT
OPTIONAL
5
DIFFICULT
Rocky or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 24" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 24" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 54" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep and off-camber.
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Community Consensus

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Description

The trail is dirt and rock all the way through, with some obstacles along the way. Some of the obstacles are not bypassable and are noted in this writeup. The rocky inclines and descents are the largest reason for this trail’s rating. 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, and as such, it will be one of the first seasonal closures to open in the spring if the winter allows.
Do not underestimate China Wall itself. People have rolled on that obstacle.

Waypoints

1. Trailhead on County Road 77 (0 mi)
The trailhead is on the east side of County Road 77/Tarryall Road with a prominent sign. There is a large area that can be used to air down and rally up right after the signage.
2. Camping Spur Loop Start - Stay Right (0.29 mi)
Stay right at this camping spur that is on the left.
3. Larger Campsite - Stay Straight (0.49 mi)
Stay straight past this entrance to a larger campsite with some trees to act as a backstop.
4. Camping Spur Loop End - Stay Straight (0.57 mi)
Stay straight. The camping loop from Waypoint 2 wraps around and ends at this spot just before the gate.
5. Little China Road & Seasonal Gate - Stay Straight (0.64 mi)
Stay straight through the intersection with Little China Road and the seasonal gate. Once you pass through the gate, you will do a little mild off-camber rock riding towards the next waypoint.
6. Box Road - Stay Right (2.62 mi)
Stay right at this large intersection with Box Road. Since this area is often run as a loop, this intersection can be a little busy on the weekends.
7. Rock Obstacle #1 (2.71 mi)
This rock obstacle isn't terribly difficult 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.
8. Rock Obstacle #2 (2.95 mi)
This is the largest rock obstacle on this trail and must be conquered going down as well as 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.
9. Rock Obstacle #3 (3.19 mi)
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.
10. China Wall Rock Wall (3.42 mi)
This is the most well-known 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 are going to have trouble here as the bottom has gotten dug out over the years. Stay in the middle to avoid damage and flipping.
11. End of the Trail (3.78 mi)
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.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Lake George, Colorado

From US 24 and County Road 77/Tarryall Road, follow 77 for 11.4 miles to the trailhead on the right.

Camping

Dispersed
Dispersed camping is available along this trail, and as of 2021, there will be a numbered site and reservation system in place (Those details will be posted here as soon as they are published). There are several campsites along this trail. The easiest to access is at Waypoint 3 and can handle an RV and/or large group. There is additional camping opportunities nearby on Burns Park Road and Thorpe Road. Please note: There is no longer camping allowed down by the river; this area feeds into people's drinking water downstream and has been closed.
Camping: China Wall Road

Trail Reviews (31)

Questions & Answers (4)

Q: Question regarding camping in the area. I was camped out along the trail near Box Canyon in a very well defined camp spot. In the morning a group of Jeeps drove by and confronted me for being in an unauthorized area. They said all vehicles need to be withing a car's width of the edge of a trail. Did I miss something with the camping regulation in the area? There was no sign posted and I was parked on bare ground and not on top of any vegetation. It just struck me weird because I thought I was okay to camp where I did.
–Greg Stokes (10/11/2020)
A: Yea I saw the areas that were closed off and cabled off. I saw the signs and stood a couple back up that were ran over. This as far as I know was not one of them.
–Greg Stokes (10/12/2020)
A: Per the South Park MVUM, parking within one vehicle's LENGTH is acceptable when not causing resource damage (i.e. water, alpine tundra, etc). Typically, this includes an area of up to 300 feet off the trail to physically camp when dispersed camping is allowed. There are some campsites along this trail that are down near the river, but those should be marked off as closed (waypoint 6).
–JD Marshall (10/12/2020)
Q: Hi there! Not really a question, but just adding some info for anyone who reads the details on this trail. We've had such nice, warm weather that we called the Forest Service to ask if they *might* be planning to open this trail soon (crossing our fingers). Turns out, they never open prior to June 15th because there's a herd of bighorn sheep that live in the Tarryall-Kenosha area. Colorado Parks & Wildlife has a project to study the herd to try and determine why the population has been dwindling over the decades. Just something to keep in mind for those of us who are anxious (impatient?) for some trails to start opening up ;)
–Denese Gardner (04/30/2020)
A: Thank you for the note. This page usually gets updated the same day the FS opens the gate!
–JD Marshall (04/30/2020)
Q: Anyone have experience on this trail with full size trucks?
–Trevor (06/14/2019)
A: Trevor, thank you for the question, if you don't get an answer back real fast, check out some of the Trail Reviews from 2017. Looks like some full-sized trucks went through there and they posted some pictures.
–JD Marshall (06/17/2019)
Q: Just confirming trail closure for China Wall is Jan 1? Thanks and Merry Christmas
–Nathan Voorhis (12/25/2017)
A: Hi Nathan. Yes, the gates close on the first of the year and it will reopen in June. Happy wheeling!
–JD Marshall (12/25/2017)

Writer Information

JD Marshall

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Jen & JD moved to Colorado from Chicago in May of 2015 for work and brought with them a 2001 stock Jeep Wrangler that had been garage bound for two years. Within a month of arrival, all rusty 170,000 miles of it was shaking on Colorado trails and they've never stopped. As time as gone on, their 2001 TJ had to be traded and a 2015 Jeep JK has been added to the family. JD works as a Systems Engineer for a cable company and Jen runs a business from their home during the week to pay the bills. When the weekend hits, they're almost always hitting the trail. When Sunday night rolls around, the question turns to, 'so what's next week?!'.
For individual use only, not to be shared.