Castle Rock Gulch Road, FS Road 188, is located within the San Isabel National Forest approximately ten miles east of Johnson Village. This area of the National Forest, commonly referred to as “Fourmile”, contains hundreds of roads and spurs which provide a broad spectrum of outdoor recreational opportunities. Castle Rock Gulch Road is noted for its slick rock outcroppings, broad stream-filled meadows, and twisty road. The rock features offer splendid viewing and photography. This road is popular among OHV users, mountain bikers, hikers, and equestrians. It is a maintained dirt road suitable for all but the largest motorized vehicles (it is not uncommon to see ordinary passenger sedans, minivans, and trucks towing fifth-wheel RVs). Its accessibility to RVs and horse trailers, the multiple outdoor activities it invites, and visual contrasts between stone and green meadows are Castle Rock Gulch Road’s greatest attractions.
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4WD roads in this area are accessed from Highway 24 via Chaffee County Road 307 which is approximately nine miles east of Johnson Village and six miles south of Antero Junction. Look for the blue CR 307 sign on the south side of Highway 24. Follow CR 307 for approximately one mile, and turn left on Bassam Park Road (FS Road 187).
To travel FS Road 188 from north to south, travel on FS Road 187 for almost four miles to its intersection with FS Road 188 on the left.
To travel FS Road 188 from south to north, travel on FS Road 187 for about eight miles to its end, where it enters Park County and becomes Park County Road 86. From this point, the FS Road 188 trailhead is 100 yards across the county line and on the left. The road is marked with a brown USFS sign.
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, reached in late 2015, requires 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. The USFS evaluation is planned to proceed over the next 5 years.
It is imperative that the OHV community voices their interests on this issue. If we do nothing, those 500 miles will be permanently closed. Contact the local ranger districts and let them know why the area is important to you.
The road is smooth and very good condition---only one small segment had any significant "washboard". Since I drove this road in the evening, I found that 1/3 of the most viable/preferred campsites were occupied--strange, I thought, for a Thursday evening.
Drove this road after completing FSR 186/Black Dumps. The road is in good condition, seems less wash-boarded than the last time I remember. One MUST be cautious going around the curves! Also, conditions are very dry--the ponds and stream (near Waypoint 4) are almost completely dry.
Tracy is an outdoor enthusiast originally from north Alabama. His family moved to central Utah when Tracy was a child, and subsequently to southern Utah, where he fell in love with the Rocky Mountains. His favorite activities are family trail rides and camping with small groups. He started many years ago in his dad's F-150 pickup truck, and subsequently his own 4x4 acquisition, a 1975 Ford Bronco (in 1991).
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