Carnage Canyon and Chinaman Gulch
Description: This popular trail combination, while not for the faint of heart, consists of a drive through Carnage Canyon and a loop around Chinaman Gulch. The loop includes beautiful wildflowers and excellent views of the Collegiate Peaks.
Length: Nearly 8 miles.
Directions: Going south from Buena Vista along U.S. 285, turn onto CR 301 and follow it to find the BLM sign for Chinaman Gulch. Head east through the entry gate toward the parking area.
Season: March through November.
Difficulty: Rocky obstacles and narrow, sandy paths make this route a more challenging one. Jeeps with larger tires, lockers and skid plates are advised.
Lost Canyon Road
Description: Lost Canyon Road is an out-and-back route that passes Cache Creek, Granite Cemetery, Gold Basin Mine and a few campsites for the overnighters before ending at a scenic overlook of Clear Creek Reservoir.
Length: Less than 12 miles.
Directions: Turn onto a road noted by a sign that says “Lost Canyon Road” next to Sage Outdoor Adventures in Granite. Continue along the broad dirt road and keep left on CR 398 to stay on the route.
Season: July through September.
Difficulty: The road has some rutted and rocky areas, moderate grades, a few narrow curves and possibilities for mud, but it should be an easy journey for any four-wheel-drive vehicle.
Clohesy Lake Trail
Description: Clohesy Lake Trail takes riders through Collegiate Peaks wilderness on an out-and-back to Clohesy Lake, crossing Clear Creek along the way. It offers spectacular views as well as a bonus stop for fishing at the lake.
Length: 3 miles.
Directions: Head north on U.S. 24 and turn onto CR 390, following the signs to Clear Creek Reservoir. Follow the dirt road for less than 10 miles, then turn left at the Crescent Mining Camp cabins onto Forest Service Road 381.
Season: Mid-June through September.
Difficulty: This is a fairly easy drive with some moderate difficulty, particularly when the creek flow is high.
Description: Lengthy and popular, Aspen Ridge takes off-roaders along a graded dirt Forest Service road. As the name implies, aspens are a prominent feature along the route, making it a must-visit in the fall, and broad open meadows provide breathtaking views of the Sawatch Range. Numerous campsites are dispersed along the route.
Length: 13 miles.
Directions: From downtown Salida, drive west on Colo. 291/First Street to CR 175, on the right across from the medical center. Follow this road for 9 miles to Forest Service Road 185, where a sign indicates Aspen Ridge.
Difficulty: Aspen Ridge is an easy route for any off-highway vehicle and a great option for beginners.
Sevenmile Creek Road
Description: The Fourmile area hosts multiple off-road trails, including this old Native American travel route once known as Seven Mile Pass. This route even connects to others in Fourmile, adding to the sightseeing potential. Spectacular views of the Collegiate Peaks and the remnants of several log houses can be found here.
Length: 7.5 miles.
Directions: From East Main Street in Buena Vista, turn onto North Colorado Road and stay north on it as it becomes CR 371, crossing the Arkansas River and winding onto a dirt road. Turn onto Forest Service Road 375 before reaching the first Midland train tunnel. Travel 3 miles along the Spanish Mills Trail to the Natural Bridge Trail. Sevenmile Creek Road can be found at Waypoint 7 on this trail.
Season: Late April through November.
Difficulty: This road is an easy one to traverse with one small creek crossing and the possibility of mud or snow.