Great Sand Dunes National Park

4X4 Adventure In Chinaman Gulch - Buena Vista, Colorado

The Abel Family Takes On Chinaman Gulch With Their Red Jeep Rubicon - May 28, 2011

Chinaman Gulch Loop
Colorado 4WD Road

Special thanks to Jeff and Julie Abel of Colorado Springs for taking me on this adventurous 4-wheel-drive excursion. Along with their friend Josh and his Jeep, we embarked on the difficult Chinaman Gulch Loop near Buena Vista. Above was a nice shot of the Abel Jeep Rubicon with the enchanting view of Mt. Princeton beyond.

Now let me say that both of these Jeeps are vehicles they use for their daily work commute. That makes these photos even more impressive!

Steve Garufi in Buena Vista, Colorado. Contact - Facebook: /coloradoguycom - Twitter: @stevegarufi

Chinaman Gulch Loop

Chinaman Gulch Loop

Although Jeff has plenty of Colorado 4WD experience, this would be the toughest trail he'd ever drive on. Thankfully, we had the very skilled Josh driving ahead of us.

Colorado 4WD Trail Slowly traveling up.
Chinaman Gulch 4WD In other 4WD experiences, the pictures I've taken have never quite shown the extent of the rockiness of the road ... until now. Chinaman Gulch is a rocky, bumpy and awful mess. It's perfect for hardcore 4x4 types! :)
Colorado 4WD Road

Colorado 4WD Road

One of the first major bumps that Jeff struggled with for awhile. It was a good excuse to get out and photograph his Jeep and the scenery.
Chinaman Gulch 4x4

Chinaman Gulch Trail

Chinaman Gulch Road

Chinaman Gulch

Chinaman Gulch Road

To be honest, to call the Chinaman Gulch loop a "road" is a bit of a stretch. It looks more like a person chopped down a bunch of trees and said, "Have at it!"

All of the adjacent pictures are portions of the beginning of the road. We were not on the loop yet.

Colorado 4WD Road A large rock near the middle of the road.

You've got to love 4-wheeling in Colorado! :)

Red Jeep Rubicon

Jeep Rubicon

A narrow and rocky section that Jeff's Rubicon struggled with. Eventually Josh towed him up.
Colorado 4WD Road Continuing in this beautiful terrain. Chinaman Gulch is located southeast of Buena Vista.
Josh Once on the loop, Josh gave a "thumbs up." My favorite saying of Josh's was: "It ain't over until you roll it over." :)
For a short distance, the "road" is the creek bed for Chinaman Gulch. Nice and flat.

Rock Garden

The first major obstacle is the Rock Garden. Although it can be easily avoided, a large and massive array of rocks and boulders sit in the middle of the road. I immediately got out of the Rubicon and photographed the activity in this 4WD wonderland.

Before Jeff or Josh could drive in the Rock Garden, this friendly Denver-area man was going wild with his blue Jeep. Look at him go!

Colorado 4WD Road

Rock Garden at Chinaman Gulch

Chinaman Gulch

It got even better with this very contorted Jeep Cherokee traveling through! :) Chinaman Gulch
The guy in the blue Jeep was my hero. He went back over the Rock Garden quickly, with wheels in all sorts of crazy places. Chinaman Gulch 4x4

Chinaman Gulch 4x4

Then Jeff took on the Rock Garden.

In the second photo is Jeff's left front tire that was reduced to only 14 psi. Oh and notice the recent damage he did to his bumper. Very nice, Jeff! ;)

Chinaman Gulch, Colorado

Chinaman Gulch, Colorado

Chinaman Gulch Videos
The Abel Family

My compilation of the Abel 4-wheeling in Chinaman Gulch.
Three Vehicles In The Rock Garden

The Land Rover takes a beating on those rocks!

Colorado Jeep Ride

Whale Rock

Whale Rock is the next major obstacle. Josh's Jeep took it on quite successfully.

Chinaman Gulch Loop

Double Whammy

Double Whammy, the next obstacle.

Chinaman Gulch 4x4 The Rubicon's longer wheel base had some difficulty with it ...
Chinaman Gulch Loop ... and in fact, Josh pulled him out.

The Abel Family and Josh
Chinaman Gulch Loop
A nice shot of our group (minus myself).

Extra Photos

It was often entertaining to watch Josh's Jeep climb over rocks, flexing its tires in unusual ways.

My other Colorado 4x4 pages:

  • Tincup Pass (2010)
  • Tincup Pass (2006)
  • Granite Burn Road (Granite)
  • Last Dollar Road (Telluride)
  • Wheeler Lake (Fairplay)
  • Chinaman Gulch 4x4

    Colorado 4x4

    I've done a lot of hiking in this cluster of mountains. Beyond is Triad Ridge, a little traveled mountain I climbed last year. Triad Ridge, Colorado
    Josh spotting us as we climbed a steep hill with massive rocks. Chinaman Gulch 4x4
    Nice view of the mountains. Chinaman Gulch Loop
    A Jeep traffic jam near the bottom. :)

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