Rating - 5
The Forest Service has significantly changed the difficulty of the China Wall Trail by removing the rocks on the FR204 trail hill. The China Wall Trail has some rock obstacles but nothing a capable 4WD vehicle with high clearance can not navigate safely. FR212 has a rock obstacle that should only be attempted by a modified vehicle but is easily avoided by staying on the trail.
From Colorado Springs take Highway US 24 through the town of Lake George. Just past Lake George turn north onto County Road 77 (Tarryall Road). Follow County Road 77 for about 10 miles to the China Wall turnoff, FR 212. You can also take FR212A which is about .5 mile before FR212. They will both end up at the same location on the trail.
Beautiful rock outcroppings dominate the scenery throughout this well-known rock climbing area. You may primitive camp in the area if you wish, however Spruce Grove campground is just two miles further north on County Road 77. FR212 or the China Wall Trail is short, approximately 3.0 miles one way. The club runs this trail as an out and back. The trail begins on the Tarryall Road, skirts the China Wall rock formation and descends into the Tarryall Creek drainage area.
After starting out on the trail you will come to a fork in the road right at the base of the Tarryall Mountain just after you start uphill. Take either fork up, then the other one on your way back so you can see both (the right side is a bit more challenging and the direction the club takes).
You'll go over the top of this first hill, then over some minor rocky areas. You'll come to another major fork where FR 204 will intersect with FR212. Keep following FR212 and you'll come back to this intersection later.
Soon you will find some fun challenges along the trail that will challenge the suspension. They are steep and fun to climb, but there is a bypass next to most of the obstacles. There are many lines through these rocks and you could easily get high centered if you don't have a lot of clearance.
In one of the clearings, after some of the rock obstacles you can see to the west the rock formation that gives the trail it's name. With some imagination it does resemble some of the pictures of the Great Wall of China we see in our history books.
You'll go through a clearing and follow the trail to the left to turn through a small muddy spot in the road. Just past this turn you'll see an optional rock slab on the right of the main trail with many tire marks. This rock slab has been the source for a few roll overs for people because some lines up the rock can get very tippy and can easily cause wheel stands. Be sure of your line before you go up the rock slab or you could end up with tires in the air.
After the rock slab there is a dirt hill to descend with a few different lines to get to the bottom. The line on the left is currently the easiest.
Once you reach Tarryall Creek and the camping areas at the bottom of the big hill, turn around to go back (this is a great place for lunch in the shade). Along the creek is also a great place to camp. Also note, that it may look like a trail continues on the other side of the creek but it is actually erosion runoff and is not a part of the trail.
The highest elevation on the China Wall Trail is 9020 ft., which is on the FR204 trail right before you descend a short benign hill. This is the hill that used to have the fun obstacles on the China Wall Trail.