Carnage Canyon (BV)
Chaffee County, Colorado
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map
Nearby Towns: Johnson Village, Buena Vista
Nearby Trails: Chinaman Gulch, Shields-McGee Loop, Sevenmile Creek (Fourmile Area), Lenhardy Cutoff, Bassam Park, Bald Mountain Gulch, Bald Mountain Loop
Trail Length: 0.88 miles
Named Obstacles: Entrance, V-Notch, Exit
This trail is also known as "BV Carnage" or "Carnage BV" because it is near the town of Buena Vista. Note that there was another trail named "Carnage Canyon" in Boulder County.
This is an extremely challenging trail. Don't be fooled by how short it is. It may be impossible to get through it without a winch and a minimum of 35" tires. Lockers and a good gear ratio are required, and damage to your vehicle is very likely.
The trail starts from the same big parking lot as the Chinaman Gulch trail and it ends about a mile into that trail, but the similarities end there.
It follows a wash, and the entrance is immediately difficult. This is not the most difficult section of the trail but it is a good indication of what is to come. If this is too difficult you may want to turn around at this point.
The trail is almost always rocky, and some of the rocks are pretty challenging. The wash is fairly flat for awhile, though.
The V-Notch is difficult to get through without flopping your vehicle over on its side. This is where many people will scrape or dent their way through it, and winching is often necessary. It is definitely a challenging obstacle, and longer wheelbases will have the advantage here.
The trail continues getting rockier and a bit steeper, and suddenly you see the trail start really going uphill. The rocks are more difficult and finding traction on the dirt-covered rocks may be the biggest challenge.
It mellows out for a short distance, and then the trail turns sharply to the left. This is the bottom of the exit, and it is the most difficult part of the trail. It goes up an extremely steep hill to the top, and you must work your way up through loose rocks and loose dirt, climbing around and over huge rocks. Most vehicles will have to use a winch at some point in the exit.
When you get to the top of the hill it turns into a mellow dirt road as you turn left to intersect with the Chinaman Gulch trail. Continue west to work your way back out, or follow signs pointing to Chinaman Gulch to do that trail as well.
It is a good idea to walk Carnage Canyon before attempting it. If you run Chinaman Gulch first, you can drive to the top of the exit for Carnage Canyon if you'd like to see the worst of it. When you are on Chinaman Gulch you will come to an intersection where there is a brown sign pointing the way to continue Chinaman Gulch. Turn right here instead of left to go to the end of the roughest part of Carnage Canyon.
No Member Reports
This trail has not yet been run by a TrailDamage.com member, but we did walk along it to take pictures and get information. You can view the pictures of our hike to determine for yourself if you're ready to drive this trail.
Take Highway 285 to Johnson Village. There are gas stations there where you can fill up if you need to. In between the rafting building and the gas stations you'll see CR301 to your left. Take that road just past the red barn and you'll see a gate to your left marked "Prison Property" that runs in a straight line for a short way to another gate and an open area (you can see this open area from the main road). This area is perfect for airing down, disconnecting and getting ready for the trail. Be sure to close both gates.
This is also the trailhead for Chinaman Gulch.
Meet in Conifer on Highway 285 at the Bradley gas station. Those coming from Colorado Springs will want to meet at Johnson Village instead and not come that far north.