Wheeler Geologic Area Road

MODERATE 8 reviews

Wheeler Geologic Area Road is a 16.7 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Creede, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
16.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3303 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

dog friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

off road driving

trail running

views

wild flowers

This is a very unique spot in Colorado. The hike is long, but mainly flat. The hike mainly goes across a flat mesa that is around 10,000 feet. The geologic area is out of this world beautiful. This national monument was established by Teddy Roosevelt in 1911 but was later designated a wilderness because so few people could make the difficult trek to the remote area.

backpacking
2 months ago

The reviews already submitted are accurate. I just did this hike over the course of two days. I recommend getting out there early. The best camping spots in my opinion are near the trail shelter which is a short trail just off the Wheeler Geological Area trail. Additionally, beware one of the creek crossings is quite large. It was very cold when I went and wet feet would have been a nightmare. If you go upstream about 100 yards you can find two logs to cross. The trip going back to the trailhead is a lot tougher as others mentioned (many uphill sections) Lastly, tie your shoes tight this trail killed my toenails.

hiking
2 months ago

My wife, 5 year old, 8 year old and I went on this yesterday. The scenery is out of this world! The hike itself was not too difficult for myself and my wife but the kids had a difficult time coming back. The hike there is mostly downhill, but the hike back is almost all uphill. We did this in about 4 hours, and it was totally worth it. I highly recommend it!

hiking
2 months ago

My husband and I explored the wheeler area on September 16 2017, we drove the 16 mile 4x4 road in our 2007 Chevy silverado. We made it fine. The road was very long and lots of mud puddles and places where there lots of rocks. It look us 2 1/2 hours to reach the trailhead where we camped in a tent for the night. Beautiful area but there is alot of dead trees due to beetles. We hiked the 2 mile loop . The views are amazing! The formations will make you wonder if you are still on planet earth. It was well worth the time and discomfort of the long rough road to get there! We saw a couple vehicles with flat tires so make sure you have a spare and don't attempt to drive this road without 4 wheel drive. I would of given it 5 stars if it weren't so hard to get to.

hiking
8 months ago

Crazy cool hike!! This is a very unique spot in Colorado. The hike is long, but mainly flat. The hike mainly goes across a flat mesa that is around 10,000 feet. The geologic area is out of this world beautiful. Check it out

This is was first national monument is the US but was designated a wilderness because so few people could make the difficult trek to the remote area. It is so cool to see how the unique geologic history of the area manifested itself.

off road driving
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wheeler Geologic Monument - Creede Colorado
Wheeler Geologic Monument is a natural formation of rocks and volcanic ash.

To reach the trailhead, drive about 7 miles southeast of Creede on Colorado 149, then turn left on Pool Table Road, #600 and proceed about 10 miles to Hanson's Mill. The two-wheel drive road ends here.

The 4WD road to Wheeler leaves from Hanson's Mill. It travels almost 14 miles. Expect close to 8 hours of driving time and plan 10 to allow for some exploring.

The road is slow-going over a rough, roundabout and rutted route. Take advantage of that to enjoy the spectacular scenery. Near its end, it is narrow and twisting through the trees. In the slippery ruts, maneuvering is a challenge. The road is impassable when wet and closed to vehicles in the spring. It typically opens in mid to late June, as early as Memorial Day in an exceptionally dry year.

From Hanson's Mill, the four-wheel drive road is well-signed and marked with white arrows. All four-wheel drive travel is restricted to the marked roads only, with the exception that you may drive off the road for up to 300 feet to gain access to suitable undeveloped campsites along the route. You should stop by any Forest Service Office and obtain a Travel Map if you have questions concerning travel restrictions.

The road climbs from Hanson's Mill through spruce/fir for 0.4 mile to a road junction. The left fork is not the four-wheel drive route to Wheeler but can be driven for a little over 1 mile where it dead-ends just before East Bellows Creek. From this point, the route continues as a trail (foot, horse, and trailbike only) for 5.7 miles to the Wheeler Geologic Area. This trail is part of the old Alder Creek Stock Driveway, which today is Trail #790. There is limited parking for 3 to 4 vehicles at the end of this spur road. If you prefer hiking, and are in good physical condition, you can probably walk to Wheeler faster than driving a four-wheel drive vehicle the 14 miles to Wheeler via the jeep road. If you plan to drive into Wheeler, however, go straight at the road junction rather than following this left fork of the road. The junction is well-signed.

From this junction, the Pool Table Road#600 travels northeast, gently climbing 360 feet in elevation over the next 3.9 miles. The first 3 miles of this section of road continue through spruce/fir and then break into the open to follow the treeline on the right until the road swings northwest and crosses East Bellows Creek.

From this point to within 1.5 miles of its end, the road traverses primarily through open sub-alpine country. Just up the hill from the East Bellows Creek crossing, the road turns northwest and is relatively level for the next 2.6 miles, except where the road crosses Trujillo Creek and the Canyon Fernandez drainage. From the Canyon Fernandez drainage, the road drops about 540 feet over the next 2.5 miles to the Canyon Nieve drainage. This portion of road swings from a southwest direction to northwest. The road then continues to the west, climbs 460 feet over the next 1.2 miles, and then levels out for approximately 1.6 miles to where Trail #790 joins the road.

The next mile of road/trail drops 360 feet in elevation through spruce/fir trees. This section is narrow and twists its way through the trees. The lower part of this section (which is only about 3/4 mile from the end of the road) is often muddy and rutted, making maneuverability difficult because of the tight squeeze through the trees. The slippery rutted conditions usually force vehicle wheels to follow the existing ruts. This section requires some driving skills to successfully negotiate when wet. Larger vehicles have an even more difficult time through this section.

The final half-mile of road breaks back into a small park and dead-ends at the fence marking the end of the road and the boundary of the Geologic Area. This is as far as motor vehicles are allowed. From this point a foot and/or horse trail continues approximately 0.6 mile on to the formations.
Even though the trip is rough and slow, the subalpine scenery is beautiful and more than makes up for the trip. If lucky, elk and deer may be seen on occasion. Coyotes are not uncommon. Gray jays ("Camp Robbers") are plentiful, especially at the end of the road near Wheeler. If you have patience, you can usually have these friendly birds eat out of your hand.

6 months ago

hiking
Monday, September 05, 2016

Tuesday, June 19, 2012