Wheeler Geologic Area Road is a 16.6 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Creede, Colorado that features a great forest setting and is rated as difficult. 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
16.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,310 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

mountain biking

off road driving

forest

views

blowdown

muddy

over grown

rocky

washed out

Users have reported periodic closures to vehicles on this trail. High clearance 4WD vehicles are recommended. Users have also reported a large amount of downed trees along this trail. 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.

hiking
3 months ago

Since the hiking trail doesn't come up easily when looking for hikes near Creede, but the road does, I wanted to include my review here too. This hike is 16 miles. The trail portion is 5 miles. It then connects to the road for another 2. After 7 miles you reach the information area about the eroded rocks. It's another mile to walk anywhere near the rocks. The forest is dead from beetle kill. The trail is not hard, just long. But having to hike 16 miles just to see the rocks made me think I would have rather backpacked in so I would have the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll around the rocks whose views is obscured by dead trees. Or in a day, I think it would be better to rent a RZR or horseback. If the forest weren't dead, perhaps I would have enjoyed the hike a bit more. I've hiked the whole CT so its not about not enjoying the scenery, it's just with a particular idea in mind, the rocks aren't visible for some time. More info and pics at https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/07/30/things-to-do-in-creede/

backpacking
3 months ago

Did this trip on 6/11/18. The number of dead trees was concerning, both for having to find a place to pitch a tent that wasn't surround by dead trees ready to topple over, and also the fact the downed trees conceal the trail, particularly on the loop around the formations. GPS said the trail was 8 miles to tbe loop. Lots of campsites at the boundary, but also lots of ATV traffic in and out all afternoon at the end of the trail. Mostly had the whole night and morning in Wheeler to myself, which made it worth it. A nice moderate hike to a cool place.

3 months ago

The 4WD was rough but certainly worth the drive. The road was free of trees aside from a few moved to the side but still wide enough for vehicles and ATVs. Some downed trees on hiking trail near Wheeler but not enough to be a major problem. Amazing views and terrain at the end of the upper trail to the bench.

5 months ago

This review is for the hiking trail.

The directions in a previous report are accurate. Take Pool Table Road 600 from CO 149 about halfway between Creede and South Fork. At the end of the road is a parking lot, bathrooms and a small campground. From their to the bench with the best views of the Wheeler Geologic Area is 7.9 miles per a GPS watch. We decided to mountain bike the first two miles to save time and walking until we got to the wilderness area where no biking is allowed - at the stream crossing. There were a ton of down trees in this first two miles which made biking pretty tough. Had to carry it over probably 30 downed dead trees killed by the pine beetles. So because of all the dead trees in the area I don’t expect this to get any better for the next 60 years or so. After you get to the parking area for Wheeler - you’ll meet up with the Jeep road about a mile before getting there - it’s another 0.9 miles to the actual Wheeler site. You’ll follow a path that will come to a sigh where you can go straight or left to Wheeler. We went straight first which takes you to the bottom with some cool formations and perspectives but it dead ends in about a half mile. We backtracked to the left hand turn and that takes you to the bench with the awesome views of Wheeler. Very unique and worth the almost 16 mile round trip. Biking the first two miles in saves some time and effort but with the downed trees it’s probably a wash. Round trip was about 8 hours.

6 months ago

Did this hike on 5/11/18. Hike is long but very doable in a day. Wherever the trail goes through the trees there are a significant amount of downed trees blocking the trail. The 4x4 trail was closed but wouldn’t be able to make it to the end bc of all the downed trees.

backpacking
Monday, October 09, 2017

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
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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
Thursday, September 21, 2017

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
Monday, March 27, 2017

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.

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

hiking
Monday, September 05, 2016

Tuesday, June 19, 2012