Wheeler Lake

HARD 44 reviews
#32 of 170 trails in

Wheeler Lake is a 5.9 mile out and back trail located near Fairplay, Colorado that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and off road driving and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
5.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,223 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

off road driving

lake

wildlife

44 minutes ago

My favorite hike! It even beats the fourteeners I've done.

hiking
17 hours ago

I have been off-roading and hiking on this trail and have enjoyed it very much. The trail is challenging, especially if you are hiking-watch you footing with all of those rocks!

hiking
6 days ago

Wheeler Lake is a great hike for the morning. Start early as Trailhead parking is unpredictable (there’s not a parking lot, just various intersecting roads you can park on the edge). There’s also no Trailhead sign but it’s correctly marked on AllTrails. There’s very little tree coverage and shade on the trail so I recommend sunscreen and a hat. There’s plenty of running water and streams throughout the hike and up to the lake which is great for canine companions. Keep an eye out for vehicles (we didn’t encounter any on our way up but we started at 8am). The lake had tons of wild flowers around it and a rushing waterfall from an upper lake. We sat up there and enjoyed the views and a snack. Keep an eye out for the many marmots near the lake.

8 days ago

Did this hike today. Gorgeous views and worth it to get to the top. Incline to the lake is demanding with loose gravel and rocks but so beautiful at the top.

16 days ago

A beautiful hike with awesome views. We spent a good chunk of time at the top just taking in the beauty of the lake and the incredible wild flowers. My husband and I are in decent shape, in our late 20s to early 30s and it took us a total of 3.5 hours. One of the most beautiful places I’ve seen and a very gratifying hike. Will do again one day.

hiking
1 month ago

Family of four completed this today and had a great time. Gentle hike until the last 3/4 mile. Awesome views all the way. Crazy to see the 4x4's traversing some of the obstacles. Would definately do this hike again.

off road driving
1 month ago

Does anyone know of you can camp at or around the lake?

off road driving
1 month ago

Very gnarly trail with quite a few very fun obstacles! Would probably not do it alone unless you have a very, very off-road worthy rig. We took 2 JK 4-doors w/ 3 1/2” lifts & 35’s. Managed all obstacles just fine, but a few required spotting. Coming back down did get the back tire of one of the Jeeps about 2 1/2’ off the ground by not taking the right line.

Wheeler Lake is a great destination. We were the only 4x4’s up there. Only 4 other hikers. Caught a rainbow and a brown in the lake and lower ponds. Highly recommend, but would easily rate this trail an 8, maybe 9.

hiking
1 month ago

Probabaly one of my favorite hikes, not too difficult of an incline. Beautiful lake at the top .

hiking
2 months ago

Soooo, just did this hike today, 6/6/18, with my favorite sidekick my wife. Tons of standing water of course at this time of year. We parked just below the mine before the ugly 4 x 4 road starts. We had the place to ourselves all day, no one else up here. I would not consider this a hard hike though, as you are simply walking along this gnarly 4 x 4 jeep road. My Garmin was at 3.4 by the time we reached the lake. We did have to do some back and forth though around snow drifts/water. Views are awesome as you would expect, with Mts. Lincoln, Democrat, and Wheeler in full view. We could see people going up and down both Lincoln and Democrat from the road. Ice was not out yet either at the lake. Was hoping to wet a line. This area is the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the South Platte River. I only gave this 4 stars due to having to go around so many areas of standing water. If the road were dry, I can't see this taking more than an hour and half to reach the lake. On the way down, we did see one lad from Kansas with his jeep going up, and my hat is off to him as he was plowing thru some of the snow drifts I deemed not passable. Crazy. All in all, this is a worthwhile short hike. If you plan to drive this, better have some experience!!!!

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked this yesterday (5/5), had to bust out the snowshoes a mile in. Snow was too melted/soft in some places, sank through to the creek several times (wet feet! :( ) gorgeous views though and tough workout, not a soul around for miles.

off road driving
6 months ago

Awesome trail! Super fun. Must be experienced to do this one but very worth it. Great to hike up too!
The scenery is great at the top

hiking
10 months ago

Did this hike yesterday, with the addition of an ascent of Clinton Peak. Very pretty area, but hiking a road isn't my favorite, and on a weekend it could really suck to share it with ATVs & modified 4-wheelers. Climb of Clinton from the lake is a workout, especially the final slope.

11 months ago

Rock crawl here..nice reward at the top..be sure to start early..or you'll be that guy.be aware of hikers and bikers

hiking
Monday, June 19, 2017

My fiancé and I decided to hike this trail 6/19/17. The trail itself looks like a creek bed, lots of rocks of all sizes and streaming water. Some spots you have to go around and I would recommend wearing pants bc the bushes you walk through will scratch you up. About half way up the road turns to deep snow. It's doable to continue hiking. We did it without snow shoes but I'm guessing snow shoes would make it a little easier. The last part of the hike before the lake was very steep and you have to cross some water/snow. I felt like I was climbing a 14er! The lake when we went was still frozen but I can imagine once thawed it will be so beautiful and clear! We didn't see too many hikers but did run into a group of ATVs trying to make it up. Overall it was a beautiful hike and probably one of the tougher hikes I've done just because of all the different terrain.

off road driving
Sunday, June 04, 2017

Went out yesterday Saturday 6-3-17. Got about half way up still snow packed. But you can still play on the rocks a little.

Great day overall!! Can't wait to go back.

hiking
Sunday, November 27, 2016

Great hike-- wouldn't quite rate it as hard though. I was the only one up there on Saturday. Probably the last day before you need snow shoes. Worth it!

off road driving
Wednesday, September 07, 2016

This trail was semi difficult but the views are awesome. You may be able to drag a stock 4x4 off but it's going to take some effort and your probably going to come back with so beauty marks. However that's the fun part sometimes is pudding things to the limits and seeing what you can do. It's a pretty long trail so take water and food plus the other lake is a decent hike so if you plan on visiting it be prepared. Lastly don't travel this one alone, it's always better to have a backup rig for support. Safe travels and wheel on!

hiking
Sunday, July 31, 2016

Gorgeous, but can have a lot of jeep traffic especially on weekends. Trail ends with a 400 ft vertical scramble so save some energy. It's worth the effort.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Must see!!!

hiking
Sunday, June 26, 2016

BEAUTIFUL HIKE! 4 stars because the road becomes an actual river with little to no way to pass except going through it. There were so many marmots! I hiked this trail June 20, 2016. There is still a decent amount of snow.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Beautiful views and a relatively easy hike. Well worth the drive from denver for a short picnic by the lakes.

hiking
Sunday, July 19, 2015

Hiked this trail again. Lots of water on jeep trail. Had to hike around the water.

hiking
Wednesday, March 11, 2015

One of my first hikes.Several waterfalls , and flowers. Good place to take jeeps. 1997 July 5

hiking
Friday, September 10, 2010

In spite of all the 4x4 information about this trail, it really is a great hike. Each time we have hiked it, we see one or two jeeps, unless there is some sort of group rally. Wheeler lake is beautiful and above the lake is even better. Plus, the jeeps only go to the lake and back.

We hiked to the lake and then to the peaks behind the lake, Clinton, McNamee and Traver. Will post pictures from home.

hiking
23 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

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