Wheeler Geologic Area

Creede, Colorado 81130

Wheeler Geologic Area

Wheeler Geologic Area Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Certainly one of Colorado’s more unusual geologic formations, the Wheeler Geologic Area is also one of its most remote natural features. Volcanic in origin, the white tuff of the area has eroded into a variety of hoodoos, pinnacles, and canyons. So unusual are these formations that they captured the interest of the then chief of the U.S. Forest Service, Gifford Pinchot, and his boss, Teddy Roosevelt, who made the Wheeler formations the centerpiece of a 300-acre national monument in 1908.

Due to lack of access, however, the area was redesignated as a geologic area in 1969 and its size was increased to 640 acres. Today a rough and lengthy 4WD road reaches the Wheeler Geologic Area, as do a number of hiking trails. This hike follows the shortest of these trails, the East Bellows Trail. New signs along the route refer to it as the Wheeler Trail."

Wheeler Geologic Area Trip Reports

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8/6/2018
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6/28/2018
The hike itself is fairly mild with some up and down along the way, but I would suggest taking a few days to explore these extraordinary geologic formations of hoodoos, pinnacles, and canyons. We backpacked the 7 mile hike through the Rio Grande National Forest and camped right at the Wheeler boundary. The hike itself is fairly mild with some up and down along the way. Once you get to the actual geologic area your mind will be totally blown. I've never seen anything like it -- it is such a unique place. There is a loop of about 3 miles around Wheeler Monument but I suggest only going to the main viewpoint located just above the first intersection to the left. That is by far the best viewpoint. If you drive the 14 mile road out you may decide to do the entire loop but keep in mind that there is some considerable elevation gain. You can find camping spots around the geologic area, but be gentle with this place. The formations themselves are fragile and shouldn't be climbed or camped on.
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Wheeler Geologic Area Photos

Trail Information

Creede
Nearby City
15
Distance
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
8 hours
Duration
July to September
Season
10,800 feet
Trailhead Elevation
11,800 feet
Top Elevation
Rio Grande National Forest; La Garita Wilderness Area
Local Contacts
USGS Pool Table Mountain, Wagon Wheel Gap, Halfmoon Pass
Local Maps

Trail Log