Wheeler Lakes Trail

Eagles Nest Wilderness Area, Colorado

Distance2.5mi
Elevation Gain1,554ft
Trailhead Elevation11,060ft
Top11,134ft
Elevation Min/Max9696/11134ft
Elevation Start/End11060/11066ft

Wheeler Lakes Trail

Wheeler Lakes Trail is a hiking trail in Summit County, Colorado. It is within White River National Forest and Eagles Nest Wilderness Area. It is 2.5 miles long and begins at 11,060 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 5.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,554 feet. This trail connects with the following: Gore Range Trail.

Wheeler Lakes Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Winter Trails: Colorado-The Best Cross-Country Ski and Snowshoe Trails (Falcon Guides)
Andy Lightbody and Kathy Mattoon
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"The Wheeler Lakes Trail, which leads summer and winter users up to the high alpine lakes, is difficult both physically and because it requires navigating through deep snows with minimal trail markings. It’s a trail that should only be attempted by advanced skiers or snowshoers. If you are out of shape, not an expert skier or snowshoer, and don’t possess excellent backcountry skills, you may want to try an easier trail first!" Read more
Best Hikes with Dogs: Colorado (The Mountaineers Books)
Ania Savage
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"You will be hiking on the Gore Range Trail, which winds its way through the Eagles Nest Wilderness. The Gore Range, Gore Creek, and other landmarks bearing that name derive from Irish baronet Sir St. George Gore who hunted in the Rockies in the 1850s. The story goes that he traveled in real style and was served meals on fine bone china and drank vintage wine from crystal goblets. The Gore Range Trail extends north for about 50 miles to south of View of Copper Mountain ski runs from the turnoff to Kremmling. Its southern terminus is at Copper Mountain. This southern section is also known as the Wheeler Trail, which leads to the two charming Wheeler Lakes. The lakes, like the Wheeler Trail and Wheeler Flats (the area around Copper Mountain), are named for John S. Wheeler, who arrived in Colorado in 1859 with other gold prospectors. Eventually he moved to Summit County and established a hay ranch in the meadow that is now Copper Mountain Ski Resort." Read more
Hiking Colorado's Summit County Area (Falcon Guides)
Maryann Gaug
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"This trail to the top of Wheeler Pass (unofficial name) is the Wheeler National Recreation Trail. The Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail follow part of the same route. It climbs steadily at about a 15 percent grade through spruce-fir and lodgepole forest on the west slope of the Tenmile Range. The tundra flowers bloom brilliantly in July. From the ridge of the Tenmile Range, you can view the upper Blue River valley, the town of Breckenridge, the Breckenridge Ski Area, and the scars of mining days. Views of the Gore Range, Copper Mountain, and the Front Range are fabulous! In 1879, Judge John S. Wheeler purchased 320 acres, now part of Copper Mountain Resort, and started a hay ranch. The next year silver miners arrived, and the ranch became a town known by various names: Wheeler ’s Ranch, Wheeler Station, Wheeler’s, Wheeler, and Wheeler Junction. Wheeler Junction prospered with a hotel, saloons, a post office, and several sawmills. In 1884 the Colorado & Southern Railroad finished laying tracks to Wheeler Junction on the east side of Tenmile Creek. Their railroad station at Wheeler was named Solitude Station. On the other side of the creek, the Denver &Rio Grande railroad had their line with a station called Wheeler’s." Read more
Best Dog Hikes Colorado (Falcon Guides)
Bob D’Antonio, Maryann Gaug, Stewart Green, Linda B. Mullally, and Tracy Salcedo-Chourré.
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"This trail to the top of Wheeler Pass (the unofficial name) is part of both the Wheeler National Recreational Trail and the Colorado Trail. It climbs steadily through sprucefir and lodgepole forests on the western slope of the Tenmile Range. Views of the Gore Range, Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, French Gulch, and the Front Range are fabulous! Because this trail goes to a ridge above tree line, be sure to get an early start to avoid afternoon thunder and lightning storms." Read more
Hiking Colorado (Falcon Guides)
Maryann Gaug, Revised by Sandy Heise
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"This trail to the top of Wheeler Pass (unofficial name) is part of both the Wheeler National Recreational Trail and the Colorado Trail. It climbs steadily through spruce-fir and lodgepole forest on the western slope of the Tenmile Range. Views of the Gore Range, Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, French Gulch, and the Front Range are fabulous! Because this trail goes to a ridge above treeline, be sure to get an early start to avoid afternoon thunder and lightning storms." Read more
Best Hikes Near Breckenridge and Vail (Falcon Guides)
Maryann Gaug
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"Wind through lodgepole pine and aspen forest then climb through thick spruce-fir forest and flower-filled meadows to a pair of small but beautiful lakes that reflect the Colorado sky and surrounding woods. The trail sports a few steep spots and some mucky areas (after a good rain), but Wheeler Lakes are worth the effort. This hike starts on the southern part of the Gore Range Trail, which traverses to the east side of the range then contours north along the base of the rugged mountains. The hike description takes you to the first lake, but you can continue on to the nearby second lake if you have time. Enjoy exploring this pretty area." Read more

Wheeler Lakes Trail Reviews

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6/5/2009
This was a good, short introduction to CO backpacking. We arrived just in time for a downpour, waited it out in the car (drank a beer while waiting), and hurried up the trail while there was a break in the rain. Once about a half mile up the trail, it started to rain heavily again, but we had made it to a good site near a meadow and aspens. We setup the tent and hopped inside just in time for the rain to stop. The next day the hike was nice with decent views. I'm glad we brought trekking poles with us as it definitely helped in the soft and deep snow drifts through the higher parts of the trail. The lakes were unspectacular, but the views from the top were nice. Although we were rather wet, we enjoyed this trip.
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6/24/2005
Great trail for a day hike from Denver. Trail starts across the street from Copper Mountain and goes to the top of Breckenridge. Steep hike, not a single switchback along the entire trail. Lots of waterfalls and creeks to cross. About a mile of the hike is above timberline, so it is good to start early. The out and back hike took us 5 and 1/2 hours. It's a quiet hike, we only saw one other couple the whole way. Definately worth the trip, the view at the top was incredible, next time I may try to make the top of peak 9.
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Wheeler Lakes Trail Photos

Trail Information

Eagles Nest Wilderness Area
Nearby City
Eagles Nest Wilderness Area
Parks
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
USDA Forest Service, Dillon Ranger District, 680 Blue River Pkwy., Silverthorne; (970) 468-5400; www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver; www.dillonrangerdistrict.com
Local Contacts
USGS Vail Pass; Nat Geo Trails Illustrated 109 Breckenridge/ Tennessee Pass; Latitude 40˚ Summit County Trails; USFS White River National Forest map
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018