Wheeler Geologic Area

Area Status: Open
Wheeler Geo

Wheeler Geologic Area is part of the La Garita Wilderness, within this area you will find many trails, some nearby peaks over 13,000 ft and expansive views. Located near the old mining town of Creede, CO, Wheeler is accessible by a 7 mile hike or a grueling 14 mile four wheel drive road. Your efforts are rewarded by views of a remarkable geologic formation of moderately coarse volcanic tuff eroded into many different shapes.  

ALERT! We strongly advise you to plan a whole day trip in order to travel into Wheeler, enjoy the formations, and then get back out. It is not a short, easy trip. The road is extremely rough with deep ruts. High clearance vehicle or ATV recommended. This road is not recommended for travel during monsoonal storms. 

Check before you visit. Forest Road #600 from Hanson's Mill to Wheeler is often one of the last roads to open on the forest and first to close. There may be closures during wet periods. Check our Road Status page or call the Divide Ranger District at 719-657-3321.

In addition to East Bellows Creek Trail # 790, from Hansons Mill and Wason- Wheeler Trail  #789 from north of Creede, there are several trails that either lead to Wheeler or from Wheeler on into the La Garita Wilderness.

Check out related trails: West Bellows Trail #871, Halfmoon Pass Trail # 912, Machin Basin Trail # 784, Middle Fork Trail #783 and Middle Fork Cutoff Trail # 888.

At the end of the Wheeler Road #600 there are several dispersed campsites for the public to use. You are not allowed to camp or have campfires inside the area of the formations. Dispersed camping is allowed at Hansons Mill site located just south of the East Bellows Creek trailhead. 

Check out the Wheeler Geologic Area as it is featured in "Stories in Stone" on our National Minerals & Geology Management page

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Open year around but usually snowed in with poor access from November through May. Access Roads via Pool Table Road 600.  Road is extremely rough with deep  ruts. High clearance vehicle (jeep with winch) or ATV recommended.  
Fees: No Fee
Open Season: May
Usage: Light
Best Season: June through September
Busiest Season: July
Restrictions: No camping or campfires allowed within the area of the formations.
Water: No
Restroom: No
Operated By: Forest Service

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Day Hiking

East Bellows Creek Trail # The trail provides good hiking access to Wheeler Geologic Area, Halfmoon pass, and the La Garita Wilderness. Beautiful views and unique geologic features are the main attractions of this trail.
Elevation desc #790 - 10,800 - 12,700
Difficulty Level: Easy to Intermediate

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Current Conditions


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