Wheeler National Recreation TH #39

The Wheeler National Recreation Trail can either be started outside of Blue River just north of McCullough Gulch or near Copper Mountain. The trail climbs into the alpine and crosses over the Tenmile Range and has spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. You can also enjoy the lower elevations as it passes through a mix of lodgepole and spruce/fir forests. Because this trail travels above timberline, you should begin your hike early in the morning because of the ever changing mountain weather. There is always a strong chance of afternoon thundershowers accompanied by lightning.


At a Glance

Usage: Medium
Restrictions: Closed to motor vehicles. Open to Hike, Horse and Mountain Bike.
Closest Towns: Trailhead access at Blue River, CO; Copper Mountain, CO
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Dillon Ranger District
680 Blue River Parkway
Silverthorne, CO

General Information


Access #1 (Wheeler Junction near Copper Mountain): From I-70 take Exit 195, Copper Mountain / Leadville, and travel south on HWY 91 toward Leadville. Immediately past I-70, turn left at the gas station and continue on the road to the parking area.

Access #2 (North of McCullough Gulch) - You can either park with a reservation at the Quandary Trailhead Lot at the corner of Highway 9 and Blue Lakes Road, or can take a shuttle from the Airport Road Parking Lot in Breckenridge located at 1700 Airport Road.

Directions to the Quandary Trailhead Lot:  Please note you can only park here if you made a reservation:

From I-70 take Exit 203, Frisco/Breckenridge, and travel south on Hwy 9 approximately 10 miles to the town of Breckenridge. Continue through Breckenridge on Hwy 9 (Main Street). You will pass the town of Blue River, travel 4 miles and then turn right onto Blue Lakes Road (FDR 850). The parking lot will be on your right.

Parking on McCollough Gulch or Blue Lakes Road is no longer allowed - you can also park at the Airport Road Lot in Breckenridge and take the free Summit Stage shuttle to the Quandary Trailhead Lot.  Another shuttle will take you from the Quandary Trailhead Lot to the McCollough Gulch Trailhead.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Mountain Biking

Day Hiking


Horse Riding

XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
14.2 miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
9,718' - 12, 502'