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dblack Wheeler Trail

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10.3 mile 16.5 kilometer point to point
Extremely Difficult


Ascent: 2,286' 697 m
Descent: -3,424' -1,044 m
High: 12,508' 3,812 m
Low: 9,770' 2,978 m


Avg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 44% (24°)


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Trail shared by Nick Wilder

Stunning alpine scenery on extremely steep singletrack.

Nick Wilder

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-


WARNING: This trail has HUGE high alpine exposure. Several miles are above 12,000'. This is not the place to take your buddy visiting from low altitude... or if there is any question of thunderstorms... or if you lack enthusiasm to suffer and hike your bike a good bit! This is a big, high-mountain adventure and will take much longer than its 8 miles might suggest.

From the trailhead on McCullough Gulch Road (well past the Quandary Peak trailhead), start off with grueling climb on moderately rough surface for about half a mile. Some people will be able to ride parts of this, but most of us get hypoxic after 30 feet. The final grunt is a staircase that everyone will hike. Turn back around at this point and admire 14,265' Quandary Peak right in your face. If you look closely on a clear day, you'll see hordes of people on the summit ridge.

The painful climb pays right off though - the next section gently descends through beautiful forest carpeted with green woodruff for over a mile. You pop out at Miner's Creek Trail with views of beaver ponds and 13,000' mountains all around. Continue on fast fun singletrack past Spruce Creek and enjoy a couple miles of superb singletrack just below treeline. Come to a road intersection and take a break for the big hill ahead.

The next stretch climbs almost 1,500 feet in a little over a mile. It's butter smooth, but you'd have to have lungs and legs beyond human norms to ride it. Hoof it up to a spectacular ridge and enjoy huge views in all directions.

The next few miles cross high alpine tundra-like terrain that is often quite wet. Don't damage the trail. It's relatively flat but moderately technical through these sections. The views of the ten mile range are unbeatable!

One final climb of a few switchback will take you to a saddle between Peak 8 and 9. All of a sudden you'll have views of the other side of the range, extending from Copper Mountain to the Gore Range. Soak in the views and then cruise down a couple miles on steep terrain until the trail intersects the Colorado Trail at the Miner's Creek Trail junction on the right of the trail. Continue past Miner's Creek Trail down to Copper Mountain. Cross a bridge to a parking lot.


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Oct 30, 2018
Rebecca Luoma
Aug 20, 2018
Chad Dean
Sep 29, 2017
Eric Leroy
Took burro trail to wheeler and came down via breck. Pretty dry, not much snow.
Sep 29, 2017
Tyson Schultz
Sep 25, 2017
John Tyrka
Make it a loop I said, it would be fun I said. Peak 9 road, to wheeler. Skip the fun part, hike a bike another 2miles back to peak connect trail.epic 22.6mi
Aug 16, 2017
Wirun Sae-Lao
Jul 30, 2017
Jen Tillman
Jul 16, 2017
Ryan Legg

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Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 15 votes


in Blue River


  4.9 from 15 votes
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71 Views Last Month
16,822 Since Aug 16, 2014
Extremely Difficult Extremely Difficult

Michael Tarne
Conway, Arkansas
Michael Tarne   Conway, Arkansas
This trail description seems weird. I hopped on the trail at the Spruce Creek Road junction, so I can only speak to it after that, but here's what I found: After the junction you head up the road a bit before a left onto singletrack. This bit is steep and pretty technical; it would be hard to ride the entire thing. After a while you'll hit the road again (you could also just stay on the road if you wanted) and then it's okay for a bit before really kicking up for about a mile over the top of the ridge. After that the description is more or less correct, but the first time you hit Miner's Creek Trail is well over Wheeler pass. Also, general opinion: this trail is great if you're looking for an alpine adventure day, but there are big sections that would be exceedingly difficult to ride (more or less everything between Spruce Creek Road and the top of the climb.) Lots and lots of hike a bike. If you want a day in the saddle, the Peak 9 road is a much better option. That being said, the views on this trail are amazing and if you're not opposed to hike a bike are well worth it. Sep 6, 2016
Very few ride the Wheeler Trail as described above. Most of us ride up the Peak 9 service road and then either turn left towards Crystal Lakes on the Wheeler Trail, or right on the Wheeler Trail towards Copper. Yes, you are riding up a somewhat boring jeep road, but at least you aren't hiking with your bike. Once the jeep road leaves the ski area boundary it gets very rough. Also, please ride gently on this trail. It is seeing a lot more use in the last few years. Jun 24, 2018

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