This ride starts at the beginning of the Wheeler Gulch trail, which branches off of the South Cottonwood Creek Trail
about 2.6 miles from the trailhead and parking area. If you go from the South Cottonwood Creek Trail
parking lot, you're looking at over 14 miles round trip.
If you head up South Cottonwood Creek Trail
for about 2.6 miles, you'll see the turn for Wheeler Gulch Trail.
The up and down nature of riding the South Cottonwood Creek Trail
changes character on the Wheeler Creek trail, where you'll climb for about 5 miles.
The first mile or two is beautiful, smooth trail in the woods. It looks like some people use it for freeride/downhill, so keep an eye up the trail.
After that, you'll hit some newly cut trail and head up rocky switchbacks for what feels like a long way. As the trail becomes newer, the bumpier and rockier it becomes. Enjoy the views, because they are few and far between, but they are breathtaking.
Once you hit the saddle below Wheeler Peak, the trail switches from rough singletrack to a fire road. I think most people stop here, but I felt like I was cheating if I didn't hit the high point of the saddle. To reach the summit, head up the road a little more and take a right. You'll come to a clearing in the woods and BOOM! You made it! While not spectacular, the summit is a satisfying end point.
If you plan on going over 10mph on the descent, it's recommended that you have a little suspension. I've made some poor choices in my life but riding down this on a hardtail was probably #1 of all time.
Either way, enjoy the solitude all the way back to South Cottonwood Creek Trail
, and the parking area.