Wheeler Trail guide | SummitDaily.com

Wheeler Trail guide

Staff report

www.nationalgeographic.comThis section of the historic Wheeler National Recreation Trail contains a challenging ascent and descent over the scenic Tenmile Range.

Distance: 26 miles

Rating: Advanced

Time: 5 hours

Elevation: 9,100-12,408 ft.

Type: Loop, dirt road, trail, paved path

Season: July through September

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Know Before You Go: Much of the Wheeler Trail is above timberline. Get an early start and be prepared for weather changes. When riding within the ski area, stay on routes designated for biking.

Parking: From I-70 drive south through Breckenridge on HWY 9. Turn right at the stoplight on the north end of town onto North Park. Drive by the City Market and park in one of the large lots located on the left side of Park Avenue.

Description: Follow Park Avenue south, turn right onto Village Road and climb up it a short distance. Turn left into and ride through the paved lot below Beaver Run Resort. Turn right onto the dirt ski area access road that climbs Peak 9. It veers right, climbing under a quad chairlift and passing spur roads on the right. Stay on the main route, which switchbacks left and climbs under another quad chairlift. Continue climbing, staying under the quad and passing some spur roads on the left. Switchback upward, eventually reaching the day lodge at about 3.4 miles. Curve left before the lodge and continue climbing. The road gets rougher as it continues switchbacking upward. Ride above another chairlift and pass a spur on the right. Switchback above timberline, often over technical terrain. Intersect the Wheeler Trail, which is marked by a rock pile, at about 5.5 miles. Turn right onto the trail. (The road continues on to Peak 10 and the left fork of the trail follows challenging terrain for several miles to the Spruce Creek and McCullough Gulch drainages.) Contour across the tundra, being careful to stay on the trail to avoid damaging the fragile vegetation. Expect to walk where the trail switchbacks steeply up to Wheeler Pass. The trail descends quickly toward Copper Mountain. Radical dropoffs and stream crossings necessitate the need for caution on this challenging but rideable descent. Also, anticipate uphill traffic and control your speed around blind corners. Pass Miner’s Creek Trail and descend to Ten Mile Creek and a bridge at about 9.5 miles. Turn right and follow a dirt road to the paved recpath. Descend along the recpath to Frisco and continue on it until reaching Breckenridge. (The road continues on to Peak 10 and the left fork of the trail follows challenging terrain for several miles to the Spruce Creek and McCullough Gulch drainages.)

Contour across the tundra, being careful to stay on the trail to avoid damaging the fragile vegetation. Expect to walk where the trail switchbacks steeply up to Wheeler Pass. The trail descends quickly toward Copper Mountain. Radical dropoffs and stream crossings necessitate the need for caution on this challenging but rideable descent. Also, anticipate uphill traffic and control your speed around blind corners. Pass Miner’s Creek Trail and descend to Ten Mile Creek and a bridge at about 9.5 miles. Turn right and follow a dirt road to the paved recpath. Descend along the recpath to Frisco and continue on it until reaching Breckenridge.

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