COVID-19: At REI, we encourage you to get outside responsibly. Stay local, avoid recreational travel, practice social distancing and check ahead for area and facility closures. Learn More
Trail Run Project Logo

Wheeler Trail

Very Difficult


10.3 mile 16.5 kilometer point to point
76% Runnable
Very 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°)


Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Nick Wilder

Stunning alpine scenery on extremely steep singletrack.

Nick Wilder

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 run a fair bit of steep sections! 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. The final grunt is steep a staircase that will push both your legs and lungs. 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 enjoyable 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 will push your endurance. 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.

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Need to Know, Dogs Allowed, Features, Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes


Rate This Trail

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Trail

Check In


Sep 12, 2018
Jason White
ran portion of this as the "Copper to Breck" trail, taking peak 10 service road down from wheeler trail. Steep up on Copper side, looong down on road — 2h 44m

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 2 votes


in Blue River


  5.0 from 2 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Trail Rankings


in Blue River


in Colorado


7 Views Last Month
1,516 Since Aug 11, 2017
Very Difficult



Nice views at the Spruce Creek Trail/Wheeler Trail junction.
Dec 21, 2018 near Brecken…, CO


Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running