Scenic views of the Rio Grande River Valley are visible for the first few miles of the trip. Road climbs through spruce/fir and aspen timber to beautiful rolling, grassy, subalpine parks. Bristlecone Pines (oldest living things on earth) are found adjacent to the road, beginning about 2 1/2 to 3 miles up. The needles are in clusters of five, and about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. The cones have long, slender, sharp bristles on the tips of the scales, which give the tree its name.
Copyright: D. Steinke
Wheeler Geologic Area
This 9.4 mile scenic and relatively remote road is suitable for passenger car travel. The graveled road begins on the north side of Colorado Highway 194, approximately 7.3 miles southeast of Creede, and leads to Hanson's Sawmill Site. All that is left of "Hanson's Mill" is a large pile of sawdust on the left side of the road.
The area adjacent to the sawmill site is flat and suitable for undeveloped camping and picnicking. The only facility provided here is a pit toilet.
The four-wheel drive portion of the Pool Table Road #600 continues straight ahead (east/north) to Wheeler Geologic Area. (This is a very rough 14-mile jeep road.) East Bellows Creek Trail #790 (foot, horse, and motorcycle travel only) forks off to the left about 0.4 mile up the four-wheel drive road from Hanson's Mill. This trail is approximately 7.0 miles into Wheeler Geologic Area. Alder Creek Trail #798 heads east from Hanson's Mill, and follows West Alder Creek southeast.
The graveled portion of Pool Table Road #600 can be hazardous due to dust, loose gravel, and heavy traffic from logging trucks and firewood gatherers. In September, you may encounter people "viewing the fall colors;" and in October, you may encounter hunters "road hunting." People not accustomed to driving narrow mountain roads will often be on your half of the road, so drive slowly and cautiously and as far to the right or the road as possible, especially around curves.
In the winter this groomed snowmobile trail into Wheeler Geologic area is approximately 24 miles long. This trail is groomed and maintained for your free use and enjoyment by the Snow Country Explorers of the Upper Rio Grande Snowmobile Club of Creede. Trail travels on Wheeler Geologic Road # 600 and Pool Table Road # 600.
Although several excellent possibilities exist for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in the Wheeler/Wason area, few people take advantage of the opportunities. The foot and horse trails in this area offer only limited skiing opportunities for those who may desire to take a look at this winter wonderland. The Pool Table Road #600 offers the best opportunity for ski-touring.
Snowmobilers pack a trail in on this road. If the road is not drivable from Colorado Highway 149, you have a long uphill climb for at least 3 miles before reaching Mill Park and Blue Park. If you can drive to either the Mill Park, Blue Park, or Long Park area, you will find an oasis of areas to ski tour in. Large open, tree line parks offer plenty of area to tour.
Only those with cross-country skiing experience and those willing and capable of spending several nights in snow caves should attempt skiing to the Wheeler Geologic Area or Wason Park. Excellent skiing opportunities exist in these areas but access is difficult. Only on rare occasions, with excellent snow conditions, do snowmobilers even attempt traveling into Wheeler Geologic Area.
Directions from Creede, Colorado: Travel 7.3 miles southeast on Colorado Highway 149 to the intersection of the Highway with the Pool Table Road #600. Turn left (north) at the intersection.
Early Mid-May through Late October .