Located in Pike National Forest, Wheeler Lake is a remote, alpine lake found in the Mosquito Range of the Rocky Mountains. Wheeler Lake is west of State Highway 9, about halfway between Alma and Breckenridge on the edge of Park County, Colorado.
Although they share the same name, Wheeler Lake is not a part of the Wheeler Lakes that are located north of Copper Mountain in Summit County.
Fishing: Visitors aged 16 years and older are permitted to fish in Wheeler Lake and its surrounding waters with a valid state fishing license. Anglers will have their shot at native brook trout within the generally uncrowded and serene wilderness.
Hiking and Mountain Biking: The trail to Wheeler Lake features seasonal wildflowers, sweeping mountain views, waterfalls, and mining relics from the Montgomery ghost town. There is very little shade on the trail itself, but there is plenty of access to the Middle Fork of the South Platte River along the way where more tree coverage is present.
Wildlife & Birding: Few birds will travel all the way to Wheeler Lake, but visitors have the opportunity to see a few species of high elevation Rocky Mountain wildlife around the water. Although deterred by traffic from ATVs and OHVs, it is not uncommon to see mountain goats, marmots, pikas, and other animals in the area. For this reason, dogs are required to stay on a leash.
There are even more activities in the surrounding Pike National Forest.
The most popular way to reach Wheeler Lake is on foot, via a 7-mile round trip hike from the trailhead located near the Montgomery Reservoir. Gaining roughly 1,300 feet in elevation, the wide trail is rocky but well maintained. The route to Wheeler Lake is also open to mountain bikes, snowshoes, jeeps, and other OHV.
It is a difficult 4×4 trail, offering challenging terrain for experienced drivers. Wheeler Lake cannot be accessed by ordinary passenger vehicles.
Seen as a somewhat difficult ascent, the hike up to Wheeler Lake may be difficult for some visitors hoping to reach the shores at 12,194 feet in elevation above sea level. Access is open-year round, but visitors should be prepared to encounter snow blocking the end of the trail through the winter season.
Trailhead Address: Wheeler Lake Trailhead, Breckenridge, CO 80424
Season: Year-round | Off-road vehicle access June – October
Map: data.fs.usda.gov… (PDF)