Wheeler Ten Mile Trail lies along the ridgeline of the magnificent Tenmile Range, Summit County and sits above the famous ski towns of Breckenridge, Frisco, and Copper. Thus, the trail is covered in deep snow during winter and is perfect for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. However, from May to October, it is a favorite spot of hikers, bikers, and equestrians for high-alpine, backcountry hiking experience.
In 1979, Wheeler Ten Mile Trail was officially designated as a National Recreation Trail. Though the trail’s name implies a 10 mile length, Wheeler Ten Mile National Recreation Trail is actually a 12.10 mile long paved rail trail with an average grade of 4%.
The trail begins at McCullough Gulch Road and heads up north. Unlike other trail beginnings, Wheeler Ten Mile National Recreation Trail starts by an excruciating climb for about half a mile. This grueling ascend will be concluded by a hike up a staircase. Now, look at the 14,265 feet Quandary Peak, the highest summit of the Tenmile Range that stands beautifully in view. Continue on a rewarding descent through a forest filled with sweet woodruff for over a mile until you come out at Miner’s Creek Trail. Here, the views will be filled with 13,000 feet mountains and the Beaver Ponds. Onwards, hike through a singletrack trail until Spruce Creek and continue on traversing beneath a treeline for a few more mile. Savor the time and get yourself acquainted with nature because ahead is a stiff 1,500 feet climb for slightly over a mile. It’s a long and difficult stretch but you will be passing over a beautiful ridge with magnificent 360 views of nature. After the climb, the trail will continue on flat but rather technical through a high alpine terrain. Look back for the breathtaking view of the Tenmile Range! Persist on one final climb and through a few switchbacks until you reach the trailend. Now, immerse yourself in the magnificent views of Front, Mosquito, Sawatch, and Gore Mountain Ranges, as well as Breckenridge and Copper Mountains. It may be a difficult and technical hike but it sure is rewarding!
Aside from the views, animals like black bears, moose, pikas, voles, deers, and many birds like ptarmigans also frequent Tenmile Range.
Wheeler Ten Mile NRT has no parking and entry fee. Before taking the hike, make yourself ready for the high altitude. Also, it is best to start your hike early as to not experience late afternoon thunderstorms that’s common in Colorado Rockies. Finally, your dogs are very much welcome on the trail.
1) Take Exit 195 from Interstate 70 and follow Highway 91 across I-70 overpass. Stay on Highway 91 through the intersection and turn left into the Alpine & Far East Lots. On the far end left side is the parking area for Wheeler NRT.
2) Take Exit 203 from Interstate 70 and follow Highway 9 toward Breckenridge and through Blue River. Turn right onto Blue Lakes Road (FDR 850) and right again onto McCullough Gulch Road (FDR 851). Up ahead is the trailhead.