Author and Slide Show: Francesco Grilli
Participants: Tianshu Li,
Geologic Area Access Information: click
Friday we left Los Alamos at 8 am heading to Colorado and to the
trailhead of the Wheeler Geologic Area, situated near the town of
origins of the Wheeler Geologic Area are to be traced back to 30
million years ago and to the volcanic explosion of the
La Garita Caldera. The subsequent erosion created an amazing
series of pinnacles and spires, which make this place look like as a
landscape of a fantasy novel.
only are the rock formations spectacular, but also the trail to
access the boundary of the Wilderness is very scenic, crossing very
large meadows, forest and small canyons. The Wilderness can be
reached also by a 4WD road (14 miles long), but apparently it is
pretty rough and it takes almost the same time as hiking the access
trail (which is 7 miles long and fortunately shares with the road
only the last mile).
started hiking at 12:50 pm and it took us about 3 hours to get to
the Wilderness Area. We set camp immediately after the fence, just
before a thunderstorm hit the area. After the rain was over, the sky
turned blue again: we cooked dinner and we went out for the loop
trail of the Wheeler Geologic Area.
hiked up 0.4 miles until meeting the two branches of the loop, and
we took the left one. The left branch offers probably the best
views, whereas from the right branch one can get closer to some of
the rock formations. The length of the loop is 2.8 miles. From the
point joining the two branches it is possible to continue up to
Halfmoon Pass and to numerous trails. We completed our hike just
night was unexpectedly frosty.
next day we started early to enjoy the view of the rocks with the
morning light. We did the loop again in the opposite direction and
we came back to camp for breakfast. Then we packed our stuff and
went back to the trailhead, with a lunch break near the crossing of
the East Bellows Creek.
then drove to Pagosa Springs and soaked in the springs, had a
good dinner at the Ole's Miner Steakhouse (good steaks, slow
service) and spent the night in town. On Sunday morning we drove
back to Los Alamos.
for campers: just after the fence of the Wilderness there is a small
creek with several camping spots nearby. Some camping spots with
better views of the rocks are available along the left branch, but
there is no water available.