Wheeler Lakes Trail
Wheeler Lakes Trail is in the southern Gore Range, part of the Rocky Mountains in the U.S. state of Colorado. It is located in the Eagles Nest Wilderness, Dillon Ranger District, White River National Forest, Summit County. Wheeler Lakes Trail is north of Interstate 70, at the junction of Highway 91, near Copper Mountain.
Wheeler Lakes Trail lies west of the scenic turn-out a half-mile before the freeway exit for Copper Mountain. The trailhead also serves as the southern beginning of the forty-five mile Gore Range Trail. The trail is a little more than two miles in length. Wheeler Lakes Trail turns up a steep ravine, ascending from 9,700 feet to 10,200 feet at the Eagles Nest Wilderness boundary. Two miles from the trailhead, the Gore Range Trail breaks to the left and the Wheeler Lakes Trail continues along a short northeast spur. A short distance beyond, at 11,090 feet, is the shoreline of Wheeler Lakes. Wheeler Lakes are named in honor of Judge Wheeler who founded the first community at the base of Copper Mountain from his ranchlands at Wheeler Flats.
Wildflowers along the trail include paintbrush (Castilleja), Parry clover (Trifolium parryi), elephant tusk (Pedicularis groenlandica), monkshood (Aconitum columbianum), and Parry lousewort (Pedicularis parryi). In the tundra above Wheeler Lakes, sky pilot (Polemonium viscosum), alpine Smelowskia (Smelowskia calycina), spotted saxifrage (Saxifraga bronchialis), moss campion (Silene acaulis), and alpine forget-me-not (Myosotis alpestris)cover the slopes.