Wheeler Geologic Area Colorado’s First National Monument
A little-known fact is that Wheeler Geologic Area was Colorado's first national monument.The Colorado National Monument was established in 1911, but three years earlier in 1908, the Wheeler Geologic Area was designated a national monument, and held the designation until 1950. It is now a part of the La Garita Wilderness and managed by the Rio Grande National Forest.
A lot of people don't even know about Wheeler Geologic Area, and a lot of people have not seen it because it is accessible only via a 7-mile hike, or a difficult 14-mile four-wheel road. The road is so bad ATV travel is recommended.
It once claimed to be Colorado's most visited site - and is certainly one of the state's most unusual rock formations. The volcanic formations are located in the southeast corner of the wilderness, about 10 miles from the town of Creede in southwest Colorado.
The area is open year-round but accessibility is extremely difficult November through May. There are a number of access trails available to reach Wheeler, many of which are used by horseback riders. If you are looking for a new summer adventure, this might be it!