Colorado’s First National Monument is a True Hidden Gem

Wheeler Geologic Area - OutThere Colorado

Though it’s often overlooked when it comes to Colorado attractions, the Wheeler Geologic Area (just 10 miles outside of Creede) is one of the most peculiar destinations in the state. With formations that are one-of-a-kind, the site is actually made up of heavily eroded layers of volcanic ash.

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Wheeler Geologic Area - @carajean23 (Instagram) - OutThere Colorado
Wheeler Geologic Area. Photo Credit: @carajean23 (Instagram).

Wheeler Geologic Area was Colorado’s first national monument, claiming the title from 1908 to 1950.

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Wheeler Geologic Area - @turkeyferrari (Instagram) - OutThere Colorado
Wheeler Geologic Area. Photo Credit: @turkeyferrari (Instagram).

Wheeler Geologic Area has since become part of Colorado’s protected La Garita Wilderness Area.

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Wheeler Geologic Area - @yael.photography.1 (Instagram) - OutThere Colorado
Wheeler Geologic Area. Photo Credit: @yael.photography.1 (Instagram).

Named after U.S. Army Surveyor Captain George M. Wheeler, the site is accessible via a seven-mile hike up East Bellows Trail or a pretty intense 14-mile four-wheel drive road.

Wheeler Geologic Area - @harambejk (Instagram) - OutThere Colorado
Wheeler Geologic Area. Photo Credit: @harambejk (Instagram).

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