|USGS 7.5' Map:||Wagon Wheel Gap, Pool Table Mountain, Halfmoon Pass|
|Managed by:||Rio Grande National Forest
Divide Ranger District
|13308 West Hwy 160
Del Norte, CO 81132
|Summary:||The Pool Table road is a long dirt road to the Wheeler Geologic Area, Colorado's first National Monument.|
|Attractions:||Wheeler Geologic Area|
|Agency - March 15 to May 15|
June - Upper section may still be snowed in
July - Best
August - Best
September - Best
October - Watch for early snows
|East Bellows FT790 - Hike and Horse only|
|Camping:||There are dispersed sites at the Wheeler Geologic Area trail head.|
|Base Camp:||The Hansen Mill campground would be a good place to explore the area including the 4WD roads to the south toward South Fork.|
|Fall Colors:||Poor - The upper section is in pine forest.|
|Navigation:||From South Fork, CO. head north on CO-149 for 13.9 miles. Turn right onto Pool Table Road, FR600.
From Creede CO. head east on E 7th Street toward La Garita Street for 269 ft. Turn right at the 1st cross street onto CO-149 South and continue to follow CO-149 S for 7.3 miles. Turn left onto Pool Table Road, FR600.
|History:||The Wheeler Geologic Area started 30 million years ago. The volcanic tuff that gives the Wheeler Geologic Area its unique spires was blown into the atmosphere by the explosion of the La Garita Caldera, near Creede. Because this tuff did not compact it has eroded into the spires and rounded canyon walls of the geologic area.
Wheeler Geologic Area was named in honor of Capt. George Wheeler, and was granted National Monument status in 1908. This became Colorado's first National Monument. Because of the geologic areas remote location and difficulty to get to it, the monument was transferred to the Forest Service in 1950. The roads quickly fell into disuse and disrepair without the monument funding. The Forest Service renamed the area Wheeler Geologic Area and incorporated it into the La Garita Wilderness when it was designated, leaving the old road as a cherry stem into the Wilderness.
|The Pool Table road starts off of Hwy149 as a two lane graded gravel road. It runs for about 7 miles this where where it comes to the Hansen Mill site and campground.
From here the road becomes a two track as it heads around Pool Table Mountain through the pine forest. There are few views on this section of the road.
At about 11 miles the road will come around Pool Table Mountain into an open valley. The road will run along the south side for about a mile before dropping down to cross the creek and climb up to the other side.
Here there is an intersection. The right is a short spur road, FR600.3A, off of the Pool Table road that is a rough climb up a rock strewn hill. It climbs above timberline and crosses a brushy hill side before dropping down to connect with Dyers Park, FR630.
The left will continue to the Wheeler Geologic Area. The road will get rougher as crosses on the north side of the valley heading back west. It will follow along the base of some high mesas dropping down into shallow creek crossings. As you head west the road will start to have more mud holes, some of them getting deeper.
After 19 miles you will drop down a hill to cross one of the creeks and on the other side will be the La Garita Wilderness boundary signs. You are now driving a cherry stem road with Wilderness on both sides. The mud holes will get longer as the road continues. You will come to a narrow long meadow with the road following the trees around and down a short wide valley. The mud holes from here on down to the Wheeler Geologic Area are the worst so take your time to navigate them. Once the road cuts back into the trees you will come to the parking lot, trail head, and dispersed camp area.
Watch your time exploring the formations in the geologic area as it will take just as long to drive back out to the highway as it took to drive in.
|Data updated - November 25, 2015 4WD Road driven - July 22, 2015 Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2015|