If you don't have a 4wd vehicle, park at the main trailhead and start walking up the Spruce Creek road. After only 0.1 mile, turn right onto the Crystal Creek road and walk 1.3 miles to reach a junction with the Wheeler trail, near 11,400'.
If you have 4wd and want to park higher, drive approx. 1.1 miles up the Spruce Creek road to reach a junction with the "Aqueduct" road. Turn right and park at the gate near on the south end of the Aqueduct road (11,000') - 1
. Coordinates for this location are 39.42953 North, -106.06895 West. Pass the gate and walk 50 yards to find the Wheeler trail leading off the road to the left - 2
. Take the Wheeler trail north into the forest and continue for 0.7 mile to intersect the Crystal Creek road, near 11,400' - 3
If you can't find the Wheeler Trail entrance on the Aqueduct road, walk north up the Aqueduct road for 0.7 mile, turn left on the Crystal Creek road and continue to the trail/road junction at 11,400'.
Follow the Crystal Creek 4wd road west ( 4
) for nearly 1 mile to reach Lower Crystal Creek Lake at 12,000' where you'll get an excellent view of the remaining route - 5
. Continue south on the road for another 0.25 mile, leave the road ( 7
), and hike directly over to the base of the east ridge - 8
Hike 400' up the ridge ( 9
) to reach a flat spot with an excellent view of the remaining route - 10
. While some easy Class 3 terrain is ahead, most of the remaining ridge is Class 2. Continue to a notch and ascend a steep section ( 12
) to reach some light-colored rocks, near 13,000' - 13
. Continue along the ridge crest ( 14
) to reach the top of the east ridge - 17
. Turn left and continue to the summit - 19