East Bellows Trailhead # 790

Rio Grande National Forest, Near Creede, Colorado

East Bellows Trailhead # 790 does not offer reservations through Recreation.gov. Please take a look at the area details below for more information about visiting this location. Enjoy your visit!


This trail provides good hiking and horseback  access to Wheeler Geologic Area, Halfmoon Pass and the La Garita Wilderness.  Beautiful views and unique geologic features are the main attractions of this trail.  Decent camping areas are not hard to find.  Opportunities for fishing exist in East Bellows Creek.  This trail allows for a good overnight backpack visit to Wheeler Geologic Area.  Camping is allowed only in designated sites.  No campfires are allowed within the Wheeler Geologic Area. 

After arriving at Hanson’s Mill, those planning to hike to Wheeler Geologic Area should follow the trail delineated with the trailhead sign and registration box.  This trail is closed to all motorized use and closed to mountain bike use after crossing East Bellows Creek as it then passes through the La Garita Wilderness.

Within about three miles from Hansons Mill the trail will cross East Bellows Creek.  The old sheep bridge is no longer usable, so hikers may get their feet wet.  Crossings in the early summer can be dangerous.  After the creek crossing, the trail will head up the west fork of East Bellows Creek, Canon Nieve.

The trail joins the 4WD road about 1.5 miles before the geologic formations.  At this junction go left (west) and follow the road to its end at a pole fence in a small meadow below Wheeler Geologic Area.  The unique, picturesque features of the geologic area are about 0.25 to 0.5 mile north from the end of the road.  The foot trail to Wheeler will quickly meet the West Bellows Creek trail.

The trail into Wheeler from the end of the 4WD road is well marked.  It is an easy to follow trail but difficult in elevation gain that will take you on a loop trail around the formations. 

This trailhead consists of a parking lot, restroom, signing, picnic tables.  Overnight camping is allowed at this trailhead.  This is an ideal campsite if you have horses.  There is lots of room for trailers and nearby grazing.  No corrals but horses could be picketed out or put into portable panels or electric fences in nearby meadows.