Trail Update: Hiking in Taos Ski Valley

06/19/2017: Williams Lake trail still has snowpack within the Wilderness Area.  Portions of the trail is beneath 2-4 feet of snow, with intermittent sections where the snow has melted and there is a lot of mud and water running on the trail.  Before 10am the snow is solid enough to walk on, after that expect to posthole.  There is a large tree down across the trail a short ways north of the Wilderness Boundary sign which requires navigating around one side or the other. 

Above Williams Lake, most southerly aspects have melted down to rocks and ground, shadier and cooler north aspects are still holding a respectable snowpack.  Hikers have reported rocks falling in the southern-most avalanche path on Kachina's east side.  Cornice and rock falls will be an inherent concern on these higher elevation, leeward slopes for a while, avalanche danger along the trail is minimal to none as most of the snow in the west-facing slide paths has melted, only a few patches are lingering on that side.

Approaching Wheeler from Bull of the Woods you will encounter snow shortly after Bull of the Woods Meadow near 11,400 feet.  Snow pack ranges from 3-4 feet deep on north facing slopes, particularly on the south end of La Cal Basin.

Lower elevation hikes including Yerba Canyon, Lobo Peak, Manzanita, Italianos, Gavilan and Long Canyon: Water is flowing high right now. Be mindful of water crossings and swift flowing streams. Wear waterproof shoes, bring poles and expect to get your feet wet. 

We welcome your Williams Lake and Wheeler Peak trail conditions update as the snow is still sticking up high and temperatures are cooler.
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Williams Lake

Discover Williams Lake in all its glory in the summertime, an intermediate-level, four-mile round trip hike from The Bavarian. The valley is forested with aspen, Englemann and blue spruce, western white fir, and rarely seen red fir and bristlecone pine. Lush meadows are colored with countlesss varieties of wildflowers and plants.

Wheeler Peak

Conquer New Mexico's highest peak. This 13,161-foot summit can be accessed by either Bull of the Woods Trail or Williams Lake Trail. Get a very early start for this expert level hike. Backcountry camping is allowed without a permit. Keep your eyes peeled for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, elk and mule deer.


Waterproof boots and hiking poles are recommended for these high elevation hikes, with many trails still holding snow into early summer. Temperatures can vary greatly. Be prepared for cool weather and rain, and always carry extra water. Beware of lightning and stay off the ridges if thunderclouds are overhead. Depart for hikes early in the morning to avoid afternoon lightning and showers.

Carson National Forest - Taos Ski Valley Hiking Trails

Name of Trail
one way
Hiking Trail Horse Trail Cross Country Ski Trail Snowshoeing
Wilderness Area
Degree of Difficulty
Gavilan Trail 3.3miles X
X Intermediate/Expert
Italianos Canyon Trail 59 3.6 miles  X X   X X Intermediate
Long Canyon/Bull-Of-The-Woods 3.6 miles X X X X X Expert
Manzanita Canyon Trail 58 4.2 miles X X   X x Expert
Wheeler Peak Trail 90 8 miles X X X X X Expert
Williams Lake Trail 62 2 miles X X X X X Novice/Intermediate
Yerba Canyon Trail 61 3.9 miles X       X Expert

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