Taos Ski Valley - More Than a Ski Town

The Village of Taos Ski Valley is more than a ski town, tucked away in a valley surrounded by high alpine peaks, mountain adventure awaits!  What began as a rugged mining camp in the 1890’s is now an access point for more than 65,000 acres of public lands within the Carson National Forest, including two designated and protected Wilderness areas.  Dozens of hiking trails lead to pristine mountain valleys and meadows, high elevation peaks and ridges, and glacial lakes that inspire anyone’s passion for the outdoors. One of New Mexico’s most visited, and scenic trails begins by the equally popular Bavarian Restaurant ~ the Williams Lake trail.  This 2 mile long path leads to it’s namesake lake beneath the western slopes of our state’s highest mountain ~ 13,161’ Wheeler Peak.  Everyone who’s hiked this trail knows why it’s such an attractive route any time of year ~ the views of the mountains in every direction are amazing!  During Summer this is one of the easier hikes in the area, most people can get to the lake and back in a few hours, there are some nice sites to set up a tent if you want to spend more time in nature or climb Wheeler Peak.  During Winter it’s a great staging area for experienced backcountry skiers and climbers en-route to the higher alpine terrain. Whatever your wilderness adventure desires are, this is a great route to consider.

For those seeking solitude of a more remote nature, the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness has an extensive network of trails ascending the long, pristine canyons north of Highway 150.  Yerba, Manzanita, Italianos and Gavilan Canyons all lead several miles into the mountains on maintained yet rugged trails.  As the snow begins melting during May and into June wildflowers begin popping up, streams flow down the canyons alongside the trails. The further up you get you may not see many other p eople butthere is always the chance to see wildlife.  With a sturdy pair of hiking boots and a bit of route-finding skills there are some hidden wonders to see along these trails, such as the seasonal Gavilan Falls.  Look for the trailhead access points along the highway, or check in at one of our many lodges such as the Columbine Inn or Austing Haus near the Gavilan trailhead in Amizette.

During Winter after a fresh snowfall, the Bull of the Woods trail provides an excellent tour to the top of a mountain, gracing the open sky just above tree line.  This intermediate trail is perfect for snowshoeing and randonee skiing, with amazing views of Taos Ski Valley’s frontside slopes and the Rio Hondo Canyon along the upper half of the route.  To fuel up for your adventure, enjoy a delicious New Mexican style breakfast at the Stray Dog Cantina (locals say the green and red chile-smothered burritos are amazing!), then begin your tour at the trailhead by Twining Road in the upper parking lot.

These are just a few of the beautiful areas to be found on your public lands within and around Taos Ski Valley, there is a lot more to discover whether you live in the area or are visiting.  If you want to learn more swing by our visitor’s center or check out the Hiking Report-  Happy trails!