Trail Update: Hiking Report from Taos Ski Valley 

August 17th, 2018

Williams Lake Trail

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 countless varieties of wildflowers and plants. Hiking conditions are great, the trail is in excellent shape.  At the bottom of the trail follow the signs for the first 1/2 mile as the trail crosses where a new neighborhood will be built.  Once past there the trail re-enters the forest and crosses into the Wheeler Peak Wilderness, expect to encounter some wet places and mud as heavy monsoon rains this week soaked the area.  Another round of afternoon storms is expected today and continuing through the weekend.  Get an early start and watch the clouds after noon, listen for lightning and be prepared to descend.  If you're camping look for a spot on high ground where rainwater won't pool up.  August is the peak of wildflower season, many areas are full of flowers as the first Autumn colors are beginning to show.

Wheeler Peak Summit Trail

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, at least 300 feet away from streams and lakes.  Keep your eyes peeled for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mule deer and elk. Wildflowers are blooming! 

Columbine-Hondo Wilderness

Yerba, Manzanita, Italianos and Gavilan are all in great shape, wildflowers are blooming and the streams are flowing with fresh water after the recent rains!  The Bull of the Woods trail is hiking nicely and wildflowers are blooming all along the creek. Long Canyon and the Goose Lake trails are clear, get an early start if you plan to hike above treeline or summit Gold Hill.

Weather Coming In

Monsoon season continues through August and into September. As noon approaches watch the clouds and be prepared to descend if you see or hear lightning.  Evening and nighttime temps can become cool this time of year especially in the higher elevations after a rain shower.   The chance of storms increases this afternoon and continues through the weekend, get an early start on your hikes to make it down before the storms begin.  If you're camping prepare for colder temps at night, snow is possible in the highest elevations if a storm continues into the night.


Waterproof boots and hiking poles are recommended for these high elevation hikes, with many trails still holding snow up at higher elevation 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.

Maps are available at the Information Booth in the main hiker parking lot of Taos Ski Valley Resort. Open 9-5pm each day.

Carson National Forest - Taos Ski Valley Hiking Trails

Name of Trail Print Map
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 Summit 67
2.2 miles 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
4 miles X       X Expert


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