Williams Lake to Wheeler Peak:
Easy Hikes in Taos or Challenge Yourself on New Mexico's Highest Peak

Taos Hiking Trail Maps and Trail Condition Updates

LATE JUNE 2021


Hiking Updates:
We have variable early Summer conditions. You will find some snow lingering in the trees on higher elevation north facing aspects.

Williams Lake Trail is currently a mix of dry, muddy, with a few patches of snow on the trail. Sturdy boots are always recommended. Follow the blue paint blazes on trees and use a gps app such as Hiking Project to stay on track, as several side trails may lead to other areas.

The trails along NM-150 are largely clear of snow now. An early start is recommended if you plan to travel above treeline or summit any of the high alpine peaks such as Wheeler, Lobo, Gavilan or Gold Hill, expect to encounter patchy snow lingering in the trees, but near and above treeline will be dry. Bring plenty of food and drinking water - any water from the streams or melted snow should be boiled and/or filtered before drinking. 

All the trails are open and dispersed camping (no fires allowed - Stage 1 fire restrictions) in the wilderness is allowed. As of June 17 we are currently in Stage 1 Fire Restrictions. To learn more about these restrictions, visit the Carson National Forest website.


Williams Lake Trail
Discover Williams Lake in all its glory! This popular intermediate-level, four-mile round trip hike from The Bavarian follows a beautiful valley forested with Engelmann and blue spruce, western white fir, and rarely seen red fir and bristlecone pines can be found in the higher elevations.
This is the most popular trail in our valley, expect to encounter other trail users.

Wheeler Peak
Conquer New Mexico's highest peak ~ this 13,161-foot summit can be accessed by either the Bull of the Woods (Wheeler Peak Trail #90) or Williams Lake trails. Get an early start for this expert level tour. Dispersed camping is allowed, please stay at least 300 feet away from streams and lakes. Keep your eyes peeled for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mule deer and elk, and smaller forest critters like pine marten and ermin. 

From the Bull of the Woods trailhead by the Twining Campground (at the top of the main parking lot in the village) it's an 8 mile hike through a steep canyon, across an old mining road on Bull of the Woods Mountain's north slopes, then the route climbs above treeline and past the 12,163-foot Frazer Mountain summit. This route is popular among seasoned alpinists and peak-baggers. You'll encounter some snow you may need to skirt as you approach Frazer's north ridge. It can get quite windy above treeline, pack extra layers and bring your sense of adventure! Avoid walking onto any snow cornices overhanging off the ridges.

The Wheeler Peak Summit Trail #67 begins along the Williams Lake Trail at the saddle just above the lake. The route climbs through old growth conifer forests, crosses several steep avalanche chutes then ascends above treeline onto a wide open glacial moraine at 12,000'. The trail makes some switchbacks up the steep western slope towards the ridge between Mount Walter and Wheeler, traversing scattered rock fields across open slopes. On a clear day you'll be treated to incredible 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains, the Rio Grande Rift Valley and distant mountain ranges such as the San Juans in Colorado.

Columbine-Hondo Wilderness
The trails within the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness offer excellent potential for day hikes, overnight or multi-day backpacking adventures in this beautiful wilderness! These trails include the Yerba, Manzanita, Italianos and Gavilan Canyon trails accessed from Highway 150, and the Long Canyon and Gold Hill/Goose Lake trails accessed from Bull of the Woods/Wheeler Peak Trail #90. You'll find everything from low-angle narrow singletrack trail, steep-walled traverses, open snow-filled meadows, and high ridges with amazing views of the surrounding mountains and the Rio Grande rift valley. 

Weather Coming In
When you're planning a trip or hike check the National Weather Service forecast for Taos Ski Valley for an idea of what to expect.

Precautions:

Waterproof boots and hiking poles are recommended for these high elevation hikes. Bring extra layers to accommodate fluxuating daytime temps and wind. Be prepared for changing weather, and always carry extra water. Beware of lightning during storms and stay off the ridges if you hear thunder. Depart for hikes early in the morning to return before dark. During the Spring and early Summer avalanche conditions may exist on certain aspects, be aware of the terrain you're hiking in and assess conditions continuously as you travel.

HikingProject.com - GPS Coordinates, descriptions, photos and other info for all Taos Ski Valley Hiking Trails

Carson National Forest - Taos Ski Valley Hiking Trails (Questa Ranger District)

Carson National Forest Dog Policy
 

Name of Trail Print Map
Distance
one way
Hiking Trail Horse Trail Cross Country Ski Trail Snowshoeing
Wilderness Area
Degree of Difficulty
Gavilan Trail 60
Map
3.3miles X
X
 
X
X Intermediate/Expert
Gold HIll 64
Map
3.7miles X
X
 
X
X Moderate/Difficult
Italianos Canyon Trail 59
Map
3.6 miles  X X   X X Intermediate
Lobo Peak 57
Map
10.7 miles X     X X Difficult
Long Canyon 63 
Map
3.6 miles X X X X X Expert
Manzanita Canyon Trail 58
Map
4.2 miles X X   X x Expert
Wheeler Peak Summit 67
Map
2.2 miles X       X Expert
Bull Of The Woods/Wheeler Peak Trail 90
Map
8 miles X X X X X Expert
Williams Lake Trail 62
Map
2 miles X X X X X Novice/Intermediate
Yerba Canyon Trail
Map
4 miles X     x X Expert

Hiking

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