Left on 10/15/16 to summit wheeler peak. Camped right at the trailhead of bull of the trail, which is a great loop if it's not extremely windy at high elevation. Due to 60mph winds at the peak we decided to hike Williams lake trail (#62) to wheeler peak (#67). If you have not hiked in the area Williams lake trail is for the whole family (including young kiddos), only two miles to the lake and worth the quick hike. Wheeler peak is a difficult but obtainable hike. Just be ready to hike for two hours. Plenty of places to stop and rest. This hike is a must do and on a clear day can provide you the most incredible views. Great backcountry hiking up there too!
Went by myself, in late September, 2016. I saw several others making the climb along the way. Left the trailhead, near the Bavarian Restaurant, at around 10:00am. Arrived back at around 2:30pm. It's a beautiful hike, but not easy. Several fairly steep sections, especially after you make the turn off the Williams Lake Trail, up to the summit of Wheeler. The last bit is pretty tough. Steep, with loose rock/scree, thin-ish atmosphere. Don't give up.... You're almost there....Pause and rest as you need to......You'll make it! It's well worth it!
Beautiful hike. According to my tracking it turned out to be around 13 miles. The hike is pretty difficult and is pretty much uphill the entire way. The sign at the top that is supposed to lead you to the lake has vandalized arrows pointing both ways to Trampas lake. My intuition told me to go left and I was right. We even saw a baby bear on the hike down.
I'm not sure if I was at the right trail... we drove up and found the sign that read OSHA Canyon Trail but after we parked we didn't realize that the trail was on the other side of the river and there was no bridge to cross. After we passed the river and got passed the mud hole the rest of the trail was great. The first major incline was a little rocky but smooth from there on. I would definitely go back but I wouldn't consider it easy, especially if you have children or elders with you.
Beautiful hike with a bit of everything- views, wildlife (deer, blue grouse, pika, marmots, ravens), lake (Williams, worth the extra few minutes hike) wildflowers, forest, above tree line, scree, wifi on top. And of course the lightness of being at that altitude (13162) is a pleasure if you can handle it. Some hikers had a rough time.
I hiked barefoot from Bavarian hiker parking lot to top. No problem. Wore sneakers on way down. Very uncomfortable! Good hiking shoes a must.
The trail is well marked and maintained. There is a small stretch in the scree near the top where one could easily get off the trail in inclement weather! Plan on spending time at the top, it is truly beautiful.
A great way to end the day: stop at "The Waters" in Ojo Caliente. It's only an extra 10 miles if you are heading for Espanola, you cross the "Bridge" and avoid the Taos traffic and there are some wonderful views. And your body will thank you.
Can't wait to do this hike again.
The trail starts from the road and begins climbing steeply right away. I did this trail as a loop. I turned right at the signpost giving me the option of left or right, about a half mile up the trail. I stopped periodically to catch my breath and take some photos. There are several false peaks before you get to the top where you'll find the stone thrones. You have to walk away from there to see the view. I continued on the path in front of the "chairs" to make the loop. I expected it to be all downhill from there and planned to run it. I was wrong! You have to do quite a bit of climbing up and down canyons to get back down that way. I did this hike on September 11 and only ran into 6 other hikers and one cyclist - a couple of locals and a couple of visitors like me. Total hiking time was 2 hours, 10 minutes not counting stops to chat and take photos.
Terrific day hike. Strenuous but not difficult. Nice views once you're above the tree line, especially at Wheeler Peak.
Camped at the trailhead. Hit the trail at sunrise (6:30), reached Wheeler Peak at 11:00 and was back at the trailhead by 2:30. Glad I got an early start. Clouded up at noon and a light rain began around 1:00. But there was also lightning in the area and above the tree line there's no place to shelter. I'm a low-lander (Dallas), but in reasonably good shape (56; bike 40 miles a week). The altitude caught up with me; had to greatly slow my pace and take deeper breaths for the last 2-or-so miles up. Did not see another soul on the trail. Scads of marmots near the peak, including one perched on the top of the rock pile marking Wheeler Peak! (Photo.) No snow or ice on the trail (8/31/16).
We summited Wheeler on July 6 2016, taking the Bull of the Woods trail from the trail head near all the large condo construction. Both of us guys are in reasonable shape for 68 year olds, and the hike up was no problem. Reached the summit in about 6 hours and it was crowded on this bluebird day. No snow on the trail either. Several hikers told us we could descend easily on the Williams lake trail, and since it was much shorter, we chose that descent, much to our regret. It is much steeper and much rougher and has loose rocks in many spots. We both believe we could have descended the way we came up in the same time it took us on the much shorter trail. Another reviewer mentions this additional huge problem: when you reach the road on the Williams trail and your car is at Bull of the Woods trail head, you are still MILES! from your car. We were told it was 4-5 miles, and it was 85 degrees and we were done, so we hitchhiked and the ride took about fifteen minutes. Still loved it for the experience and the awesome views!