Wheeler Peak via Williams Lake Trail is a 6.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Taos Ski Valley, NM that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from June until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
New Mexico highpoint Wheeler Peak is a 15 mile out and back trail located near Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico and is only recommended for very experienced outdoorsmen. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from June until October. Ran into 14 -24" snow drifts on North slope areas on June 08 trip.
I'm an active 72 and a moderately active peak bagger from Florida Got on the trail at 8 and off at 4. As a state high point this was well worth the effort. The worst part was walking out of the parking lot at 10,00 ' and 28 degrees, breathing hard at the first minor uphill. Surprisingly it never got much worse. I was breathing hard the whole way but I was able to make my slow steady pace up to the top in about 3 1/2 hours. I stopped to talk to everyone I met on the trail, and found 4 geocaches which required a .8 mile side trip around Willams lake. It's a tough hike but if you allow enough time it's doable even for a flat lander. Those views above tree line and the summit are killer.
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 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.
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!
Absolutely great! Did with my older kids 16-19 and was an outstanding adventure. Started out at 8:30am and and ate early lunch at the summit after smelling the Flowers at Williams lake. 5 hours with the stops and 4 if fit and focused. Enjoy!!
The last 1- 2 miles were hard, especially hiking through the rock fields, but it was worth it. Beautiful trail with beautiful views. We got caught in a hail storm on the way down. I would highly recommend starting early to avoid afternoon showers and storms.
Pretty hard but worth every bit. Awesome views!!
once in a lifetime view
fun over night hike. we hiked from the Taos ski hill to William's lake and camped. woke up early and hiked to the top of wheeler peak and out. It was a great time to go in mid July.
Still snowy in some parts
Snow packed. But still nice 5-31-16
Incredible! We did a 3 day backpacking trip to summit Wheeler Peak using the Bull Of The Woods trail. Be sure to spend a night in the trees in the La Cal Basin area. There are some great camping spots and has two running streets to load up on water. It also offers plenty of shelter from wind and rain, which it will most likely do. Wheeler peak was fairly crowded but it's a large enough area we ended up taking a little nap. Awesome trip. Highly recommend it. There are several other trails to try as well.
This might be my favorite hike in NM. Great views from top to bottom. When you get above the tree line, it starts to get a Scottish mountain look, and really shows you just how diverse New Mexico is. Doing the loop (Bull of the woods trail-90 up, Williams lake trail-62/67 down) is definitely the best way to go, but be aware that it's another two miles of road hiking from trail head to trail head to complete the loop. The Williams Lake Trail is pretty rocky, so hiking shoes/boots will be of great benefit. Keep track of the weather leading up to your hike, and be sure to pack a jacket. The wind can be pretty fierce toward the summit, and there's always a possibility of afternoon thunderstorms.
Last year I only made it to the lake, my partner made it to the top.
This year fingers crossed