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This hike was okay, but not as glorious as all the comments on this page make it seem. Expectation and reality was completely different. The hike up to the lake was definitely rocky like everyone said, and it was steep, but it was not easy as some of the ridiculous comments here say it is. We saw a lot of people suffering on this trail.

The lake was rather average once you get there. It's surrounded by endless boulders and green rocks and colorless mountain peaks without trees; however, depending on your experience this might be nice for some people.

The lake sits in a bowl surrounded by canyons that pick up a lot of wind that shoots across the lake, so be prepared for a windy reward at the top. It gets cold when you crest the top because of the wind, so be prepared to add layers of clothing. We were there mid-September.

If you've ever hiked in the Rocky Mountains, this trail and lake might disappoint you as it did with our party. Also, Taos Ski Valley was terribly boring. There is nothing to do in this little ski town. We planned on staying four days, but checked out of our room after only two days.

Well maintained trail

September 15th me and my hiking buddy submitted Wheeler peak we started at 6.30am and made it back to the car by 1.30pm. We stopped on the way up to check out Williams lake which was beautiful especially early in the morning near sunrise when no one else is around! It's an easy trail to follow just try not to take any short cuts because you will loose sight of the trail epically once you are out of the forest. When you approach the saddle at the top there are no signs but the peak is on your right. It does get a little chilly especially once your out of the forest so make sure you have a windproof jacket that's warm. The wind that day was CRAZY, it was almost blowing us over so we had to be extra careful when we approached the summit and the clouds where pretty low so we did have poor visibility at times but luckily it did begin to clear at the top and on the way back down. Even though I didn't bring walking poles with me I do suggest taking them if you have them as going down on the rocks can be a little challenging at times. If your not used to the altitude definitely make sure you take enough short breaks to catch your breath, drink and have snack so you don't burn out on your way back down!I All in all it is definitely one of my favorite hikes and I definitely recommend it, one day I will go back and do this trail again.

On September 10th, 2017 I climbed to Wheeler Peak via Williams Lake. There was rain the night before. I started from the parking area north of the Bavarian Restaurant. It had four clean outhouses, a bear proof trash and recycle bin (not overflowing), and a hand wash with soap. Pretty nice.
I normally try to maintain at least a 2 mile per hour pace but my hiking companion wasn’t up to it so I won’t talk about time. The trail starts along a service road that narrows to a footpath. At the Williams lake or Wheeler Peak split we continued on to Williams Lake just to see it. I was glad that I did because it is a nice mountain lake and it gave me prospective. As you get to higher elevations you will get a number of views of Williams Lake in the valley below from an increasingly greater distance.
We saw marmots, chipmunks, and a pair of large birds (I took a nice picture of one that I will post) along with several smaller ones. No deer, elk, or big horn sheep unfortunately.
The switchbacks have rockslide areas which are a bit more technical than La Luz. The rocks are not packed with dirt so they can move and roll under your feet. Also they became a bit slippery in the rain/hail that we encountered on the way back down. At one point on the switchbacks just before the ridge to the peak the trail was the steepest trail (not steps or rock climbing) that I have even been on. Coming down that part of the trail with a 30lbs pack, fatigued legs and a bit of hail was exhilarating.
I signed the logbook and enjoyed the view from the peak but it was midday and a bit hazy. It was my first time and I have talked about doing it for a while. I’m glad that I finally did.

Once you make it past the tree line, it is a rocky trail so make sure to have a hiking stick when you come down. Lots of marmots and pikas around. Saw some big horn sheep too. We started around 7:30am and we were back to the car by 2:30pm. It is very steep toward the top but worth the hike for sure. Take breaks if you need them and you will make it. Very pretty hike and made it to the top and avoided the monsoons. I would recommend going to Taos Ski Valley the night before to help with the elevation and then you can grab a beer and relax at a hotel with a hot tub.

hiking
12 days ago

The last mile is steep but completely doable. Not sure if visiting the lake on the way is really worth it but we did anyway.

hiking
13 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

Technically, the Lajunta Trail is 1.2 miles down to where the Red River meets the Rio Grande River and 1.2 mikes back up. You can go farther, to other trails if you like, but the hike back up is very steep and rated as difficult. After hiking down .8, you come to a fork. That is where you can choose one of the longer trails. All of this info is available in the flyer at the trailhead.

hiking
18 days ago

not very shaded. not a good trail for small dogs. more dead fallen trees than I prefer on a trail. not my fave in this area.

hiking
18 days ago

We loved this hike, including our 16 and 9 year old kids. The beginning is rocky, so hiking boots really help. It's well shaded, and the lake at the end makes it all worth it.