Explore the most popular hiking trails in Carson National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

on Williams Lake Trail

hiking
14 hours ago

Hiked this am. If the altitude doesn’t get you the ice will! I’d bring yak tracks if you have them or be prepared for some slipping and sliding. Beautiful nonetheless. Port a potty and garbage cans in parking lot.

Beautiful

Hiked 10/16, snow on upper 1/3 of trail, so far not more that 1-3” so still easily passable. Trekking poles were helpful on some slippery bits and creek crossings

Did an overnight trip and camped at the lake. This was such a great experience and it was my first backpacking trip. I would recommend and will be back!

The trail isn't too bad, but it is a bit strenuous if you are not used to thin air. Being from south Texas, we hadn't fully acclimated when we did this hike up to the lake, but we overcame it anyway. On your drive to the trail head, you'll be going through the Taos Ski Valley, up some slightly winding roads until you arrive to the lodges. Once there, you'll go up some steep, possibly muddy roads to the actual trail head. Be advised, if muddy, you may need a 4x4 or a vehicle with enough power to make it up. There are some bathrooms at the parking area; they may not be the cleanest, but at least there's the option to use them. At the very bottom, you'll be walking through some construction before you get into the forested area. Admittedly, this kind of threw us off a bit, we thought we were in the wrong section for the trail. You'll see some signs guiding the way, so fear not. There are a few sections that get a bit tricky if the rocks are slippery, but a set of hiking poles or even a walking stick go a long way. There are some tiny paths off the main trail that are softer on the feet than walking on the rocky pathways, which we used and made the journey smoother. As someone mentioned, once you start seeing some trees marked with blue paint you're about 1/3 to 3/4 of the way there. Just a short walk around a curve, up a hill with what appeared to be a quarry on your right, and you're there! It is windy, so dress accordingly so you won't be too chilled. We sat on some boulders overlooking the lake and had lunch. A cute chipmunk came up and it ate some nuts with us before it scampered off. We would have stayed longer, but it was a bit too windy. One day we hope to return and camp overnight in the summer months.

No joke. Views are awesome!

Absolutely amazing. Well worth the hike

backpacking
16 days ago

Hiked to Wheeler Peak via Bull of the Woods Trail. I was at a concert in Taos until about 10:30 at night. I decided to start on the trail afterwards, and I started about 11:00 pm. It was pretty close to a full-moon, so the visibility was good for most of the trail, I didn't need a headlamp at any point. I did have my gps to keep me on the right path. I wouldn't recommend doing this as a night hike unless there is a full moon, or close to it. There were a few parts in the trees where I could see very little, but I stayed on the trail just by going slow and feeling my way along with my trekking poles. Once you get above treeline, the visibility is great. It's gorgeous seeing the lights of the ski resort, and the stars are fantastic. I got to Wheeler Peak at about 4 am and then set up my tent on a lower saddle so I could get a couple hours of sleep before sunrise. If you plan on camping above treeline, you have to have a good sleeping bag, and an awesome tent with guylines. It gets very windy. I made sure there was no chance of rain, and the skies were totally clear. I slept for a couple of hours and then hiked back up to the peak so I could watch sunrise on the peak. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever witnessed. I started hiking back down at about 9. I hadn't seen anybody at this point. I did pass quite a few people on the hike down, and I got to the trailhead at about 11:30 the next morning. Most of you will hike it in the day, which is probably the smart thing to do. But if you're dumb and adventurous like me, make sure there is good moonlight, no chance of storms. And dress warm. It gets very cold and windy. I was wearing my rain jacket just as a wind breaker, because otherwise the alpine wind would get through my clothes. You still get very sweaty, so if you're not dressed warmly it could potentially be a hypothermia situation. One of the coolest hikes I've ever been on though. If you are experienced with navigation, and have the right equipment, I'd highly recommend it.

Trail and hike are generally good, but lots of construction along first 0.5-1 mile from parking lot. Hiked all the way up today, but wind was howling. Wind-breaker and warm hat a MUST, and you’ll want gloves too!

Beautiful trail!! Love the atmosphere there! Last mile is the hardest but as soon as you get to the top makes the whole struggle worth it!!! It is very windy and cold at the top so bundle up.

hiking
19 days ago

This is a really great hike! I hiked with my 6 month old baby in a backpack carrier with no problem. Right when you start getting tired you're there!

20 days ago

Awesome trail, a lot of fun. We camped at the top, had the whole place to ourselves after dark. Cold and windy this time of year, but worth it for the views.

Trail is great, only down side is two-way traffic on the narrow parts. Gets pretty precarious trying to go two wide in some parts.

Highly recommend!

Very beautiful views the entire way! Nice once you get to the mesa top and look for miles in every direction. Easy trail to follow. By the way, I went with Deborah Ulibarri (see the review below mine)...AND we made it all the way to the top!

Welcome to paradise where the views are unbelievable and the birds eat out of your hands. This trail is marked so well, definitely a good hike. We took our 7 and 2.5 year old. They did great, the 2.5yo had to be worn in a backpack carrier on the way back but so worth it. There is construction in the beginning but once you’re past it, it’s beautiful. Super grateful we got to experience it, plenty of friendly hikers along the way.

Great trail. The last bit before you arrive at the summit ridge isn’t easy, but the views from the peak are great.

hiking
29 days ago

Not quite “easy” but definitely recommended!

Stunning views... I have not made it all the way yet, but plan to here soon. Love the outdoors and My Fathers creation. Bring sunscreen

off road driving
1 month ago

Took this trail up and wow! Great drive up and even better when you reach the lake. Amazing!! Beautiful!!

Great hike. Well worth doing....

Trails are decent. Climb is challenging. Views are breathtaking. A must for anyone hiking/backpacking in Taos area

I would give it a five because the views at top are amazing, but kind of want to give the trail itself a 3 since many parts are in bad condition.

hiking
1 month ago

This was a beautiful but decently strenuous day hike. Avoid FR 639 as you come out of Truchas unless you want a fun 4-wheeling experience. Going around to FR 207 (El Valle Road) is a more relaxing route. Only a couple of cars there when we arrived. Make sure to stop and look around occasionally, as it is easy to keep looking down and focus on the trail. Didn’t see anyone going up until we got to the lakes, then saw a couple of camping groups there. A very beautiful area.

Very nice hike. The quick up gets your blood pumping then the relatively flat lets you enjoy the views and ruins

My girlfriend, dog, and I attempted to sneak up to the top of Mount Wheeler in May using this route. The first mile up the pasture was a decent uphill climb the entire time with no level spots to recover. The trail was very wide and easy to follow up to the pasture. Walked over to check out the yurt. There was plenty of snow and water around the pasture area. It was very windy and we camped in the trees above the pasture. had a decent night even though it was well below freezing. Next morning, the wind had proceeded and broke through our shield of trees. It was even colder the next day, and we decided to go back down and head further south to Santa Fe. I was disappointed with our decision until I saw that the pasture and mountain got hit with freezing rain and several inches of snow starting the afternoon we hiked back down and continuing for the next three days. Will definitely come back as a late summer trip sometime to make the summit and finish the trip we planned originally.

completed this a number of times, latest was today after a 4 year hiatus due to injuries. terrific above tree line views. The climb as always is relentless, even considering the new switchbacks put in a few years ago. Be prepared for rapid changes in weather, especially in monsoon season.
The lower Williams Lake section has been rerouted to accommodate mountain development, in my estimation it has not disturbed the major portion of this section.

Great hike, start early!

hiking
1 month ago

Construction at the beginning.
Once you see the purple/blue spray paint markers you’re about 75% there.
The pay off is definitely worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

great hike, didn't do the entire trail only did about 2 miles out and then turned back. This was our first hike in the high elevation and did this one to aclimatize ourselves. Saw a black bear on the trail before we had even gotten a half mile in, it was amazing! Veiws were great but were sparse due to the trail being below the treeline. A great warm up hike for most people and very close to the town of Angel Fire.

I’ve done this home several times and I always love it!

Nice workout, good views!

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