Explore the most popular river 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.

I’ve hiked this trail at least twice and it’s a favorite!

hiking
4 days ago

Nice fun trail...until you can’t find it anymore

Went up to the peak today! The trail is nicely marked with blue paint on some of the trees. It gets pretty steep towards the top, but it was still a great trail. It took us about 5 hours total to get up and down.

We didn't have a 4 wheel drive vehicle and we were just fine today...there wasn't any snow or anything.

this hike is strenuous, but very rewarding when you get to the lakes. the views are phenomenal.

5 days ago

Absolutely stunning, a must do hike in the Taos area. Not very strenuous and views galore!

hiking
6 days ago

My girlfriend and I are not super active people but are young and still go out to hike about once a month at the most, we were tired and a bit sore by the end but definitely doable. Took 2 1/2 hours to the top and about 1 1/2 down. The first mile follows a beautiful creek with mini waterfalls throughout, then a large portion after is slow sloping switchbacks with minimal views until about the last mile, where there is a ridge with great views. The lake itself is incredibly clear and worth the trek, woodchucks wandering around the surrounding forest and awesome green hills surround the lake. We went on a sunday in early june around 1:30 and there was noone at the lake by the time we got there. Some camping sites at the lake as well. Enjoy!

Nice hike! The view from the lake was breathtaking. As an older person it took a little more time but no problems. Trail is used extensively. The only issue I had was the dog bombs that were not disposed of properly.

Excellent trail! I highly recommend an early start to enjoy the morning view at Williams lake.

hiking
13 days ago

We hiked the trail today and want to notify all that La Junta trail (just the portion going into the canyon) is closed until further notice. You can still do the same hikes but need to take a different trail down into the gorge, either big or little arsenic. See prior post from dog owner. Great hike.

Must have 4x4 to get to the trailhead.

I've hiked Wheeler before and absolutely love it. I'm going again at the end of the month and am wondering if I need to have 4 wheel drive to get up to Phoenix Grill to begin the hike?
Thanks for your input!

Beautiful hike today. About 3 hours up and 2 down.

6 hrs up and down showing 8.8 miles. Just beautiful trail the whole way, extremely windy on top 1/3 but views were incredible. Saw lots of marmots and even 5 big horn sheep on the back bowl. Definitely one of the prettiest and well structured trails I have ever been on. In cool/cold temps 3L of water was more than enough. Only tip is the sign for the peak trail just before the lake is easy to miss, just a post w letters carved in it.

This is my favorite trail in Red River. The trail gives you access to both lost lake and horseshoe lake. At the end of the trail you will see a sign with direction to both lakes. I was told you can also access Wheeler peak from this trail. I plan on attempting that next year.

This trail has some of the most beautiful views of any trail in Red River. However, the first few miles are wooded. The trail really gets beautiful after you cross the bridge. My favorite part of the hike was the end of the trail to lost lake.

See my recording for pictures

backpacking
19 days ago

I also went on Memorial Day weekend! There was quite a bit of folks but it wasn't that packed or outrageously crowded. Plenty of room to camp at the lakes and everyone was courteous. Great trail for a first time backpacker! There were alot of dogs on the trail and on the campsites. No snow on the trail by this time of year but you see some snow off the trail in a few scattered areas and a bit on the peaks. The trail was well maintained...a few trees here and there to climb over and some creeks and streams you had to get through. The elevation change wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and it was less steep than I thought. There are a few switchbacks during the last couple of miles before you get to the lakes but they weren't too bad. Free parking. Just wish they had trashcans at the trailhead parking lot.

The views and the scenery were just gorgeous. Well worth the arduous backpacking experience. The area is so green and something you would expect in New Mexico. If you plan to camp overnight, definitely layer up b/c it gets chilly at night.

Getting there: I recommend taking the 207 instead of the 639, even though it's a longer route, since it's better maintained and more grated.
Toilets: There is one pit toilet before you get to the trailhead parking lot...maybe a couple of miles before on the 207 and then another pit toilet at the trailhead parking lot. Of course no toilets once you get on the trail or anywhere near the lakes ;)

Great hike, gradual climb the whole way. First 2 miles was a lot of dead-fall making it very slow going. Lake was nice and the views were amazing. Spent the night at the lake and the wind was at a minimum making the weather very enjoyable. Dogs also had a great time.

backpacking
20 days ago

Memorial Day weekend 2018 was packed! I was surprised but there was ample camping space on top. The trail itself was a little beaten up with trees blocking the path (likely due to the winter frost), but nothing too difficult to get around. There was some snow still left near the lakes but quickly melting. It never got below freezing but it was chilly and windy at times. Fly fishing is definitely possible, lots of trout in both lakes.

A couple of things to note about this trail. First, this is not the Jeep trail. The Jeep trail is closer to town. Second, I was unable to find the lake. Around mile 5 I ran into a ton of down trees and lost the trail. There are down trees everywhere, making it very difficult. It is a Beautiful trail trail though. We saw a beautiful black bear by the primitive campsite around mile 3. It’s around 100 flights at mile 5 where I lost the trail.
I am rating this a 3 Star due to losing the trail. If the trees are cleared and a clear path is made to the lake this is definitely a 5 Star.

This is my second hike to an alpine lake but the first hike to pack in and camp overnight. The trail is well defined and is maintained by the US Forestry Service. Trampus is two beautiful alpine lakes separated by a raised area that is one option for pitching a tent. The backdrop is a rocky cliff reaching up to several peaks.

As of today, the trail is entirely clear - no snow. Please be sure to stay on established and current trails.

The last 1.5 miles gains altitude quite rapidly. It’s a steep climb, and trekking or ski poles are definitely recommended.

No water above Williams lake.

This was my most challenging NM hike completed due to the steepness. Well worth the view though!

Beautiful trail and the lakes are well worth the trip. I did it in one day, there and back. Doable and it gets a little steeper after mile 3.

backpacking
27 days ago

This is an absolutely beautiful trail. While the trail can be completed easily within single day, I would recommend backpacking and staying at the top for a night. The view is gorgeous and the trail is very lightly traversed. You will pretty much have both lakes to yourself. There was some snow on the route but the trail is perfectly passable. At the lakes it gets really cold and windy at night so make sure you are dressed accordingly and carry winter backpacking gear.

hiking
28 days ago

This trail makes you work for the privilege of viewing the beautiful Alpine Lost Lake!

I would agree with another viewer that this trail is more than moderate.
My app showed 11.8 miles out and back and 51 floors.

Snow on the 2ft wide ledge of the sheer cliff trail made this part of the trail treacherous. Be careful and take your time, its a journey not a race

Hiked this trail yesterday. Was very windy and cold at the top. Snow on some parts of the trail past the treeline. Great views and well worth it!

Trail snow covered except for the last and first quarter mile or so. Hard to follow after you clear the wood line. Had trouble on the ice until I put my microspikes on. Still tough in places. Dress warm toward the top. Gusty winds. Great view. Might be best to wait until ice melts if time permits. Take plenty of water and some high energy snacks and take a meal and enjoy the view.

So beautiful and totally worth it. If climbing in the spring time, plan for lots of snow at the top!

hiking
1 month ago

CAUTION: For Dog Owners This WOULD have been a great trail do to IF I would have known about the three flights of steep spiked metal stairs my dog could not go down
Since so many people hike with their dogs I am surprised no one mentioned this?

Now they have.

Instead dog owners go to either Little or Big Arsenic trail(s) and hike back to La Junta like me and my puppy are doing right now!

Rugged beauty!

Some packed snow till Williams Lake. Not bad. A little more snow from Williams to the end treeline. Slightly steep in some parts, but trail is in overall great shape. It is doable without poles. Super windy at the last few switchbacks and at the peak, but it is completely doable. Pretty runnable if you're a trail runner as well. Take some layers with you if you're going to hang out at the top, because the wind makes it cold. Views from the top definitely make it worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

We were recommended this over La Junta, mainly because the drive from Taos was 1/2 an hour shorter. The drive to the trailhead/campground area is a not great, road is dirt and has quite a bit of potholes, so take it slow.

The trail itself is a bit challenging. The beginning going down is quite steep. At about half way it is not as steep and pretty easy. The access to the river is a nice area, you can be brave and jump in, but be aware of the strong current. Hiking back up is obviously harder and the steep beginning(end going up) is hard. All in all, well worth it, took an hour down and 1.25 hrs up.

Hiked this April 30 after camping at Twining campsite a couple miles below (free). First part of the trail is mostly wooded with hard-packed snow and ice but not treacherous. After the wooded part there is a steep avalanche chute that serves as a shortcut or you can take switchbacks which are easier to traverse. After the wooded area the packed snow was spotty and still not treacherous - we didn’t have spikes or poles and were fine. Beautiful views rest of the way. Unfortunately it was brutally windy near the peak so we couldn’t safely complete Wheeler Peak but we were able to make it to Walters Peak which is just to the left and also a 13er. A hiker before us said he didn’t feel comfortable finishing Wheeler either. Due to the wind we didn’t hang around long and the descent was quick and easy so we finished in about 4.5 hours. Distance from the parking lot is farther than advertised, maybe closer to 9-10 miles? Definitely recommend checking out Williams Lake on the way.

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