Explore the most popular walking 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.

hiking
3 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.

Trail is beautiful, followed with the app. Rated it 3 stars because we bumped into three trucks on the trail. The people in the first truck made me feel uncomfortable, the second and the third truck the people seemed fine, just don’t understand how they got there and why.

Easily one of the most beautiful hikes in NM! Hiked yesterday with my partner, dogs, and two children (10 and 11). The trail was heavily used, even for a Saturday. It is a steep, steady climb, but should be manageable for most. We aren't accustomed to the elevation and thus took a few more breaks than usual. This just gave us extra time to appreciate the stunning old growth forest. Reminds me of hikes in the PNW (without the rain!)

The lake itself is beautiful and surrounded by interesting alpine life. Take the time to cross over to the waterfall on the far side, it is lovely (and full of the best quality water earth provides).

We plan to return with camping gear soon :).

Hike is beautiful all the way, and what a destination!! Starts at the Taos Ski area. If we had more time, we'd probably have gone up to Wheeler Peak, but we did it the morning we were heading out of town

hiking
7 days 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!

Beautiful hike. Awesome views, still some snow in May. Lake still icy.

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.

This is such a great trail close to town. 5 miles is perfect for an early morning get up or and afternoon get busy trail. My friends and I do this trail often throughout the year.

hiking
14 days 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.

hiking
15 days ago

This was an absolutely beautiful hike.

The trail was very well used, some snow still on the ground, but easily hikable.

From the parking lot it is a continuous climb, but it is not steep and most people should be able to handle the 2 miles to the lake. Once there take some time to wander around the lake, there is a waterfall about .25 miles south west from the trail that you can get to if you're a bit adventurous.

This is a must do trail if you are in the Taos area for some time.

We did the trail on May 2nd with our kids (4,6 & 7 years old). They are used to trek so it was ok for them. We took a lot of breaks with them so we got to the lake in 2 hours. It's a stunning trail! Snow remains on the trail but with hiking boots it is ok.

backpacking
18 days ago

Wasn't able to get to trailhead (April 19, 2018). The road to the trailhead was impassable via a 2wd vehicle. During spring, you would likely need an high clearance off-road vehicle to get to trailhead, or be willing to park hike up to the trailhead. My experience.

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.

Nice weather beautiful views; had the trail all to myself. Lots of signs of wildlife. Saw some turkeys at the meadow, about 2.5 miles up. Didn't go further today. I'll definitely be back to do more!

Went up yesterday — Sunday April 22 — and it was classic spring hiking conditions in the mountains. Slick, icy packed snow on the trail in the morning that was mush by the afternoon. Mud, ice, and slush.

Definitely felt better with poles and microspikes. There is an avalanche chute that some had used as a shortcut. Would require ice ax / crampons but the conditions yesterday were ideal. No heavy snow loads and excellent packed snow for an alpine style ascent. I had the gear, but I opted to stick to the switchback trail.

Nothing too crazy. A nice way to spend a morning. Took me three hours up and three hours down. Worth it to stop at the lake on the way up or down. It's barely any extra hiking.

Was windy enough at the summit that I added a few layers. Didn't bother shedding any on the way down and was almost 60 when I got back to the trailhead. It was a relief to change into a t-shirt.

hiking
1 month ago

The directions to the trail head goes onto private property and they have gated the access to the trail. Best to go onto the trail at the El Nogal parking area a little further up the road off of 64.

Great moderate hike. Beautiful views.

Nice quick hike

hiking
1 month ago

great trail, fairly uphill the whole way but absolutely worth the view. you start hiking from the parking lot by some skiiers and then split left. would definitely do again but yak tracks made all the difference, bring em!!

Fantastic trail! Easy for the elevation. 3/22/18 the snow is pretty packed down, but the freeze-thaw cycle means you probably want some kind of traction like yaktracks. It's a beautiful hike in the snow - cozy forest climb that opens up to a breathtaking bowl with the frozen lake.

I had a blast here! Very pretty easy going Trail.. spent the night by the lake.. well worth the climb!

**Dogs ARE allowed here** Great hike, though hard to follow the trail sometimes. Definitely needed the AllTrails map to follow. I was also glad I'd thrown my snowshoes on my back as when I needed them, I really needed them. Beautiful quiet trail, especially with the fresh snow!

So beautiful- was looking for a trail run and this was more of a steep walk/jog for the first half uphill , then a nice, rapid downhill. Not very technical, just steep and high altitude for someone who’s been living in Texas for 5 years :)

Great spring hike, but do wish there was better signage along the way...thank goodness for snow and footprints to let us know we were still on the right path. If I was to do it again this time of year, I'd take my snowshoes.

off road driving
2 months ago

Great trail and beautiful views at the Lake. Did it in a lifted 4Runner. No problems at all. Very fun and rewarding trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked in early-march. Trail was very well marked. Snow was well packed on the trail, which was about 3-4 ft. wide. If you stumbled off of the trail, the snow would rise past your shins. Views were remarkable, even with the lake frozen. Trekking up the mountain was moderately challenging due to the elevation, the way down was a blast. Dogs loved the trail.

Did this as the loop and 164 had sections of ice and snow. There was nothing technical about the hike at all. Beautiful scenery along the way but harder to see at the peak because of denser trees. Biggest cairn ever and stone chairs let you know you made it.

Trial itself is nothing to write home about but the site is very interesting with pottery artifacts all over. You need a lot of imagination because there are no ruins.

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