Explore the most popular wild flowers 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.

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
6 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
6 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.

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

hiking
11 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!

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
13 days ago

This was an excellent loop. Up Bull of the Woods Trail to Wheeler Peak, down to Horseshoe Lake for one night camp. Back up to Wheeler and down via Williams Lake Trail back to Taos Ski Valley. Views are amazing just about every step of the way. Encountered some snow and had to posthole about three miles in on BOTW. Wheeler Peak provides 360 breathtaking views. Horseshoe Lake is very secluded and makes for a nice campsite. The climb out is a bit of workout, but the trail is well marked and traverses up the east side of Mount Walter and Wheeler Peak. The weather was mild starting out, but winds became increasingly stronger as the afternoon and evening approached. We had a front move in and had sustained 40 mph with gusts over 50 mph, which made sleeping quite difficult. The following morning, the winds continued to increase and as we approached the ridgeline of Wheeler, it sounded like a jet engine with the winds. Once on the ridge, winds were 80 mph + and it was quite dangerous trying to get down from the ridge. We ended up dropping down about 40 feet below the ridgeline and traversed the west side Wheeler until we reached Williams Lake Trail. Definitely not for the faint of heart if the winds are going to be over 50 mph. We had kept a close eye on weather before departing and all reports were indicating 40 mph winds. That was not the case when we woke the next morning and reached the ridgeline. There was still a fair amount of snow in La Cal basin and around Horseshoe, but the trails were mostly clear. Saw a ton of marmots and bighorn sheep along the way. All in all, this was a great trip and I would definitely recommend this route if you haven't done it! Departed Taos Ski Valley on BOTW at 1115 on 05/10/2018, summited at 1530 (7.5 miles), Horseshoe at 1700 (2 miles). Up at 0530, started back at 0715 to Wheeler, down Williams Lake Trail and back to Taos Ski Valley at 1100. 16.5 miles roundtrip.

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
18 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.

backpacking
22 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.

As of May 1st still lots of snow on the last mile or so before the lake.

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.

Nice quick hike

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.

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.

We started the hike going down La Junta (wow, just wow on views and trail). Went to the end of La Junta at the confluence of the rivers for lunch, then hiked along the River Trail to Big Arsenic Trail back up to the top and then hiked the flat Riconda Trail back to the car at the La Junta parking lot. Would not change a thing about the route. La Junta down was amazing and the trail between Little Arsenic and Big Arsenic was the prettiest part of our hike. We chose not to hike the additional mike os switch-back down to seek out the pictographs that may or not be easy to find since we have seen in other areas of the Southwest. Glad we didn't ton save energy for the flat walk back to the car. No regrets and glad we did it.

2 months ago

Love the camp sites
Looks like the bridge to get to the picnic tables was washed out?

The water is gorgeous at the bottom and the hike back to the top makes drinking a cold one at the end totally guilt free

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