Bull of the Woods Trail

MODERATE 35 reviews
#6 of 30 trails in

Bull of the Woods Trail is a 14.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico that features a lake. The trail is rated as moderate offers a number of activity options. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

14.5 miles
4550 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly





trail running




wild flowers



12 days ago

I went up at the beginning of February. Apparently there was less snow than usual for a February. This made the last stretch to the summit easier but there was still plenty of snow down below tree line and it would have been impossible without snow shoes. Bull of the Woods May be safer in winter but is is very difficult. You will need lots of time and energy.

1 month ago

Nice hike but be aware that currently long stretches are covered in solid ice.

1 month ago

Dis silly damn trail gon’ take you into the bulls kaboodle. 10 bulls at the top, eyes glarin red, head real low, kicking they feet. Don’t panic tho not a damn good thing will happen they sense fear. Listentomenow, what you gon’ do is run straight at ‘em, fast as you can and when fire come out they nose and horns tryin to split your privates you JUMP. And for chrissakes you plant your foot right between a bulls eye and launch yourself over the other side that beast. Like punchin a shark in the nose. But on land, dummy. Turn a god damn war machine into a scared puppy, feel me? Thing’ll drop like sacka potatoes. Think a beta bull gon’ mess with ya after takin’ down the big boy? Not a chance. Have a good hike.

2 months ago

Mini spikes or something similar highly recommended for this trail, encountered snow and ice.

3 months ago

We left at sunrise (715am) on Bull of the woods headed to Wheeler Peak. We were packing quite a bit of gear thinking we might have to camp. Really wanted to get some drone footage of the peak so add that weight too... Summit around 2 pm. Got our footage and then took Wheeler peak via Williams lake trail down. Made it back to town about 630. Hiked another 2 miles back up to The Alpine Village hotel (had to use the roads since the trail was closed). Have to say this was a great experience. If I could do it all over again I would have definitely decided to camp off trail on the way up and then finished the next day. Awesome views at the top. There was some hard snow the last mile up to the peak but the rest of the trail was clear (no snow). Bull of the woods trail is in good shape and easy to walk. On the way down Wheeler peak via Williams lake the trail is made up of loose rocks, makes it a task to come down with a big pack but only for a little while. Once you hit the tree line it's easy sailing.

5 months ago

I climbed Wheeler Peak via Bull of the Woods yesterday, the Friday before Labor Day weekend. Only encountered one other person on the trail. It is a scenic and moderate ascent. I left the trailhead at 7 and summited around 2pm. Could have done it faster but I had a head cold and was taking it easy with a few rest stops.

After hiking up to the Bull of the Woods meadow (about 3 miles), the trail breaks through the trees and crosses a knob, before descending back into the trees. Then it climbs to the first false summit, then a ridge walk up to the top of Wheeler. It's a fairly straightforward climb, no loose scree.

I saw a group of foxes, some bighorn sheep and a couple of rock badgers along the trail.

Some clouds were moving in when I was on the Summit so I made the call to descend via Williams Lake trail. That's 1000 feet down through messy scree, but it got me to the tree line before the lightening came in, so definitely worthwhile. This climb down is much faster and very scenic. At the bottom there is a nice Bavarian inn with cold beer, German sausage and great music! The only downside is the mile hike back down to where I had parked at Taos ski valley. My legs were pretty tight at that time of the day.

Wheeler is a nice climb. This route is significant vertical gain and makes for a long day but it's not technical and counts as a real accomplishment!

6 months ago

Hiked on August 9th, 2017
If your goal is to summit Wheeler peak, I highly recommend starting at bull of the woods which takes you to the top of both mount Walter, and Wheeler. Then take Wheeler peak trail down (which is steep but short) to Williams lake trail (make a left). Taking this route is more enjoyable and much prettier then Wheeler peak trail via Williams lake. The hour prior to arriving at wheeler peak you are exposed to weather while on the ridge line. Be prepared with layers and sunblock. Only disadvantage is if you don't have two vehicles you have to walk back to where you parked at the trailhead of bull of the woods. It's about a mile on the dirt road after finishing Williams Lake Trail. My wife and I got picked up by a nice couple and taking back to our car.

8 months ago

Amazing hike with spectacular scenery; a classic trail.

8 months ago

I tried this hike a couple of weeks ago but didn't make it. I sort of got mixed up after a couple told me that "wheeler was this way" and I proceeded to go in the direction they went after a quick break. When I ran into them and they told me this, I was at the Red River Canyon and it seemed like the bull of the woods trail went in a different direction than what the couple had told me. I still went in the direction they said to go but the trail got too sketchy and I realized I was going the wrong direction least after about an hour or more. Ended up having a friend that lost his dog after going freestyle down Frazier Mtn. with no trail to get back to a point where I was familiar. Not an ideal start to the hike but now I have better maps and with no dogs haha. Trying it again Friday!

Friday, September 02, 2016

Terrific day hike. Strenuous but not difficult. Nice views once you're above the tree line, especially at Wheeler Peak.

Camped at the trailhead. Hit the trail at sunrise (6:30), reached Wheeler Peak at 11:00 and was back at the trailhead by 2:30. Glad I got an early start. Clouded up at noon and a light rain began around 1:00. But there was also lightning in the area and above the tree line there's no place to shelter. I'm a low-lander (Dallas), but in reasonably good shape (56; bike 40 miles a week). The altitude caught up with me; had to greatly slow my pace and take deeper breaths for the last 2-or-so miles up. Did not see another soul on the trail. Scads of marmots near the peak, including one perched on the top of the rock pile marking Wheeler Peak! (Photo.) No snow or ice on the trail (8/31/16).

Sunday, March 20, 2016

STRENUOUS HIKE if you're flat landers like us (Kansans), but the views are amazing. We hiked 7.5 miles to Wheelers Peak, then took the rocky 4 mile trail down by Williams Lake. Had a scary moment when we surprised a group of female mountain goats with kids, so stay alert & keep a distance. (One chased us off the trail a bit. She was not intimidated by us at all.) Loved this trail, hope to do it again someday.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Great hike a must if you want a great overnight to summit Wheeler

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Loved this trail! We hiked it just as the leaves were starting to change and it was gorgeous. It is closer to 7.5 than 1.5, just a heads up. There's also lots of shade, so it's a great hike with dogs!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

If you are not used to the altitude then this trail will be a challenge. It is steep at times but the views are worth it and make sure you are wearing a good pair of shoes and plenty of water.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Took the Bull of the Woods all the way to Wheeler Peak. I meant to start at the Williams Lake TH, but ended up enjoyed this longer, scenic version that was just as challenging yet different. Camped right at the TH!

Friday, November 28, 2014

This trail starts at the Taos Ski Valley parking at roughly 9400 feet. It's 2 mi. up to Bull of the Woods meadow at 10,800. The first mile is a bit steep, but overall an easy hike if you're used to the altitude. The trail contiues on bypassing Bull of the Wood Mountain, and reaching Fraser Mt. in a bit over 4 Mi. from there it is another 3 + mi. to Wheeler Peak.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Great for snowshoeing in the winter. Strenuous at times but short.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Took this trail up to Bull of the Woods pasture and then went on to Bull of the Woods mountain and Fraser Mountain. Attempted to go to Wheeler Peak via this route but there was too much snow past Fraser Mountain.

The trail was in good condition. There were patches of snow here and there but nothing serious. The trail is wide (old road) and rocky the entire way up.

26 days ago

1 month ago

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