Wheeler Peak via Williams Lake Trail

HARD 68 reviews
#1 of 30 trails in

Wheeler Peak via Williams Lake Trail is a 6.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

6.2 miles
3083 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly



fly fishing





trail running


horseback riding






wild flowers






New Mexico highpoint Wheeler Peak is a 15 mile out and back trail located near Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico and is only recommended for very experienced outdoorsmen. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from June until October. Ran into 14 -24" snow drifts on North slope areas on June 08 trip.

7 hours ago

Set off a little later than ideal, around 8:00 am, with my sister (both of us pushing 50) and 7 kids (13 to 17), all of us Texas flatlanders. The kids moved like gangbusters while my sister and I consistently slowed them down, especially my sister who was wrestling with the altitude. I stopped periodically to take pictures and shoot FB live videos when I had service, and the kids frequently got distracted by snowball fights, chipmunks, and marmots. Unfortunately, just below the last steep climb, a storm cloud started rolling in and I forced everybody to turn around and head back for the trees. To speed up our descent, we opted to sled down a long patch of snow rather than following a particularly tiresome switchback. That was fabulously fun! It drizzled on us all the way back to Williams Lake then stopped. We ate our lunch then trudged back to the Bavarian Inn, where we scarfed down pretzels, french fries, and sodas. We were disappointed that we didn't make it to the top but it was a great experience.

2 days ago

Wheeler Peak is so far the highest point I have ever reached. It was a great hike. I started at 7:00 am to avoid the heat and possible afternoon thunderstorm. I reached the peak at 10:30 am and got down to parking lot at 2:00 pm. I took a short detour to Williams Lake, where I had some snacks. Make sure you have hiking poles. The snow covered trail after tree line was really slippery.

2 days ago

Great trail! Took 2hr 40min from car to summit. Then another 1.5 hours or so to descend. Had a great lunch and delicious beer at the Bavarian down by the ski lift. Back to car by 2pm with a 7:30am start. Very windy up top so I suggest bringing some layers. Saw a lot of people today with no extra clothing. Also hiking boots and poles are helpful for the talus fields and remaining snow slopes you will cross.

3 days ago

Bull of the woods trail is the only way to go.

7 days ago

Great trail!

8 days ago

Did this hike at the end of June. Really good hike. The things to prepare for are snow still in patches where you need to traverse and also a fairly steep climb towards the summit. The views are fantastic and the weather in the mornings is good for a hike. We saw many marmots, big horns, and chipmunks above the tree line. Wear sturdy hiking shoes because it does get rocky at the top. You will start around 10,000 ft and climb a little over 3,000. I live at higher altitude so the thin air wasn't too bad but you definitely need to take account of it. Rain can come in after lunch. Outstanding scenery the whole way with light foot traffic for us. We refueled at 5 Star Burgers in Taos. Great spot to unwind and reflect.

14 days ago

15 days ago

16 days ago

Nice hike with great views. The Williams Lake trail is nice but Bull-of-the-woods is a much more spectacular choice if you have the time/stamina.

18 days ago

I hiked this today! I only hiked this going down from the peak. I came from Bull of the Woods which took me about 4.5 hours and lake Williams trail all the way down to where I parked to start took me about 2-2.5. The snow slowed me down pretty good on the rock scree area and the trails were easy to lose since it was a first for both. Too tired to go near the lake and hang out. Give both trails another month of the same type of summer heat and that snow shouldn't be as much of a factor. Also, I forgot to record this one!

28 days ago

Hiked on 5/30/17, a lot of snow after the lake, and even to the lake. I would suggest poles and crampons still, the peak is cleared out and the trail up has some spots but most of it is still snow. My group started around 8 in the morning, the snow was good and pact then but on the way down, around 1, the snow was getting pretty soft. Great area to glissade if you have the proper gear.

28 days ago

We just hiked this mtn on 5/28/17. The entire trail to the top is still snow covered and I would not recommend hiking it without crampons and poles. The trail is visible at the very top, maybe last 500 ft of climb. Otherwise once you pass the lake and turn for the peak, it is wherever you can hike. We literally scaled the slope of the mountain in the snow. There were maybe 50 others attempting and those with just tennis shoes struggled. This was very challenging but round trip we still did it in 7 hours considering the conditions. Also, at noon the easy packed snow from the morning is melting slush and difficult and slick when hiking back, especially around the lake. Many bad falls from hikers and sprained ankles we witnessed. It is doable with experience hiking these conditions. We were going to do bull of woods but the river was impassable per previous attempts from people we spoke to in town. Beautiful views from the top, just amazing. Marmots everywhere.

1 month ago

1 month ago

2 months ago

Great quick access to Wheeler Peak. Normally I take a two day hike from the Red River valley, but this is a nice shorter version.

4 months ago

nature trips
7 months ago

Absolutely wonderful hike! There are places which are steep, but he views are well worth it! From the trail head parking it we took approximately 4 hours up and 2 1/2 down. On the way down we had to wait for 3 Bighorn to move off the trail, so it was a nice, unexpected break. This is not a heavily traveled trail, but easy to follow. There were several families and older hikers on the trail. Watch out for the winds on the top, it can get cold even late July!

7 months ago

8 months ago

I'm an active 72 and a moderately active peak bagger from Florida Got on the trail at 8 and off at 4. As a state high point this was well worth the effort. The worst part was walking out of the parking lot at 10,00 ' and 28 degrees, breathing hard at the first minor uphill. Surprisingly it never got much worse. I was breathing hard the whole way but I was able to make my slow steady pace up to the top in about 3 1/2 hours. I stopped to talk to everyone I met on the trail, and found 4 geocaches which required a .8 mile side trip around Willams lake. It's a tough hike but if you allow enough time it's doable even for a flat lander. Those views above tree line and the summit are killer.

8 months ago

Left on 10/15/16 to summit wheeler peak. Camped right at the trailhead of bull of the trail, which is a great loop if it's not extremely windy at high elevation. Due to 60mph winds at the peak we decided to hike Williams lake trail (#62) to wheeler peak (#67). If you have not hiked in the area Williams lake trail is for the whole family (including young kiddos), only two miles to the lake and worth the quick hike. Wheeler peak is a difficult but obtainable hike. Just be ready to hike for two hours. Plenty of places to stop and rest. This hike is a must do and on a clear day can provide you the most incredible views. Great backcountry hiking up there too!