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Wheeler Peak via Williams Lake Trail is a 8.2 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.

Length 8.2 mi Elevation gain 3,024 ft Route type Out & Back

Dog friendly

Backpacking

Camping

Fishing

Hiking

Horseback riding

Skiing

Snowshoeing

Running

Forest

Lake

River

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Blowdown

Muddy

Rocky

Snow

Description
Waypoints (10)

Really well marked trail. The 1st 1/3 is well shaded, in the trees, and hard pack trail. Once you break out above the tree line the winds pick up and you are very exposed to sun/elements. The top third is mostly hiking in the scree. Easy to follow but be mindful of your steps. This is roughly 3000’ in 4mi. Allow time to Summit and keep in mind that afternoon storms (between 2p-4p) can be common in the late summer/early fall. The winds T the top are aggressive and can reach 50mph+.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (605)
Photos (1180)
Recordings (384)
Completed (1312)
Ting Lu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 9, 2020
HikingNo shadeRockyScramble

Pretty good lots of rocks, so many that I could probably throw one down for every time I slipped on this trail and there would STILL be rocks on the mountain.

Nicolas Forge
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 7, 2020
Hiking

It was a beautiful hike. At first we were just going to go to the lake but we decided to go up to wheeler peek. The hike was beautiful you could see the mountains and it was gorgeous. At the end it gets a little steep but it’s worth the view. I would definitely recommend it.

View Nicolas's Recording
Scott Turner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 6, 2020
HikingGreat!Scramble

This is a hike I’ve wanted to do for years. Finally got the opportunity. I turned 65 in April and wanted to prove to myself I could do it. The hike was a challenge. Especially the last mile or so. But I would recommend it to anyone. I left the trailhead at 7:30 am and returned at 2:30 pm. Very windy at the summit.

Allison Randolph
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 6, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

My boyfriend and I consider ourselves intermediate hikers and relatively new to hiking with elevation. We started around 8am and got finished in 5 hours with a stop at Williams Lake and a couple of short breaks to catch our breath closer to the top. I don’t recommend starting any later because of afternoon rain showers. The last mile was rocky, steep, and very narrow. Winds didn’t start to pick up until about a mile to the top where it got very chilly. Going down it was tricky with the steep dirt paths, I slipped a couple times! We saw amazing views and great wild life! Amazing experience. Only disappointment was, we didn’t see any mountain goats! :)

vic jacome
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 6, 2020
HikingGreat!
Tanya Griffin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 6, 2020
Hiking

A challenging up hill trail. Towards the top the grades are in the 40-60% range. We hiked with success rather than speed in mind, especially with the scree and the altitude gain. The hike is worth the ascent! My husband completed his 38th high peak climb : )

Christina Angel-Jolly
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 4, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful

View Christina's Recording
Chase Vencl
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 4, 2020
Hiking

Hiked on August 1, 2020. This was my wife and I’s first summit, and boy, was it spectacular! Couldn’t have picked better weather conditions, it was calm and sunny at the summit, and the views were amazing, well worth the effort! Altitude was definitely an issue, so I’d recommend getting acclimated a few days before you go (it was our 3rd day staying in Red River). Amazing experience!

Isabelle Sena
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful views and the feeling of accomplishment when you get to the top is well worth it

View Isabelle's Recording
Alli Kathol
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2020
Hiking

Great trail to explore Taos Ski Valley! Got to the trailhead at 7 and had no problem parking but lot was full by noon when we returned. Lots of shade starting early and good temps throughout entire hike. This trail is heavily trafficked but nearly everyone was wearing masks upon passing and polite to other hikers. Definitely a difficult hike, especially the last mile to the peak, but the views are worth it!

Robin Coolidge
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 31, 2020
HikingGreat!

Holy cow! This was a tough but beautiful hike. I almost let it beat me on the switchbacks in the scree but I took a rest and kept going! The hike from the Williams Lake/Wheeler Peak marker is so gorgeous! Loved seeing chipmunks, pika, and marmots. Didn’t see any sheep. Trail is super well marked and easy to follow. I’m exhausted but happy!

Jeremy Ecton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 30, 2020
Hiking

This was an incredible hike. Highly recommend also summiting neighboring Simpson and Ol' Mike peaks (not much more effort). I filmed the entire hike in 4k. You can view it here for reference https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoFCcB03vM-nepESoPJ4KvA

Chris H.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 21, 2020
Hiking

I would call myself an intermediate. Not a novice but far from Pro. You will need a minimum of 2 days acclimation and a lot of water if you are coming from sea level or just above. There is a red sign in TSV that says the Bavarian. This is NOT “THE BAVARIAN.” from the initial lift area it’s another 2 miles up the road. There are camping spots on the road up to the Taos ski valley. Most were full when we were driving up in the morning. Took Bull of the Woods up and Williams Lake down. As with many of these trails the advertised mileage seems to vary w signage and other recording devices. I usually tack on a mile or two for planning purposes as I have run into this on many trails. This one says 7.25 to the summit per AT and signage says 8. My advice Call it 9 for safe measure. Don’t get caught in a storm or stuck by lightning. Bull of the Woods is very picturesque albeit a lot longer. Have to get out of the tree line twice and then you are closing in. You cannot see the peak until late in ascent. Coming up Bull you get Mt Walters as an added benefit. Bull is less steep and loose than Williams Lake. We got some dashing of rain sleet and of course lots of wind when we went. The trail down Williams Lake is a leg burner. Steep, rocky and def loose and call it 5 miles also for planning purposes. Saw tons of marmots and pika and a herd of bighorns. They were hanging out on a the upslope on the Williams Lake side. Only had my 100mm so couldn’t get close ups but will try to post. If you are in average shape and acclimated if you plan for 1.25 mph up and down that will give you plenty of time for breaks photos and to avoid storms at the Summit. Plus time to take in the views at the top. Pros will make it much quicker. If you are a pro this hike might be average or easy. For intermediate folks it’s labeled appropriately as a hard trail. Don’t let the 13er fool you. Like TSV is known for being steep so is this one.

Jeffrey Michler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 20, 2020
Hiking

Excellent hike - challenging, uphill nearly the whole way to the peak, but beautiful views along the way and at the top. Trail in good condition, very busy, even during the week.

View Jeffrey's Recording
Amber Walker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 20, 2020
Hiking

Hiked on 7/18, spectacular 360 degree scenery, definitely cold and windy on top but warm most of the way. Rolled into the trailhead at 7am and the parking lot was almost full. Noticed a lot of people heading up in early afternoon as dark clouds were forming, despite the lightning forecasted for 1pm... get an early start on this one to be safe! Easy to add on other ridge summits before heading down. Also made the side trip to Williams Lake which was fantastic.

Sam G
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
Hiking

Trailhead was almost full early in the morning and cars lining the road by the time we got back. Hiking through the enchanted forest up to the lake area and above that for a bit longer before the trail opens up above treeline. Amazing views the higher up you get looking back down at the ski valley and the lake below. Lots of marmots and pikas high up. Last haul to the summit is made up of loose rock thats not too tough to navigate through. From the saddle its a short way up right to wheeler summit or left to the walter summit. Hanging out by the lake afterwards was an amazing break after the summit climb. The waterfall is on the side opposite wheeler peak with a sort of steep climb to get up to the biggest part of the falls. Lots of people and campers by the lake on a nice day.

View Sam's Recording
Ted Bauer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 18, 2020
Hiking

Second time was a charm. I attempted this hike in March. Way to much snow and after about 4 hours of post holing I turned around near 12,000. Tried again with out the snow and found it to be a wonderful hike. It's not easy, but then nothing worthwhile is. I tagged Walters as well, and would recommend that to others. Be prepared for the wind.

Allan Ketelsen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 15, 2020
HikingRocky

Hiked Wheeler Peak on 7-11 as practice altitude for up coming Whitney hike. We left the parking lot a little after 5am. Took about 3 hrs to summit. Weather was perfect; started in the 50’s and was well into the 70’s (peak) by the time we headed down. Since we were there, we knocked out Simpson, Old Mike, and Walter peaks. I’m glad we started early because by the time we left there were dozens and dozens of people on the trail... Don’t forget to grab some Lotaburger and Dion’s Pizza... well worth it.

paul garner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 14, 2020
Hiking

Had a wonderful time trekking up the peak last week. Started just before 6 and it took a good 4 hours round trip. Trail was well marked, marmots and bighorn around and it was windy in saddle just below final ascent. About 45 degrees at top,clear with great views. Lots of couples/families with dogs and most of the dogs had black fur(not sure why black dogs make best climbing dogs). Highly recommend this hike.

Brian Lino
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2020
Hiking

I don’t understand the negative comments about this route. It is a beautiful hike and if you want to summit on a short time line, this is the route. It is steep at times but not as bad as some people have posted here. I have hiked this mountain several times. I recommend hiking up this route and then down via Bull of the Woods. I’ve done it both ways but if you’re concerned about steep terrain on a hike down then this is the way to do it. I’m guessing most of the negative comments are from inexperienced hikers/climbers.

View Brian 's Recording
Stephen Schear
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 9, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

I hiked Wheeler today with my two 13yr old nephews my wife and our two boys that are 4 and 6. we left the parking lot at 5am and with a head lamp and the moon we had no issue. The first part of the hike to the lake is fairly simple and well traveled. We did not see anyone until we reached the rock fields above the tree line. The younger boys did great tell this point. We had to carry the 4yr old a couple times and towards the top had to stop for the 6yr old every switchback. Once we reached the peak it was 10AM and was fairly cold due to the winds. The rocks at the top provided a nice wind brake. We left the peak around 10:30. The way down was peaceful and we met some amazing people. Once we reached the lake the trail became a bit more crowded. Arrived back at the parking lot at 2pm. 9hours with a 4 yr old. This was a good test and near our limit until the boys get a bit older.

A Hall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 9, 2020
Hiking

This was the hardest hike I've ever done, BUT I can say that I climbed the highest mountain in New Mexico now! DEFINITELY bring hiking poles as the majority of hike after the tree line is on loose rock or scaling large rocks. It took my husband and me 6 hours to hike these 9 miles. Pack plenty of water and a snack to enjoy from the peak. Very busy trail going up, but we had the trail almost to ourselves coming down. We started at 9:30am. A lot of people had evidently started earlier. Definitely recommend having a few days to acclimate to the altitude before trying this one.

Arvind M.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 7, 2020
HikingRocky

Great trail with rocky steep section close to the summit . As long as you’re acclimatized, should not be too hard

howie oren
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 6, 2020
HikingGreat!No shadeRockyScramble

Super easy hike, just kidding. The first portion of the hike is a beautiful meander uphill path through some beautiful forest.

View howie's Recording
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