Explore the most popular lake trails in New Mexico with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Hiked on 5/21, trail is clear of snow but as others have said the trail is hard to follow at points with numerous spur trails leading seemingly nowhere. Once you turn off trail 254, just make sure to keep hugging the creek on either side, and the trail will come back into focus. Otherwise, pleasant hike with some beautiful meadows en route to an awesome payoff. The lake is framed by a giant granite bowl and is a perfect place for a lunch. Trailhead is over 9000 feet and they trail climbs another 2000 so, even after three days in and around Santa Fe, we still had to take the big climb slowly. The air up there is thin.

We got hailed on during our hike down, which is way better than being rained on because my shoes stayed dry.

backpacking
3 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.

For a good challenge I definitely recommend this hike. We made it past the treeline but not all the way to Lake Peak (didn't think our skills were up to par) Past the treeline I recommend a wind breaker or light jacket as it did get chilly. The views are amazing and the trail was not too hard to follow. Some small patches of snow and ice in the shade but none on the trail. My partner and I are in our early 30s and in somewhat good shape. The incline is pretty consistent and rocky at times but it is so worth it. I recommend doing the Nambe Lake trail first like we did (not in the same day) and then doing this one where you get an amazing view of the lake from above.

hiking
4 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.

I did this hike on 5/19/18 and it was perfect. Great weather, great trail conditions (no snow or ice) just perfect. The trail is nice and wide but it’s definitely uphill and switchbacked most of the way, and the rock is loose so going down takes more time than you’d think. There were some fallen trees, some of which were fresh, so be careful. Also, the last mile to the trailhead is rough driving so a 4WD is recommended. The town of Red River is super cool and worth a stop after. The lake at the top is totally worth the effort.

Tough, but so beautiful! Nice to see so much green and so much water in this state.

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 :).

We love this trek and typically take it as the first portion of a trek to Truchas peaks.

Easy to moderate, depending on the weather. Impossible to miss. Not very frequented. Took me (woman, 210lbs) 2:45 hours including two ten minutes breaks.

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

So beautiful!

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

Beautiful hike. We went at the end of April. A lot of snow and ice near the top. It even started snowing very heavily for about 15 minutes. The trail is hard to follow at times. Always find the river! If you stay with it you will be fine. The lake is beautiful and worth the work. Beginning and end are fairly steep. Don’t give up!

The trail is clear of snow, hard to follow at times because there are many off-shoots. Alltrails app was intermittent with Verizon service so I was able to use it with some success to get to the lake.

Lovely trail. Washrooms available at the start. Picnic tables at several points around the trail!

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

hiking
9 days ago

Had never been here before and was expecting a lot of trash. Apparently they've cleaned up the area recently as we encountered very little little litter throughout the hike. The lake is a pretty oasis amongst the badlands and occasional cottonwood tree. A very exposed hike with very little shade - It was hot even in May. Enjoyable but best avoided at the height of summer.

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
10 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.

Awesome trail ! Just hiked this with my husband today (mid may). A little snow but nothing we couldn't do in waterproof hiking boots ! It was steep at the beginning and at the end, relatively flat for the mid mile and a half. Took us about 4.5 hours including sitting and having lunch at the lake, and getting lost ! It wasn't well marked but following the map on all trails and talking to a few other hikers we figured it out. Well worth the time ! Start at Winsor trail sign follow 254 (other side of Parking lot - a little further down from the ski basin)

on Deception Peak

hiking
11 days ago

May 2018. This year certainly has been one filled with false pretenses. Things, people, places, aren't always what or who they seem to be. Today Deception Peak was a last minute decision (thought I was going for a long bike ride). I thought if I make it to the top, I'll do my little ceremonial dance, thank the universe that I'm healthy enough to be up here and say "good riddens" to ALL the deception vibrating around me this year. Deception Peak here I am....I need a word with you.
Follow the trail from the start of Winsor at the SF Ski basin. Once you get to the gate, it's not marked but do take the trail to the right to the Pecos Widerness. The trail will run adjecent to the fence line for some distance. There is lots of rock a tree roots so watch your step. About half the way up, the trail does become harder to locate but follow your GPS and you should be just fine. The trail is mostly shaded- a light jacket is recommended. It does get windy at the top once you come out of the tree line.
Okay, false summit... but that's the whole point right - why else be here if I wasn't absolutely enjoying myself. I'm here.. guess I'll head over to Lake Peak and check that out too. Just about made it to Lake Peak but the trail that runs on the back side of Deception Peak was a bit too unsafe for me or I missed the safer trail.
Anyway, I did my dance, performed a couple of Qi Gong poses, tossed my resentment into the wind, and headed back.

hiking
16 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

The lake area was totally free of snow this past weekend. The hike length in was just right for my seven-year-old daughter. (She was beginning to complain in the last mile before we got there, but she still had the energy to explore the lake.) We spent the night and headed back the next morning. Note that signs along the trail do not direct you to Stewart lake. Instead they tell you the trail name and/or the trail number. If you know the trail numbers to get to Stewart Lake from the Cowles parking lot (Trail #271 and #251), you should be able to find your way. Also, you come to a small pond on trail #251 right before you reach Stewart lake. You need to go another, say, 0.25 miles to reach Stewart Lake.

backpacking
19 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.

The trail is a good stretch of the legs. Not too much for wildlife but did see a few deer, osprey and a lizard. The trail is lined with piles of down timber, hundreds if not thousands of piles.

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

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