Since moving to New Mexico in 2012, my husband and I have summitted Wheeler Peak several dozen times. It is an experience worth repeating and no two summits have been the same. Always a challenge and always a reward.
Snow covered in late September, this is the highest peak in New Mexico. It is a spectacular view from the Enchanted Highway. A must do trip while in the Taos area.
There are two main routes to Wheeler Peak, both of which leave from the Taos Ski Valley. The first is along the Bull of the Woods trail which starts at a trailhead near the RV parking (just to the left as you enter the valley). This is a 7.5 mile trail with about 3600 feet of elevation gain. The other route leaves from the top of the Ski Valley and goes up to Williams Lake before ascending to the peak. It is just over four miles one way, with 3000 feet of elevation gain; shorter and steeper. I took Bull of the Woods in and Williams Lake down. This is a gorgeous hike and a fun one if you're an amateur highpointer like me. But be warned of a couple of things: First, if you take the Williams Lake trail in, the final two miles is extremely steep (you gain 1000 feet per mile for those two) and the last mile is across a scree rock face. Take hiking poles. Also, be prepared for the altitude. Altitude sickness is no joke. Know the warning signs. The summit is 13,161 feet in the air and there is only about 60% of the oxygen you would find at sea level. Finally, leave early, as there are often afternoon thundershowers and you really don't want to get caught above the treeline when lightning strikes. Great hike though, with lots of wildlife, especially on the less frequented Bull of the Woods side. I saw deer, quail, marmots, hawks, pheasant, chipmunks, squirrels and more. Views are spectacular on a clear day.
A jeep ride to Wheeler Peak is one of the most wonderful ways to see the mountain beauty and scenery that the Red River area has to offer.
This is a hike that you celebrate afterwards! It is steep and difficult and long, but beautiful and quite an accomplishment! I hiked this for the first time at 50, but hope to hike it again. LEAVE early. It rains, (or sleets) on the mountain top almost every afternoon. It is pretty miserable to get caught in this weather! But, what a story later!
We hiked in on the East Fork Trail, camped near the Lost Lake - Horseshoe Lake trail junction. We dayhiked to Wheeler the next day. In early July just before the monsoons kicked in the weather was glorious! We were able to get to the trailhead in a Prius but we had to take the last 1.6 miles very slow and easy.
Always a good choice. Wheeler Peak is gorgeous and autumn is a perfect time to visit.The color was breath taking.
We loved the view and would see it again tomorrow if we could. I would recommend taking your lunch to enjoy an afternoon of relaxation.
Got to the summit and it was breathtaking! You could see for miles! You could see Red River waaaaay down in the valley. We got to the top and it was raining in different parts of the valley...so pretty!!
There are four types of trout found around Red River and Wheeler Peak. Try your hand at fly fishing in the West Fork or East Fork, Middle Fork Lake, Lost Lake, and Horseshoe Lake.