Trail Update: Hiking Report from Taos Ski Valley

​Hike to Williams Lake, Summit the Tallest Mountain, Wheeler Peak or enjoy intermediate hiking trails in New Mexico

April 18, 2018 Hiking Area Report

Williams Lake Trail
While some of the Williams Lake trail has melted out and is clear of snow, there is still coverage along much of the trail. Through the forest to the upper meadows Spring conditions are prevalent, snowpack depth ranges from a few inches to 3+ feet in the deepest spots, with a couple downed trees to navigate around and lots of dirt and duff on the snow surface. The entire trail is hikeable though skiing most of the way is still possible, areas that receive sunlight during the day are drying out with rocks and bare ground exposed while cooler shaded areas are holding the deepest snow.

There is some ice still lingering where meltwater runs along the trail by the first meadow and at the spring near the middle of the trail, which is easily passable with light caution. Alongside bare ground below the signpost the lake is melting out, it’s recommended to avoid walking onto the ice and be cautious hiking around the southwest side of the lake where deeper snowdrifts that accumulated during winter are calving off from the rolling terrain surrounding the lake, there is water in the seasonal pools which develop beneath the snowpack. Avalanche hazard where the trail crosses the west facing chutes on the Frazier-Wheeler ridge has been mitigated due to lack of snow, most has melted on this side.

Wheeler Peak
Above the lake where the Wheeler Peak Trail #67 continues towards treeline the snowpack is variable in the trees, with intermittent patches of dry ground alongside the snowpacked trail. There are still a few slabs hanging around in the chutes near treeline, it is unlikely an avalanche will occur here but keep your eyes open for small storm slabs should we get mlore accumulation with the next round of predicted storms.

Weather Coming In
April 20 we have a predicted storm, 4 - 7 inches of snow is possible by Saturday night before things warm up a bit Sunday. Current forecast models show unsettled weather continuing through next week with light accumulations possible daily, with average Spring temperatures and light winds during the day and below freezing temps at night. Some lightning will also be possible especially during the afternoons, watch the sky and listen for thunder rumbling above the high peaks.

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Williams Lake

Discover Williams Lake in all its glory in the summertime, an intermediate-level, four-mile round trip hike from The Bavarian. The valley is forested with aspen, Englemann and blue spruce, western white fir, and rarely seen red fir and bristlecone pine. Lush meadows are colored with countless varieties of wildflowers and plants.

Wheeler Peak

Conquer New Mexico's highest peak. This 13,161-foot summit can be accessed by either Bull of the Woods Trail or Williams Lake Trail. Get a very early start for this expert level hike. Backcountry camping is allowed without a permit. Keep your eyes peeled for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, elk and mule deer. 


Waterproof boots and hiking poles are recommended for these high elevation hikes, with many trails still holding snow into early summer. Temperatures can vary greatly. Be prepared for cool weather and rain, and always carry extra water. Beware of lightning and stay off the ridges if thunderclouds are overhead. Depart for hikes early in the morning to avoid afternoon lightning and showers.

Carson National Forest - Taos Ski Valley Hiking Trails

Name of Trail Print Map
one way
Hiking Trail Horse Trail Cross Country Ski Trail Snowshoeing
Wilderness Area
Degree of Difficulty
Gavilan Trail
3.3miles X
X Intermediate/Expert
Italianos Canyon Trail 59
3.6 miles  X X   X X Intermediate
Long Canyon/Bull-Of-The-Woods
3.6 miles X X X X X Expert
Manzanita Canyon Trail 58
4.2 miles X X   X x Expert
Wheeler Peak Trail 90
8 miles X X X X X Expert
Williams Lake Trail 62
2 miles X X X X X Novice/Intermediate
Yerba Canyon Trail 61
3.9 miles X       X Expert


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