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Trail Tails From Taos

Williams Lake Trail 

This trail was a perfect introduction for us to hiking in the Taos Ski Valley. We first hiked this trail in April. There was still snow on the ground and micro-spikes were helpful for a few icy sections in the woods. The lake was still frozen when we visited but the surrounding cirque was beautiful. On a side note this trail heads out from The Bavarian Restaurant at the base of Lift 4. It was closed when we hiked. But if you are visiting during the ski season it could be a great place to to stop for lunch or  apres hike!

Trail – 4.2 miles out and back

Elevation Gain – 1,030 ft.

Season – Recommended May through September

Difficulty – Moderate

Water – Recommended to bring water for your pups. One stream at the start and no further water noted along the trail until the lake.

Shade – The majority of the trail is through the forest. The last portion of the trail and at the lake is exposed.

Leash – Dogs are welcome and may be off leash in some areas.

On the Williams Lake Trail.

Wheeler Peak Trail

Brewster and I summited Wheeler Peak (the highest mountain in New Mexico at 13,161 ft.) on our girls trip (without Joel or Ansel) to Taos the first week in November. We set out for Williams Lake (mentioned above) below Wheeler Peak thinking we would get a glimpse of the lake this time. But the weather was perfect for a summit and I always seem to pack for an expedition. And, well, Brewie had already turned left to head up the trail. So we went for it! The views at the top were outstanding! And we did end up finally seeing Williams Lake – just from above.

Trail – 8.5 miles out and back

Elevation Gain – ~3000 ft.

Season – Recommended June through October

Difficulty – Difficult

Water – Definitely recommended to bring water for your pups. One stream at the start and no additional water observed beyond that.

Shade – The beginning of the trail is through the forest (and followers the Williams Lake Trail). However, a majority of the trail (and steepest portion) is exposed to sun / weather.

Leash – Dogs are welcome and may be off leash in some areas.

Potential Hazards – Make sure to be aware of the weather as thunderstorms can move in quickly during the summer.

Brewster on the summit of Wheeler Peak.

Bull of the Woods Mountain Trail

We recently hiked this trail (April 2022). You set off from the upper parking lot of the Taos Ski Valley Resort. We have hiked from this trailhead previously – aiming to obtain another peak – and despite what the conditions are where you park and even if the weather has been indicating favorable trail conditions – we highly recommend snowshoes. About two miles in – both last time and this time – they undeniably make the hiking much easier. We had not brought snowshoes for the previous summit and as such had to turn around. But this time we attached them to our packs and were so happy to have done so! This trail is listed as popular – and it just may be during the busier seasons – however, we did not run into another hiker either at the trailhead or during the entire route! Which was pretty amazing. We even broke trail coming off the summit to make a loop on another trail option.

This trail also serves as another way to get to Wheeler Peak but increases the hike from 8.5 miles noted above to 14.5 miles and 4,550 ft elevation gain – but you also get to bag a few other peaks along the way.

And back to Bull of the Woods Mountain.

Trail – 6.2 miles out and back

Elevation Gain – ~2200 ft.

Season – Recommended June through October

Difficulty – Moderate

Water – Recommend bringing water though you will follow a stream for the initial part of the trail.

Shade – The majority of the trail has shade.

Leash – Dogs are welcome and may be off leash in some areas.

Brewster, Ansel and I on the summit of Bull of the Woods Mountain.
Breaking trail on the way down from the summit.