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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Williams Lake from Upper Trailhead, NM

no permit
100 11 0
Guide 11 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > North Central
3.5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 10,195 feet
Elevation Gain 965 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,285 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 11.33
Interest Perennial Creek
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
15  2019-07-13
Wheeler Peak via Williams Lake
18  2018-05-28
Wheeler Peak via Williams Lake
31  2010-08-17
Wheeler Peak #62 - #90 Shuttle
18  2010-08-16 gpsjoe
15  2010-08-16 Grasshopper
19  2008-09-05
Wheeler Peak #62 - #90 Shuttle
17  2006-07-04 slegal
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jul, Jun, Aug, Sep
Sun  5:49am - 5:59pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby

Likely In-Season!
Overview: Starting from the upper TH, the less than 2.5 mile one way Williams Lake Trail#62 hike is a popular midsummer stroll and/or an excellent winter snowshoe trip enjoyed by all ages. The 965 foot climb to the lake over a gentle pass at 11.1k feet greets you with a deep basin cirque lake completely surrounded by a jagged ring of peaks. Although the summit is not visible from the lake, Wheeler Peak- the state's highest point at 13,161 ft- forms the eastern rim of the Williams Lake cirque and offers an "unofficial" and popular use route from the lake up to the summit of Wheeler Peak (Note: this "use route" starts from the beginning east side of the lake at way point N36.55775 W105.42998).

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Review
    Williams Lake from Upper Trailhead
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Wheeler Peak Wilderness was the last stop for the pups and myself on our five day tour of north central New Mexico. We started the trip off with a backpack into the Pecos Wilderness, we followed that up with a filler hike in the Columbine Hondo Wilderness and then finished with this over night trip into Wheeler. The miles were intentionally low and the itinerary light in the interests of my aging pups.

    The plan called for starting at the upper Williams Lake trailhead and the Williams Lake Trail and then taking the Wheeler Peak Summit Trail to its intersection with trail #90 and then the summit. From there, we were to drop off the backside of Wheeler and head for Horseshoe Lake and camp.

    We got a relatively early start on what was a very cold morning, but I wanted a relatively early start to beat the crowds. Turns out, I only saw four hikers all day, two pairs that started at about the same time as me. Williams Lake has an amazing backdrop, but the lake itself is rather unspectacular. From the lake, it was the summit trail climb to Wheeler's distinct ridgeline. I will admit, the climb was a bit of a slog for me at times, as this was the first time I had carried a heavy pack up to 13K since Forester Pass and the John Muir Trail I believe. Nevertheless, I completed the full pack summit with the pups and we moved on down the ridge towards the Lost Lake Trail. Here I got a little indecisive and after mulling it over in my head and staring at it for five straight minutes, decided to turn around and head back to the ridgeline to bag Old Mike Peak. Simpson was on the way, so I naturally crossed that one off the list as well. Although, it was nice to snag a couple of extra peaks, my real motive was catching a glimpse of Blue Lake. A sacred lake that the local tribe wrestled back from the control of the federal government and now restricts access to only tribal members. The views of the lake were alright, but overall it was the views of the surrounding area not seen from Wheeler that made Old Mike Peak worth the waffling and detour.

    After our ridgeline walking peak extravaganza, we headed down to Horseshoe Lake, a barren little lake that sits just above the treeline and directly below the backside of Wheeler. On the way to the lake we saw a large herd of bighorn, which we watched for awhile before letting them go back to their business, which was just laying around for about half of them. It was immediately evident from the start that the wind would be a little too much and too cold to camp near the lake, so we opted for a site just within the trees and a little downhill on the Lost Lake Trail. At camp it was the usual chores, the usual food and the usual one way conversations with Cup and Blanco. I was a little restless and did not sleep well, perhaps it was from camping at nearly 12k or perhaps it was from the hounding wind and freezing temperatures. Needless to say, I had no problem getting out of that tent near first light the next morning and setting off for the trailhead around 6:30 a.m. The hike back was pretty standard. We cherry picked another peak (Mount Walter) and had another bighorn herd sighting. There were more people on the trail than I thought there would be on a Tuesday, which is further evidence of this areas popularity. Hit it early to beat the crowds and avoid the weekends if possible.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From the center of Taos, NM: Drive 4 miles north on NM 64 to the junction of NM 150 and NM64. Turn right onto NM150 and drive 15 winding road miles up to the upper parking lot of Taos Ski village. After the large welcoming sign on the left, turn into the large upper parking lot and follow it approx .3mls past this upper lot area to the Trail Head parking and Trail#90 start on the left side, just behind the wilderness information sign (Note: you are now at way point N36.59668 W105.44969); From this way point location "drive/follow the posted driving route" for 1.9 miles to end at the upper TH Parking and Trail Start for Williams Lake TR#62 (at way point N36.57938 W105.44003);
    page created by Grasshopper on Aug 30 2010 3:56 pm
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