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Wheeler Peak Summit Trail #67 - 4 members in 4 triplogs have rated this an average 5 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Sep 13 2019
LindaAnn
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 Guides 44
 Routes 384
 Photos 3,706
 Triplogs 1,238

40 female
 Joined Dec 24 2007
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Wheeler Peak via Williams LakeNorth Central, NM
North Central, NM
Hiking avatar Sep 13 2019
LindaAnn
Hiking8.86 Miles 3,037 AEG
Hiking8.86 Miles   5 Hrs   16 Mns   1.93 mph
3,037 ft AEG      41 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Got started from the Williams Lake Trailhead just before 6:45am. The first part of the trail winds through the ski resort then it appears the lower part of the trail has been recently rerouted. Great trail conditions for the first mile. Once back on the original trail, it has a lot of exposed rock and tree roots for about a mile. About two miles in, I reached the split in the trail—left for Wheeler, straight for Williams Lake. I had no interest in seeing the lake, so I continued to head uphill. The trail switchbacks up the mountain, and as the switchbacks tighten, the trail gets steeper. The last half mile up to the saddle at 13,000’ is quite steep. But overall, the trail is in good shape.

The wind was howling at the saddle, so I put a hat and gloves on, and headed up to the Wheeler summit. I sat in the wind shelter and had a snack and took some pictures. I was the first person up there today, so I had the summit all to myself. Headed back down to the saddle, then up to Mt Walter real quick before heading back down the mountain.

Once below the saddle, the winds started to die down, and I started to finally see other hikers. Everyone was friendly and chatty. Nice trail, and easier than Humphreys from Snowbowl. Saw deer, squirrels, chipmunks, pikas, and marmots. The wildflowers are probably a week past prime up there, but still saw quite a nice display.
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Sep 10 2019
DixieFlyer
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 Guides 45
 Routes 426
 Photos 5,682
 Triplogs 386

male
 Joined Jan 07 2017
 Fountain Hills,
Wheeler Peak via Bull of the Woods TrailNorth Central, NM
North Central, NM
Hiking avatar Sep 10 2019
DixieFlyer
Hiking16.20 Miles 4,616 AEG
Hiking16.20 Miles   9 Hrs      2.17 mph
4,616 ft AEG   1 Hour   33 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I have been eyeing Wheeler Peak for a while, and after hiking in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado for a few days, on my way back to the VOS I decided to swing by Taos Ski Valley and bag the New Mexico High Point.

I did an out-and-back hike starting at the Bull of the Woods Trail #90. The first part of the hike was through forests that were nice but didn't have any views. Once I got near 12,000' I was above the treeline and hiked a few miles in alpine meadows, which had some really nice views. There were 3-4 false summits, and I didn't actually see Wheeler Peak until I was almost there. The trail took me right over Mount Walter, which is only about 25 feet lower than Wheeler Peak.

This was a nice but strenuous hike -- the distance and elevation gain are similar to hiking Humphreys Peak from the Inner Basin.
Named place
Named place
Wheeler Peak
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I'd rather die of exhaustion than die of starvation.
2 archives
Jul 13 2019
LJW
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 Photos 672
 Triplogs 188

26 male
 Joined Jun 02 2019
 Phoenix, AZ
Wheeler Peak via Williams LakeNorth Central, NM
North Central, NM
Hiking avatar Jul 13 2019
LJW
Hiking11.96 Miles 3,980 AEG
Hiking11.96 Miles   5 Hrs   27 Mns   2.79 mph
3,980 ft AEG   1 Hour   10 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Friend of mine wanted to visit Taos, as he hadn't been in eight years. I said I'd tag along if we could take a shot at Wheeler. Ended up visiting Williams Lake and the Summit of Wheeler Peak together before I took off along the ridge to get to Old Mike Peak.

We were at the trailhead twenty or thirty minutes before sunrise. Rushed the first two miles through the dark, mossy forest of old mixed conifers in order to watch the sunrise at Williams Lake. We took pictures and watched the sun rise on the peaks upside-down in the still, reflective waters of Williams Lake.

The views got progressively better until the trail rose from the treeline, and then the views and surrounding landscape became utterly breathtaking. From the treeline and up we passed maybe twenty marmots and ten pika. The marmots let me get up real close, and really all of the animals we encountered were not very skittish around people. There were a few big snowdrifts that the trail crossed over on the way to the peak in the grassy slopes above the treeline.

The altitude made the final set of switchbacks a little slow going, but the trail really never reached a grade that was uncomfortable. Made it to the ridge and saw a few people taking pictures and heading back down. We had the peak to ourselves and were the third group to summit. Caught our breath for a little while before I headed off down the ridge toward Simpson. I'm not sure how anyone can make it up to the top of Wheeler and resist the urge to go out along the ridge to Old Mike.

To me, the few miles to and from Old Mike and Wheeler were the best part of the trip. The Blue Lake was interesting to see in person. Its turquoise color is striking in contrast to the area it's nestled in. There were two mountain goats and a big horn sheep enjoying the views with me and another person from the top of Mike.

Clouds started to form while I was on the way up Old Mike and were getting heavier as I rushed back to Wheeler Saddle. Made a side trip to Walter Peak before heading down. I was down in the canyon by Williams Lake at 10:30am when the first thunder of the day broke. It continued on until shortly after I made it back to the trailhead.

The trail from Wheeler summit back to the trailhead was pretty crowded, but there was hardly anyone on the trail in the early morning. Lost track of the marmot/pika count, but I think it ended up around 40 and 15 respectively.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
2 archives
May 28 2018
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 24
 Routes 301
 Photos 8,655
 Triplogs 815

38 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Wheeler Peak via Williams LakeNorth Central, NM
North Central, NM
Backpack avatar May 28 2018
friendofThundergod
Backpack16.11 Miles 5,243 AEG
Backpack16.11 Miles
5,243 ft AEG
 
1st trip
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.
Fauna
Fauna
Bighorn Sheep
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1 archive
average hiking speed 2.3 mph

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.

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