Hiking

Trail Update August 2022

Hiking trails in Carson National Forest are all open. Recent monsoon rains has lowered fire risk to “low”. Visit the Chamber Visitor Chalet located at the upper level parking lot for trail maps and information.

AUGUST 22-26 ANNUAL CLOSURE: Williams Lake, Wheeler Summit and Wheeler Peak Trail at La Cal Basin will be closed to all trail users.

Hiking in Taos Ski Valley

Year-round, you’ll find unparalleled opportunities to take long walks at your own pace to see big views among the trees on trails that suit your fitness level. See all the trails in Taos Ski Valley on HikingProject.com – free GPS coordinates, descriptions, photos and other info.

Jump to Trail Maps

A man and woman hike in front of a rocky mountain face

Beginner & Recreational

Taos Ski Valley has several easy beautiful paths and parks to enjoy. The Base Area Loop is a signed 1-mile circuit in the resort base area which features a creek-side nature trail following the Rio Hondo. Kachina Vista Park (off of Twining Road) has gorgeous views of Kachina Peak and the Village. Rubezahl ski trail is a great way to connect the base area with the upper base area of the ski resort. Simply walk uphill from chairlift 1 at the Resort base and you’ll find yourself at Kachina Basin, home of The Bavarian and chairlift 4 (used as the scenic chairlift during the summer).

Down in the valley, just outside of the Town of Taos, is the West Rim Trail departing from the Rio Grande Gorge Visitor’s area. Let your cares melt away on this flat dirt/rock trail. Enjoy gorgeous 360 views and perfect photo opportunities of the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge from the rim of the Gorge and seas of sagebrush.

Intermediate – Challenging

The trails within the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness offer excellent potential for day hikes, overnight or multi-day backpacking adventures! These trails include the Yerba, Manzanita, Italianos and Gavilan Canyon trails accessed from Highway 150, and the Long Canyon and Gold Hill trails accessed from Bull of the Woods/Wheeler Peak Trail #90. You’ll find everything from low-angle narrow singletrack trails, steep-walled traverses, open meadows, two summits (Gold Hill at 12,711 ft. and Lobo Peak at 12,115 ft.), and high ridges with amazing views of the surrounding mountains and the Rio Grande Rift Valley.

Williams Lake Trail

Discover Williams Lake in all its glory! This popular intermediate-level, four-mile round trip hike from the Kachina Basin area follows a beautiful valley forested with Engelmann and blue spruce, western white fir, and rarely seen red fir and bristlecone pines can be found in the higher elevations. This is the most popular trail in our valley.

Wheeler Summit and Williams lake trail sign carved into wood

Wheeler Peak

Conquer New Mexico’s highest peak ~ this 13,161-foot summit can be accessed by either the Bull of the Woods/Wheeler Peak Trail #90 or Williams Lake Trail. Get an early start for this expert level tour. Dispersed camping is allowed, please stay at least 300 feet away from streams and lakes. Keep your eyes peeled for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mule deer and elk, and smaller forest critters like pine marten and ermine.

Bull of the Woods/Wheeler Peak Trail #90

This popular trailhead starts by the Twining Campground (at the upper level parking lot in the village). It’s an 8 mile hike through a steep canyon, across an old mining road on Bull of the Woods Mountain’s north slopes, then the route climbs above treeline and past the 12,163-foot Frazer Mountain summit. This route is popular among seasoned alpinists and peak-baggers, it’s a challenge to take on with determination and experience. It can get quite windy above treeline, pack extra layers and bring your sense of adventure! Avoid walking onto any snow cornices overhanging off the ridges.

Wheeler Peak Summit Trail #67

This trail begins along the Williams Lake Trail at the saddle just above the lake. The route climbs through old growth conifer forests, crosses several steep avalanche chutes then ascends above treeline onto a wide open glacial moraine at 12,000′. The trail makes some switchbacks up the steep western slope towards the ridge between Mount Walter and Wheeler, traversing scattered rock fields across open slopes. On a clear day you’ll be treated to incredible 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains, the Rio Grande Rift Valley and distant mountain ranges such as the Sangre de Cristo’s in Colorado.

Location

Northside Mtn Biking & Hiking at Taos Ski Valley

Northside Mtn Biking & Hiking at Taos Ski Valley

NORTHSIDE IS CURRENTLY CLOSED. Due to numerous downfall from the December wind event, and more forestry work, the Northside trails are closed until further notice. As a mapped and signed trail system designed especially for mountain biking, Northside is a looped trail network with spectacular overlooks, single and…

Taos Ski Valley, Inc.

Taos Ski Valley, Inc.

Taos Ski Valley, a world-renowned resort that is enjoyed year-round high up in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Ride the scenic chairlift in the summer or enjoy the vast terrain with skiing and snowboarding trails for all levels. Take the fastest way to the Rockies from Austin, Dallas,…

Precautions

  • Waterproof boots and hiking poles are recommended for high elevation hikes
  • Check the weather and bring extra layers to accommodate fluctuating daytime temps and wind
  • Be prepared for changing weather
  • Always carry extra water
  • Pack out anything you pack in
  • Bag dog waste and do not leave it on the trail; it should be removed and disposed of in an appropriate receptacle
  • Beware of lightning during storms and stay off the ridges if you hear thunder
  • Depart for day hikes early in the morning to return before the afternoon thunderstorms
  • Let someone know where you are going and check in with them when you come back
  • During the Spring and early Summer avalanche conditions may exist on certain aspects, be aware of the terrain you’re hiking in and assess conditions continuously as you travel

HikingProject.comfree GPS coordinates, descriptions, photos and other info for all Taos Ski Valley hiking trails

Carson National Forest – Taos Ski Valley Hiking Trails (Questa Ranger District)

Carson National Forest Dog Policy

Trail Name Print Map Distance
one way
Hiking Trail Horse Trail Cross Country Ski Trail Snowshoeing Wilderness Area Degree of Difficulty
Gavilan Trail 60 Map 3.3miles Yes Yes No Yes Yes Difficult
Gold HIll 64 Map 3.7miles Yes
X
No
X
Yes Moderate/Difficult
Italianos Canyon Trail 59 Map 3.6 miles Yes Yes No Yes Yes Moderate
Lobo Peak 57 Map 10.7 miles Yes No No Yes Yes Difficult
Long Canyon 63  Map 3.6 miles Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Moderate/Difficult
Manzanita Canyon Trail 58 Map 4.2 miles Yes Yes No Yes Yes Moderate
Wheeler Peak Summit 67 Map 2.2 miles Yes No No No Yes Expert
Bull Of The Woods/Wheeler Peak Trail 90 Map 7.3 miles Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Expert
Williams Lake Trail 62 Map 2 miles Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Intermediate
Yerba Canyon Trail Map 4 miles Yes No No Yes Yes Moderate/Difficult