Wheeler Peak

based on 172 tracks & routes #1 hike out of 10 in
4.2 mi
1 hrs 42 min
2,883 ft
Elev Gain


This is a difficult one way trail to Wheeler Peak in Carson National Forest, right on the edge of Taos Ski Valley.

The trail climbs consistently up, and as can be expected, it gets steeper as you get closer to the top.

Once you get past the construction zones and enter Carson National Forest, expect continuous strikingly-beautiful views.

The trail surface is varied. You'll start hiking over packed dirt and lots of exposed roots. At the junction where you'll turn away from the lake and start the steep climb to the peak, the trail is a pleasant mix of packed dirt and gravel. Once you ascend above the tree line, the trail becomes very rocky and you'll cross large sections of rock slides.

Getting Started

Currently (October of 2018) the "hikers' parking lot" is very well marked. There is a lot of construction going on, and compared to even recent maps, the roads and parking lots aren't correct. Follow maps towards the Phoenix Grill, and then follow signs for the hikers parking lot and Williams Lake.

Taking Children

The trail is very difficult because of the altitude, the steep grade, the rocky terrain, and the exposure. (The last mile is above the timber line.) Other than the potential for altitude sickness, though, there's nothing particularly dangerous about the trail. (There are no cliffs for kids to fall off or high potential for getting lost.)

Kids that have experience hiking 8+ miles, and who aren't fazed by bad weather will likely enjoy the accomplishment.

Sights to See

    Rate this Hike

    nate.weng 3 months, 3 weeks ago
    This is still my favorite hike of the 30 completed state highpoints. Gorgeous views! Planned on Camping at the lake, but found the area completely picked over of firewood. From the lake to the summit it is very steep until reaching the saddle.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile stars
    The Kid 7 months, 2 weeks ago
    I loved it. I brought my eight-year-old. It was a challenge for him primarily because the weather at the top was brutal. Cold and foggy with 50 mph winds. Gorgeous hike. Maybe my new favorite in NM.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Public Tracks

Michael Coradini 11 months ago
dansnyder2 11 months, 2 weeks ago
MarkSOrtiz 11 months, 2 weeks ago
David Barger 12 months ago
JordanFiveOh 1 year ago
gwando 1 year, 3 months ago
ashmorec 1 year, 6 months ago
Jon MacManus 1 year, 7 months ago
ambrenner 2 years, 7 months ago
Jim Sesser 2 years, 8 months ago
john.berg.44 2 years, 9 months ago
Brad Sprague 2 years, 10 months ago
sharris0001 2 years, 10 months ago
dashmore 4 years, 9 months ago
danthemanmj2 4 years, 11 months ago