Wheeler Peak Trail near Taos, New Mexico

Wheeler Peak, Taos Ski Valley, Carson National Forest, New Mexico
View north from Wheeler Peak. Taos Ski Valley at lower left. On the horizon, mountains in Colorado.


Wheeler Peak is the highest point in New Mexico, at 13,161 feet above sea level. The Wheeler Peak Summit Trail (No. 67) is is well-groomed and popular with both people and their dogs. As an older hiker, I took four hours to cover the roughly 5 miles and 3,000 feet from the Bavarian Lodge in Taos Ski Valley to the summit. The trip back took a little over two and a half hours. You can see my YouTube video of the hike by clicking here.


This is a pure hike, no climbing gear needed, but I was glad to have two trekking poles when navigating scree and patches of snow. Also, remember that you'll be on a high mountain where the weather can change in minutes, so be prepared for worse conditions than you expect.


To do the hike, use my Williams Lake Trail page to get yourself to the junction of that trail and the Wheeler Peak Summit Trail. At the junction (36 deg. 33.563 min. N, 105 deg. 25.891 min. W), the summit trail begins with a climbing left turn. The first part of the summit trail is a steady but pleasant climb through the trees. The local treeline is discontinuous so you'll start getting views before you leave the last of the trees. Follow the trail to the summit ridge, then turn south (right) to reach Wheeler Peak. Complete the hike by retracing your steps to your car. 


Wheeler Peak, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Carson National Forest, Taos, New Mexico
The lower part of this monument on Wheeler Peak includes a summit log.


Along the Williams Lake Trail and the lower part of the Wheeler Peak Summit Trail, you can follow the trail even if you can't see it (think snow) by following the blue paint blazes on trees. In the warm months, the trail between treeline and Wheeler Peak should be obvious and easy to follow. I'll throw in a few coordinates for a GPS, since conditions (snow, fog, dark) might cause you to lose the trail. These directions are for uphill. At 36 deg. 33.491 min. N, 105 deg. 25.442 min. W the trail begins a long switchback to the NNE that takes you beyond the last of the trees. At 36 deg. 33.772 min. N, 105 deg. 26.267 min. N, the trail bends south and you soon cross your first patch of scree. At 36 deg. 33.539 min. N, 105 deg. 25.185 min. W, a series of smaller switchbacks takes you up to the summit ridge, which you reach at 36 deg. 33. 572 min. N, 105 deg. 24.911 min. W. Follow the ridge south to Wheeler Peak, at 36 deg. 33.409 min. N, 105 deg. 25.016 min. W. 


Wheeler Peak, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Carson National Forest, Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico
View from Wheeler Peak