The Wheeler Peak Trail is a 7.3 mile trail that begins at the Taos Ski Valley parking lot and ends on the summit of Wheeler Peak
Trail Condition: Excellent
The Wheeler Peak Trail begins on the east side of the main parking lot of the Taos Ski Valley. It climbs steeply, parallel to a small creek. There are a few other trails that come in here, but remain along the creek climbing upstream on its west side. The trail switchbacks at one point and then crosses over the creek to the east side.
Fairly soon, you’ll reach a trail junction with the Long Canyon Trail – Trail #63. At this point, the Wheeler Peak trail joins an old forest road that continues to climb steeply. A meadow will emerge on the right until you eventually reach an open area at another trail junction.
Turn right here to remain on the 2-track forest road and continue to climb along the road as it wraps around the west side of Bull-of-the-Woods Mountain.
After a little while, the trail becomes single trail again as it slowly climbs, contouring around westside of the ridge until it crosses over just below the peak of Fraser Mountain. From here, the trail enters the Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area and descends to a creek in La Cal Basin, the last water source on the trail.
Enjoy the protection of the trees before resuming your ascent up the large, open western face of the basin. The switchbacks make the climb easier, but you will likely start to feel the elevation. Look and listen for the chirping of marmots that are common along this section. Look and listen for the chirping of marmots that are common along this section.
From this point on, the views are fantastic as you hike the final mile to Wheeler Peak. Wheeler Peak is not all that dramatic as a mountain by itself, but the ridge it sits upon is fantastic.
To read more about the Wheeler Peak Trail, see my trip report from the Wheeler Peak Loop.