Fraser Mountain, also known by Frazer Mountain lies in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains which run 225 miles from Salida, CO to Santa Fe, NM. People often climb this peak from the Bull-of-the-Woods Trail en route to Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico. Fraser Mountain has excellent views of the La Cal Basin, and of the Taos Ski Valley. There are tons of Big Horn Sheep in the area, and if you go earlier in the year you should be able to get close to them. Later in the season they start to get wary of hikers and tend to keep their distance.
From Taos, New Mexico: Drive four miles north on New Mexico state road #522. At about four miles, and at the first traffic light out of town, turn right (east) on NM 150 and drive for 15 miles until reaching the Taos Ski Valley ski area. Take your first left after the Taos Ski valley sign and follow it to the trailhead. Take the Bull-of-the-Woods Trail 90 about five miles in, and before you drop into the La Cal Basin, turn right off of the trail and walk a couple hundred feet to the top.
Fraser Mountain is located in the Wheeler Peak Wilderness area in the Questa Ranger District of the Carson National Forest. No fees or permits are required to hike, climb, or camp. There is a 14 day camping limit in the Carson National Forest. There is apparently no overnight parking in the winter months at the trailhead. The wilderness area begins on the Bull-of-the-Woods Trail between Bull-of-the-Woods Mountain and Fraser Mountain. The first three miles of the Bull-of-the-Woods Trail is on private property so please respect their property and stay on the trail. All wilderness rules apply including no mountain bikes, ATVs, or other vehicles.
There are several Forest Service Campgrounds available on NM 150 before getting to the Taos Ski Valley. These include Lower Hondo, Cuchillo De Medio, Cuchillo, Italianos, and Twining. Most can accommodate trailers and tents, and have water and toilets. Twining campground is located at the Bull-of-the-Woods trailhead, and is a great place to camp to get a early start in the morning. Backcountry camping is allowed anytime without a permit in the Wheeler Peak Wilderness area. Just past two miles in, right after you pass the stream the second time, there is a nice place to set up a camp if doing Fraser Mountain, or Wheeler Peak as an overnighter. If you intend to continue on from Fraser Mountain to Wheeler Peak, the La Cal Basin would be an excellent choice to set up camp. The La Cal Basin is just after you drop down from Fraser Mountain on the Bull-of-the-Woods trail to Wheeler Peak. There is a stream where you can get water, and tons of places to pitch a tent.
When to Climb
Late May through November is considered the best time to climb Fraser Mountain. Winter storms can occur as late as May, and some snow patches along the trail can linger into Jun. June is considered a dry month, and can get pretty warm, so bring plenty of water. July and August are the typical monsoon season, with afternoon thunderstorms being a daily occurrence. September through early November are also dry months with several continuous days of cool, dry, and clear skies. However, storms, rain, hail, and snow can occur in any month. Thunderstorms are an extreme danger in the afternoon, so be sure to be below treeline by 1pm or 2pm at the latest. Make sure you get a good weather forecast before starting an adventure in the Sangre de Cristo's, because the weather can change fast, and without notice.
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