Welcome to SP!  -
Williams Lake Trail
Route

Williams Lake Trail

 

Page Type: Route

Location: New Mexico, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 36.56250°N / 105.414°W

Object Title: Williams Lake Trail

Route Type: Steep Hike -or- Basic Snow (Winter)

Time Required: Most of a day

Difficulty: Class 2

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes
 

 

Page By: Alan Ellis

Created/Edited: Oct 6, 2004 / Aug 4, 2008

Object ID: 162410

Hits: 6759 

Page Score: 71.06%  - 1 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

Overview

Although not very scenic, this route is a quick way to get to the summit of Mount Walter. This is typically a summer route. It can easily be completed before noon if you get a sunrise start. Expect crowds on the trail in summer. In winter, beware of extreme avalanche danger both on the trail to Williams Lake and on the slope to the Mount Walter/Wheeler Peak ridge.

Approach

The key is to get to the Phoenix Grill restaurant about a 1000 ft higher than the entrance to the ski area. Again, stay left and drive past the RV Parking lot and the Twining Campground on the right. The paved road (NM 150) will end at this point and a dirt road begins. This is Twining Road. Drive up this dirt road as it switchbacks for about 1.5 miles until reaching the Phoenix restaurant where you can park. Head for the Kachina #4 ski lift directly in front (south) and uphill of the Phoenix. At the ski lift, bear left and hike uphill about a 100 yds until you see the sign for Williams Lake. If in doubt about finding the road up to The Phoenix or the Williams Lake trailhead, ask around. The folks at Taos Ski Valley and the Phoenix are very friendly.

Route Description

From the Phoenix, head directly up the dirt road toward the Kachina #4 ski lift. Hike under the chair lifts and reach the wilderness boundry sign where the trail begins. Remember that you are on private property until reaching the wilderness sign.

Hike through the spruce forest about two miles until reaching Williams Lake. Don't go all the way to Williams Lake. If you reach the shore of Williams Lake, you've gone too far. Instead, look to the left (east) and note the ridge above you. Just before reaching the lake, the trail will bear left (east) and turn into a faint climber's trail. This trail heads up the steep slope to the small saddle between Mount Walter to the north and the Wheeler Peak summit to the south. It's almost a 2000 ft climb from Williams Lake to the ridge. Once on the ridge, go left (north) for a short hike to the summit of Mount Walter. Descend the same route or do a loop via the Bull-of-the-Woods trail to the south.

Essential Gear

Standard day hike gear. Snow shoes for winter or early season climbs.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.

Images

Columbine center pieceWheeler Peaksore knee routeWilliams Lake Trail