Bull of the Woods Trail

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New Mexico, United States, North America
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Time Required:
Half a day
Walk Up

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Created On: Jan 24, 2003
Last Edited On: Dec 9, 2003


The hike up Gold Hill begins at the parking lot of the Taos Ski Valley. Look for the sign marking the trailhead, which is on the left side of the parking lot as you are driving in.

Route Description

The hike up Gold Hill on the Bull of the Woods Trail is relatively straightforward in terms of routefinding. The peak can be hiked in a day, but be sure to be below tree line before afternoon thunderstorms roll in. In other words, an early start is essential.

From the trailhead, head Northeast on the heavily used Trail No. 90 The first mile or so of the trail is on private property. Be sure to stay on the trail on this section. You will also encounter a number of confusing side trails, but simply stay on the widest, most worn trail and you will be fine. Alan Ellis adds the following updated information: At least two of the confusing side trails have little signs indicating a horse trail. Ignore these and continue up the valley following the most well-worn trail.

The first mile or so can be kind of a nasty slog, particularly if it is muddy, what with all the horse poop you will likely encounter. Take heart, though, as the trail is quite nice further up.

The trail heads up along a creekbed in a fairly deep valley. After a mile or so, a smaller canyon to the west (left) enters the deep valley. This is known as Long's Canyon. Trail No. 63 follows Long's Canyon, and you can take this trail to Gold Hill. Or, you can continue hiking up the deep valley, catch a different trail to Gold Hill, and return via Long's Canyon.

If you decide to take the Long's Canyon trail, simply follow Trail 63 northwest as it ascends the bottom of the Canyon. After about two miles, the trail climbs out of the Canyon and then makes a sharp (almost 180 degree) turn to the southeast (right). After a short distance, it begins to veer to the east and intersects Trail 64, which leads to Gold Hill. Turn left (north) on trail 64 and follow it for about another mile or so over the South Ridge of Gold Hill and up to the summit.

If you decide not to take Long's Canyon trail on the ascent (you can save it for the descent), follow the original trail (trail 90) up to the top fo the deep valley, where it reaches the Bull of the Woods Pasture after about two miles. Here you will find a number of excellent campsites.

At the Bull of the Woods Pasture, trail 90 makes a sharp turn to the southeast, and trail 64 veers off of trail 90 and heads to the northwest. From this pont, follow trail 64 to the northwest. The trail ascends through pine groves and eventually emerges from the tree line into beautiful meadows above tree line, where you will likely find cows grazing in summer.

After about two miles, trail 63 intersects trail 64 from the left. Trail 63 is the one that leads down Long's Canyon. I recommend taking this trail on the descent, instead of followng trail 64 all the way back to the BOTW pasture. Keep following trail 64 until, after about three miles after leaving trail 90, you reach the summit of Gold Hill.

jastont1998 adds the following: "Beware of the latter portion of the trail to Gold Hill, which is very steep, and also very deceptive. At least twice you will be utterly convinced that you have arrived at the summit, only to find that you have a significant distance remaining to go. Be careful, don't overexert too early. You will know when you are finally there. "

To descend, turn around on trail 64 and follow it down until you reach the intersection with trail 63. Turn right (southeast) on trail 63 and follow it down Long's Canyon until it intersects trail 90, which is the trail you came in on. Turn right on trail 90 and follow it down for a mile or so to the parking lot.

Essential Gear

Rain gear in summer, even if the morning looks clear.

In winter, dress appropriately and bring snowshoes or skis for the approach.

I highly recommend the "Latir Peak and Wheeler Peak Wildernesses" map, published by the Forest Service.

Miscellaneous Info

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

Bull of the Woods Trail

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