My wife and I climbed it on our 23rd wedding anniversary. The weather was perfect. We climbed via the Williams Lake/Wheeler Peak trail. This trail was tough for us since we live just above sea level. Many locals we met recommended the Bull of the Woods trail. They said it is much easier. After seeing the other trail from the summit I would have to agree that it looks easier. The WP summit trail increases in difficulty the higher you climb. So as your wearing down it takes more. But the view is well worth the effort!
Camped at Bull of the Woods trailhead, started hiking at 6am. Hit the top of Bull of the Woods Mtn., Frazer Mtn., and Mt. Walter on the way, on top in about 4 hrs. Instead of following the trail through LaCal Basin, we took the ridge directly to Mt. Walter which was a little more interesting. Saw 42 sheep (6 rams), 40 elk, and a couple mulies along the way. Only a couple patches of snow to walk through. Probably a dozen people on the summit with us. Headed down Williams Lake trail, dozens more people at the lake and headed up this trail, kind of surprising. Then walked down the road back to camp. It was a great hike with great views, weather, and lots of animals!
We took the Williams lake trail both ways, had great sunny weather all day. Started at 630am, 3.5 hours to summit. Spent 30 minutes up top, warming behind the rock wall (strong, cold wind). Ran into many friendly marmots along the way, and hungry ground squirrels at the summit. Hike gets tougher after you get past Williams lake, including several sections of scree. Make sure you take a left on the new trail BEFORE getting to the lake, we missed it and took old route straight up, leg burner..
Down in 2 hrs 15 minutes, so back to the truck by 1245pm. Snow drifts had softened, sinking up to mid thigh.
Great experience. Beautiful views.
Via the Bull of the Woods trail, you can bag one 12,000' peak (Fraser Mountain) and two 13ers -- Mt. Walter and Wheeler Peak, then shorten the return by descending to Williams Lake. If I did this again, I'd nail another 12,000' peak (Simpson) and 13er (Old Mike), which are within a mile of Wheeler.
Assuming, of course, that the weather holds. We got lucky on our day on the mountain -- the weather was relatively clear all day. The day before or the day after, rain and storms would have thwarted us.
One of my favorite state highpoints. 16 miles, a couple feet of snow. Lots of fun.
I cannot recommend highly enough purchasing a detailed topo map. There are numerous trail junctions, many of which are NOT marked whatsoever. Luckily my intuition prevailed.
Started at 4:30 a.m. and summited by 10:00. If I'd had a topo map, I would've considered taking the Williams Lake route on my return, but I (stupidly) did not do much research, nor did I have a map. I'd assumed the trail & summit were pretty straightforward, but I was mistaken.
I did find myself wondering whether the trail planners were on peyote at the time they designated the route. Bull-of-the-Woods is unnecessarily circuitous, particularly at La Cal Basin. Mixing it up and taking Williams Lake would've been a welcome change.
Beautiful and quite a lot of solitude. Well worthwhile even if it weren't a SHP. I saw a total of 5 people all day; 3 on their way down who summited for sunrise, and 2 on the way up later in the day.
i was kinda tired midways. very steep, but a group of approaching female climbers below me gave me the energy to finish. beautiful view.
Very cold and windy at the summit with a little bit of snow on the upper portions of the mountain. A worthwhile hike for sure!
Went up Bull of the Woods trail and descended via Williams Lake. We expected a pleasant late summer hike but encountered full winter conditions on the summit. It snowed 3-4" on the upper ridge with drifts up to my knees in some places. Temps were in the 30's. The wind was blowing 30mph and visibility was less than 100ft. We wern't fully prepared for that but pressed on wearing only summer hiking boots and lightweight raingear. This is my 46th state highpoint.
Great trip. Use the Williams Lake trail for a shorter route. A trail has actually been cut up the slopes of Wheeler Peak from the Lake. Cuts off 6 to 8 miles. I used Bull of the Woods, a long 14 miles. First 13er and new highest peak for me. BTW it is just a walk up...the trail goes to the summit. Via this route no scrambling needed.
Me and my German Shepherd made the hike up to Wheeler Peak. Our first 13er.
This one closed out my vacation spurt of HPs (Nebraska, Okla, Texas, N.M.), and what a nice way to go out. HP #9 for me, I took the Bull of the Woods there and back for about an 8-hour total round trip. Except for all the horse and cow dung on the trail (which attracted tons of butterflies to see at least), this was an awesome experience. Enjoyed returning to more New England-like terrain after Okla and Texas. Came upon a big herd of cattle that seemed confused by my presence. Like the bonus Mt. Walter 13'er peak too. Tremendous views, and only one real windy stretch.
Post-holed up to above La Cal basin, turned around due to tight schedule and slow-going. Beautiful mountain though. I'll be back.
Busy day up on wheel chair peak. Great new trail from williams lake trail. Too bad people short cut the switchbacks.
A rollercoaster of altitude and weather.
Left from Las Cruces (Elevation 4,000ft) early in the morning and got to the trail at 11. When I got to the ridge a thunderstorm rolled in so I ran down to the tree line and waited it out. After about an hour of pouring rain and hail the storm passed. After that I went to the summit. My lungs felt terrible. gaining over 9,000 feet in less than half a day kills the lungs. It was still worth it though.
Went up Bull of the Woods, and down Williams lake. The last two miles on the road were pretty rough on the legs. Lots of marmots and bighorn sheep to keep you company. My 10th state HP!
I hiked up Wheeler Peak with my Dad in the late 90s.
Made it before dark!
Started a little later than we wanted (8:30) but had a good day and the afternoon storms never really amounted to much. The route is pretty long at over 15 miles and we had flown in from Minneapolis the night before so the altitude played a bigger role than normal for us. The sheep were everywhere. We were walking right through herds of a dozen or more multiple times. Pretty cool.