Hiking Trails

Taos Ski Valley is well known for its many hiking trails on forest service land. The area is covered with Aspen, Englemann and Blue Spruce, Western White Fir and rarely seen Red Fir, and Bristlecone Pine. Taos County is home to herds of Bighorn Sheep, Rocky Mountain Elk, and Mule Deer, and is covered with thousands of varieties of wildflowers, plants and other animal life. Below are the trails that are near Taos Ski Valley.

Precautions: 
Beware of lightning on the ridges. Since you will probably be the highest point around, get off the ridge if thunderclouds are overhead. Leave early in the morning in order to avoid the early afternoon thunder shower. Be sure to take proper clothing, boots, water and poles.

Williams Lake Trail #62

Distance: 2.0 miles | Elevation: 10,200' - 11,100' | Access: From the hiker parking lot the trail passes the Bavarian Lodge at the bottom of the chair lift #4 and follows the east side of Lake Fork Creek for approximately ¼ mile.  Follow the old road along the east side of the creek.  You are on private land for approximately another ¼ mile, please stay on the trail.

Description: The trail begins in Engelmann spruce stands and near the upper end opens up into meadow land and scattered rock fields.  Williams Lake is a natural lake which does not have fish because it freezes in winter.  Camping and campfires are not permitted along the lake shore to prevent damage to soil and water quality.  Trail map


Long Canyon/Bull of the Woods Trail #63

Distance: 3.6 miles | Elevation: 9,400' - 11,900' | Access: Continue through the ski area parking lot to the Twining Campground.  Parking is available adjacent to the campground.  There is no parking permitted beyond this point.  At the trail head there is a map of the wilderness including trails.  Long Canyon Trail splits to the left off of Trail #90 approximately 1 ¼ mile from the Twining trail head.

Description: Mixed conifers characterize this trail located north of the Taos Ski Valley.  Long Canyon Trail climbs steadily gaining 2,600 feet in elevation.  The upper reaches of the trail are steep and more difficult. This trail provides access to Goose Lake, Gold Hill, and Lobo Peak Trails.  Look for rock cairns as you reach the top to guide you up the ridge. Trail map


Wheeler Peak Trail #90

Distance: 7.3 miles | Elevation: 9,400' - 13,131' | Access: Continue through the ski area parking lot to the Twining Campground. Parking is available adjacent to the campground. There is no parking permitted beyond this point. At this trail head, there is a sign showing the wilderness including trails.

Description: The trail starts in a northeastward direction toward the Bull-of-the-Woods Pasture. The first section follows the forest boundary until you reach Bull-of-the-Woods Pasture, a distance of two and a quarter (2.25) miles. Near the pasture the trail intersects with Gold Hill Trail. Stay on the road that ascends southeast toward Bull-of-the-Wood Mountain. Please be courteous - You are on private land! From Bull-of-the-Woods Mountain you will be traveling at or above timberline. The trail is very well defined. You will come across the La Cal Basin which offers some camping areas and an opportunity to rest before you start your final ascent up Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico, elevation 13,161 feet. No technical climbing gear is needed. On the Wheeler Peak summit, you are "at the top of the world;" on a clear day the view in all directions is spectacular. Trail map


Gavilan Trail # 60

Distance: 2.4 miles | Elevation: 9,000' - 11,200' | Access: Approximately 1.5 miles west from the Taos Ski Valley Parking lot, located on NM State Highway 150 (the road to Taos Ski Valley).  The trail borders private land on the east side at the trailhead.  Limited parking is available, and restricted to the area west of the private land.

Description: Mixed conifers characterize this trail located on the south facing slope of the Rio Hondo Canyon.  This trail is located mostly along the west Gavilan Creek and ascends quickly. The first section of this trail is difficult, but becomes relatively easier as the trail opens up into meadows towards the ridge.
Trail Map


Italianos Canyon Trail #59

Distance: 3.5 miles | Elevation: 8,700' - 11,400" | Access: Trail begins 3 miles east from the Upper Cuchilla Campground, located on NM State Highway 150 on the way to Taos Ski Valley.  Parking is available at the trailhead located at the end of short access road.

Description: Mixed conifers characterize this 3.5 mile trail located on the south facing slope of the Rio Hondo Canyon.  Like most trails in this area, Italianos Trail follows the canyon bottom most of the time.
Trail map


Manzanita Canyon Trail #58

Distance: 4.2 miles | Elevation: 8,350' - 11,800' | Access: Trail begins two miles northeast of the Upper Cuchilla Campground, on NM State Highway 150 on the way to the Taos Ski Valley.  Parking is very limited at the trailhead.

Description: Mixed conifers characterize this 4.2 mile trail located on the south facing slope of the Rio Hondo Canyon.  The trail, which follows the Manzanita Canyon bottom most of the way climbs steadily. This trail provides access to Lobo Peak, Flag Mountain, and Gold Hill.  Trail 58 and Trail 61 come to a junction at the ridge and leads right into Lobo Peak Trail 57.  Trail map


Yerba Canyon Trail #61

Distance: 4.0 miles | Elevation: 8,400' - 12,115' | Access: Trail begins one mile east of Upper Cuchilla Campground, on NM State Highway 150, (the road to Taos Ski Valley). Parking is available at the trailhead located at the end of the short access road.

Description: This trail, characterized by an abundance of aspen and willows in the lower elevation and spruce and fir toward the ridge is located on the south facing slope of the Rio Hondo Canyon. The trail, which follows the Yerba Canyon bottom most of its length. Trail map