Southern Rockies: Wheeler Peak, NM

Climb to the crown of the Sangre de Cristo Range.
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Climb to the crown of the Sangre de Cristo Range.

All Rocky Mountain Trips |
Southern Rockies: Truchas Traverse, NM |
Southern Rockies: Wheeler Peak, NM |
Southern Rockies: Twilight Peaks, CO |
Southern Rockies: Continental Divide Trail, CO

Start early to get up and down New Mexico’s highest peak before summer thunderstorms roll in. The 16-mile out-and-back gains 3,800 feet, ending with a long ridgewalk to Wheeler’s 13,161-foot summit. En route, you’ll likely see bighorn sheep and golden eagles (and brazen, pack-ravaging marmots—don’t leave your stuff unattended). Two routes start at Taos Ski Valley: Take the Bull of the Woods/Wheeler Peak Trail (it avoids the ski runs and steep talus slopes you’ll find on the Williams Lake Route).

The Way

From Taos, drive 19 miles northeast on NM 552 and NM 150. Continue beyond the Taos Ski Valley one mile to the Bull of the Woods trailhead, at Twining Campground.

Map

USGS quad Wheeler Peak ($8, store.usgs.gov)

Contact (575) 586-0520; fs.fed.us/r3/carson

Trip Databackpacker.com/hikes/563533