“A short and popular trail that has significant elevation gain. It is great for a quick out and back!”
— Bob Mosher
This trail takes you from mid-mountain on Taos Ski Valley to a popular scenic lake, about a third of the way to the summit of Wheeler Peak. Although it's a short run, you gain almost 1,000 ft of elevation over the ~2 miles.
Features: Fall Colors — Lake — River/Creek — Views
Need to Know
Although it's graded, the road to the trailhead is only accessible to vehicles with 4-wheel drive from November to April.
The trail is somewhat rocky so make sure that your shoes have proper support.
From the parking lot, the trail passes the Bavarian Lodge at the bottom of the Kachina Chairlift, Lift No. 4, and follows the east side of Lake Fork Creek for approximately a quarter mile. Follow the old road along the east side of the creek. You are on private land for approximately another quarter mile; please stay on the trail. The wilderness boundary is within half a mile. The trail begins in Engelmann spruce stands and near the upper end opens up into meadowland 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's shore to prevent damage to soil and water quality. Please select a campsite at least 300 feet from streams, springs, or lakes.
Several avalanche chutes are apparent along the trail. Winter travelers should be aware of these hazards, and debris may be present in the spring and summer.