Wheeler Peak

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Elevation (feet): 13,161
Elevation (meters): 4,011
Continent: North America
Country: United States
Range/Region: Sangre de Cristo Range
State: New Mexico
Latitude: 36.556941
Longitude: -105.416901
Difficulty: Walk up
Best months for climbing: Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov
Nearest major airport: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Convenient Center: Taos, New Mexico

Thanks to Terrill Thompson for contributing to these details. (View history)

Wheeler Peak is the highest peak in New Mexico. It is in the Wheeler Peak Wildnerness Area, a beautiful but rugged section of the Sangre de Cristo Range which extends north into Colorado. The city of Taos is southwest of the mountain, and the popular Taos ski area is situated immediately north of the mountain.

Wheeler Peak is climbed via a long hike from either of two trail heads. The most direct route is from Taos Ski Area. From the ski area, follow the Williams Lake trailhead a few miles to Williams Lake. From Williams Lake, follow Wheeler Peak Trailhead just a few miles to the summit. This Route is very direct and very steep.

The other route is via Red River New Mexico. Follow highway 578 to Wheeler Peak Village. Pass respectfully across private property to a NFS Trailhead. This trail is about eight miles to the summit. There is outstanding camping along the way at a trail junction that splits to Horseshoe Lake and Lost Lake. At the junction, turn left to Horseshoe lake in order to reach Wheelers Peak summit. From the junction, it is only 1/2 mile to either lake. Both lakes are extremely beautiful and full of Rainbow Trout.

Another peak of similar height goes by the same name in Nevada.

Trip Reports

NOTE: Trip reports were previously called "Summit Logs" - same feature, new name

There are 53 trip reports for Wheeler Peak.

Select any entry from the list below:

  • Log #22472 - by Charlie Russell on Aug 07, 20142 Stars
    Williams lake trail to Wheeler peak trail.
  • Log #22329 - by Steve Gruhn on July 12, 2012
    Solo climb via Bull-of-the-Woods. Didn't see anyone else and finished after dark.
  • Log #22328 - by Rick Kieffer on July 12, 2012
    Took the easy route on the new trail from Williams Lake. Returned via Bull of the Woods trail. 16 miles 7 hours. With Kimberly Kieffer
  • Log #22266 - by Caj E Svensson on Jan 10, 20122 Stars
    A Rocky Mountain trip with Hasse. New Mexico is our 22nd State Highpoint.
  • Log #22076 - by R.W. (Bob) Schwaninger on Sep 15, 2010
    20-Mile round trip from the Red River side (East face of the mountain). Once above the timber line, the climb got tough due to the thin air.
  • Log #22067 - by R Griffin on Sep 10, 2010
    Beautiful day but very (60 mph) windy.
  • Log #21372 - by Jeff Hubatka on Aug 10, 2008
    We went up Bull-Of-The-Woods trail and down the Williams Lake trail. Going down was extremely hard with no trail, and somewhat dangerous at the end when we ran into some cliffs. At that time of the...
  • Log #20908 - by Steve Skelton, Tami Clements on July 30, 2007
    We climbed to Wheeler Peak via the East Fork Trail out of Red River, New Mexico. We began at 6:02 a.m. and returned to the Trailhead at 3:30 p.m. A very exhausting hike.
  • Log #20865 - by Mike Blankenship on July 09, 2007
    My wife decided I needed a trip for Father's Day. This past winter was the first season I hadn't skied in 18 years. We started out at the upper parking lot of Taos Ski Valley. We were also staying...
  • Log #20743 - by Cliff Erwin on Apr 14, 2007
    4 climbers including myself from Philmont Scout Ranch camped out at the lake and then ascended 2000ft the next morning. We first went to the summit of Mt. Walter and then proceeded to Wheeler Peak....
  • Log #20638 - by Richard Lowe on Jan 29, 2007
    Climbed another of my top summits for the U.S. Great climb even though I was horribly sick, made the summit in three hours from the ski resort using the Bull of the Woods trail.
  • Log #20474 - by Margo Lasky on Nov 05, 2006
    Pat Shanley from Lincoln, Montana, joined me in climbing this peak. We attempted it the day before but it was raining too hard to consider a summit attempt. It was overcast when we did go, but the...
  • Log #19230 - by Peter Mygatt on Sep 27, 2006
    1937 -- Trail ride from San Cristobal up Lobo Peak and riding the ridges to Wheeler Peak. 1940s -- In high school; joined the U.S. Forest Service trail crew (summer job); have been to the top of the...
  • Log #19880 - by Terry Hairston, Tanya Kosmicki Kosmicki on Sep 27, 2006
    Hiked with my daughter Tanya and 8 year old granddaughter Chessa. Chessa's first peak. Took East fork of Red River to Horseshoe Lake area where we spent night. Got pictures of 6 Bull Elk, many sheep...
  • Log #18709 - by Koshi the Golden Retriver sum twice on Feb 14, 2006
    My Best friend went to Heaven last night,September 30 2005. His name was Koshi, a most beautiful Golden Retriever. He left this earth at the age of 15. He climbed Wheeler peak on two different...
  • Log #18964 - by Kevin Koknar on Feb 14, 2006
    Myself, two good friends, and their dog hiked the East Fork trail and camped just below Horseshoe Lake due to high winds. It was a glorious three days of camping, hiking and exploring. With all the...
  • Log #18821 - by Jonathan Althaus on July 15, 2005
    Awesome climb. Played in the snow in July. Snow started at around 11,800 and summit ridge had plentiful amounts.
  • Log #7800 - by an anonymous user on Oct 05, 2004
    Easiest thirteener, but don't underestimate it. This peak is the highest MOUNTAIN that's (entirely) IN Nevada. I think highpointers should count it instead of Boundary.
  • Log #7799 - by Jerry Dean Greer on Oct 04, 2004
    Take a camera! Many deer here and great views of the adjacnet areas. The view south is especially grand. Carry your ice axe (and know self arrest techniques) for early season climbs. There are...
  • Log #7798 - by Richard J Acheson on Oct 03, 2004
    Nice walk, took the whole family.
  • Log #7797 - by Mick Wenzbauer on Oct 02, 2004
    1997 attempt failed due to extreme wind. Summited in 1998, but cold (about 30-35 degrees) and windy, glad they have so many rock shelters! Fall colors were nice down lower.
  • Log #7796 - by Josh Swartz on Oct 01, 2004
    A pleasant hike.
  • Log #7795 - by Julie Baker on Sep 30, 2004
    It was a perfect day - sunny, light winds. The views were spectacular. This was my highest climb, so it provided a wonderful sense of accomplishment. Hiked the Baker Lake trail the night before - be...
  • Log #7794 - by Mark Oakley on Sep 29, 2004
    Very windy, parts of the trail were covered by snow, some boulder fields to traverse Spectacular view from the top, well worth the effort.
  • Log #7793 - by Howard Brooks on Sep 28, 2004
    ABsolutely a perfect day for hiking this beautiful mountain. We had some clouds move in around ll:00 a.m., but they soon moved on. ABout l0 people were at the peak.
  • Log #7792 - by Adam Martin on Sep 27, 2004
    Wheeler Peak is unbeleivable. The view is incredible and well worth the hike. When we went, the wind was blowing at a constant 55-60 mph with gusts easily over 70mph. I'm 180 lbs, and it was sweeping...
  • Log #7791 - by Kirk Hess on Sep 26, 2004
    My first "altitude" climb. Here on a family trip. Running cross country helped me summit in less than 4 hours. At that time I never thought I'd ever be climbing on 5,000 meter peaks now.
  • Log #7790 - by Paul Baumgartner on Sep 25, 20044 Stars
    My goal was to have a fully loaded Pack on the summit @ sunrise on the morning of September 18th. Things didnt exactly work the way I had envisioned. 9:30pm - After meeting and speaking with the...
  • Log #7789 - by Chris Callas on Sep 24, 2004
    Til this day one of the most enjoyable climbs I've experienced. The weather was beautiful, and I'll never forget the view from the summit.
  • Log #7788 - by Thomas Hawley on Sep 23, 2004
    The toughest climb of my life! My climbing partner Dennis would argue that Charleston (11,918) and Boundary (13,143)--both in Nevada--are harder, for different reasons. He's probably right, but for...
  • Log #7787 - by Iris Prophet on Sep 22, 2004
    The guide book lies! No way does this take 2 and a half hours!
  • Log #7786 - by Marc Cavallaro on Sep 21, 2004
    I've summited White Mountain and Whitney, Wheeler wasn't quite as hard but still a challenge. The hike was part of a Geographic Explorations class from the University of Nevada, Reno. All I...
  • Log #7785 - by Jim Turner on Sep 20, 2004
    Be prepared for the wind above tree line. It was literally blowing people off their feet the day I summited. Trekking poles are a good idea, especially for the descent. Not a bad hike, except for the...
  • Log #7784 - by Thomas S. Burton on July 27, 2000
    I have heard that Wheeler Peak should be considered the high point of Nevada since it is the highest solitary peak and much more interesting than Boundary Peak. I summited both peaks on the same day...
  • Log #7783 - by Leif Tokerud on July 26, 2000
    I just want to know who took it upon themselves to take the old sign-in booklets off of the mountain. They don't appear to be at Park headquarters.
  • Log #7782 - by Joe Buhler on July 25, 2000
    We camped at the high campground (10,000 ft) on Friday afternoon and hiked up to the glacier and bristle cone pine grove, a very nice hike. There were thunder showers about 5:00 p.m. For dinner we...
  • Log #7781 - by j 4 r warner on July 24, 2000
    nice hike steep windy
  • Log #7780 - by Thomas Hawley on July 23, 2000
    See comments lower on this page. Just resubmitting here to correct the URL for my Wheeler Peak page.
  • Log #7779 - by Wolf-Henning Rech on July 22, 2000
    It was a nice hike, while being quite windy on the trail. We stayed on the summit for more than an hour. Still my highest peak - in the Alpes the 4000 m mountains are more difficult to climb.
  • Log #7778 - by Art Rogers on July 21, 2000
    We started out early for Wheeler Peak from the trailhead on an eight-mile round trip hike. The trail begins with a deceptively pleasant stroll through woods and meadows, over a creek or two of clear...
  • Log #7777 - by Robert and Margaret Sullivan on July 20, 2000
    A physically demanding tough climb on a beautiful weather day. Most log reports make this sound like a stroll in the park. It is not, and should be approached as a 13,000 ft. peak. The reported 5 hr.
  • Log #7776 - by Max & Judy Fightmaster on July 19, 2000
    Wonderful experience but had to battle 25 mph winds on the way up (oh well, made for clear views of the surroundings). Started out at 7:25. Reached the top at 12:25. Spent an hour comparing stories...
  • Log #7775 - by Todd Scheufler on July 18, 2000
    I have some fond memories of this trip... First of all, it was freezing the whole time because of the wind. Despite this I got burned (pretty badly) the only place which was not protected: my nose. ...
  • Log #7774 - by Scott on July 17, 2000
    Had a time of it climbing this peak. There was soft deep snow all over the place so I used snowshoes as far as the angle of the slope would let me after which I was post-holing step after step. The...
  • Log #7773 - by Michael Leno on July 16, 2000
    I made the summitt early in the morning. The winds were blowing strong and the snow was very soft. Hi Scott! Glad to see all went well with your trip. Coming back down without snowshoes was more like...
  • Log #7772 - by David O'Carroll on July 15, 2000
    Left at 5 am, and summitted at 7:30.. It was a great hike, saw at least 40 deer on the trail
  • Log #7771 - by Jeff Stacey on July 14, 2000
    Not too bad until about 12000'. Then the wind picked up and it was brutal (bring gloves and kleenex). Had to cross two small snowfields in the middle section. Saw a few deer.
  • Log #7770 - by Scott Griffin on July 13, 2000
    Tim Bradbury and I completed the peak on Friday early evening. We first climbed the peak around 1pm but a thunderstorm was coming as we were about half way up so we came back down while getting hit...
  • Log #7769 - by Susan Malcher on July 12, 2000
    A wonderful hike in a beautiful place. The weather was favorable with light wind on the ridges. The terrain is a little rough during the last 1/3 of the hike, but worth every step. I will do this...
  • Log #7768 - by Mike Arment on July 11, 2000
    Eight travelers from Las Vegas discovered the beauty of Wheeler Peak. Traveling from Las Vegas on Highway 93 you get to see the vast open lands where mountain looms in the distance. I was excited to...
  • Log #7767 - by Richard Woodward on July 10, 2000
    I was part of a group of seven from CA (Culbertson, Leetham, Calley, Ackermann, and I) and UT (Bernals) that summited. With a 6 am start, it took us about 2 hours 45 minutes to reach the peak, and...
  • Log #7765 - by Buzz Floyd on July 09, 2000
    Ny wife and I have made it to the peak twice. Last time was a few months after having triple by-pass surgery in 1991. That made it a little difficult, and I doubt I'll ever do it again as I'm not in...
  • Log #7764 - by Buzz Floyd on July 08, 2000
    My wife and I have made it to the peak twice. Last time was a few months after having triple by-pass surgery in 1991. That made it a little difficult, and I doubt I'll ever do it again as I'm not in...