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Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area

National Forest
Wheeler Peak from Williams Lake. – Jim O'Donnell

ADA Accessibility Notes


The United States Congress designated the Wheeler Peak Wilderness in 1964. The area totals 19,661 acres. All of the wilderness is located in New Mexico. It is managed by the Forest Service.

Wheeler Peak Wilderness marks the top of the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountain range and, at 13,161 feet, is the highest point in New Mexico. Alpine tundra covers Wheeler and other nearby Wilderness mountains.

Wildlife: elk, mule deer, golden eagles, songbirds, marmots and pikas, mountain lions and black bears and big horn sheep.

Taos Ski Valley abuts the northern boundary where there is extensive parking and trail access. The Wheeler Peak Trail starts near here and travels a well-defined path that leads to the summit - a distance of approximately eight miles. No technical gear is required for this hike. Other areas to visit are: Williams Lake, Kachina Peak, Horseshoe Lake, Simpson Peak, Taos Cone and Sawmill Park, where you can exit the Wilderness on the East Fork of the Red River.

This is an attractive, easily accessible, and heavily used area.

Pet Friendly Notes

Pets must remain on a leash at all times.

Recreational Opportunities

Hiking, fishing, climbing, backpacking, wildlife watching, photography, snowshoeing, cross country skiing.


Seasons Accessible




Nearby Places