In the summer months the trail is used for hiking and horseback riding. In the Winter the trail is used for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Trail is 2 miles from Kachina Chairlift, Phoenix Restaurant and 4 miles from Twining Campground.
Travel approximately 4 miles north on U.S. Hwy. 64 from Taos to the junction of NM State Highway 150, then east on NM State Highway 150 to Taos Ski Valley. Continue through the ski area parking lot to the Twining Campground. Turn right onto Twining Road. You will switchback twice onto Kachina Rd. The hiker’s parking lot is near the Kachina chairlift and the Bavarian lodge (approximately 3 miles).
Attractions and Considerations:
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 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. 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 shore to prevent damage to soil and water quality. Please select a campsite at least 300 feet from streams, springs, or lakes. Wheeler Peak is on the ridge line east of the lake and can be reached by climbing the talus slope. Technical rock climbing gear is not needed, but the slope is very steep and very rocky and the trail is unmaintained. Several avalanche chutes are apparent along the trail, winter travelers should be alert to these hazards, and debris may be present in the spring and summer.
Williams Lake Recommendations: There are a few small campsites along the tree line on the east side of the lake. There are many campsites throughout the trees to the north of Williams Lake and there are a few dispersed campsites to the west of Williams Lake as well.
Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the environment. Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings. Keep fires small. Use only sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand. Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter the ashes. Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter. Burning trash is never recommended.
Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished. Pack out all toilet paper and hygiene products.
To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained water.