Williams Lake Trail
ElevationAscent: 904' 276 m
Descent: -38' -12 m
High: 11,117' 3,388 m
Low: 10,221' 3,115 m
GradeAvg Slope: 11% (6°)
Max Slope: 24% (14°)
Popular ski lines nearby
0.3 mi 0.5 km • -885 ft Descent • -269.75 m Descent
0.3 mi 0.5 km • -762 ft Descent • -232.11 m Descent
0.2 mi 0.3 km • -359 ft Descent • -109.54 m Descent
0.4 mi 0.7 km • 0 ft Descent • 0 m Descent
0.2 mi 0.2 km • -93 ft Descent • -28.32 m Descent
0.3 mi 0.5 km • -917 ft Descent • -279.57 m Descent
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“A classic tour through old and new growth alpine conifers.”— J. Bella
The Williams Lake Trail is 1.7 miles long, and it crosses several avalanche paths along a gradual climb to the lake, beneath New Mexico's highest point. There aren't many technical sections on the actual trail and blaze markers are painted on trees along the entire route. Starting past the Phoenix Grill by Lift 4, follow a groomed ski road for a few hundred feet then turn left where the road makes a switchback. After a half mile, cross the Wheeler Peak Wilderness boundary into the Peace Chute runout, continue across the bottom of the Finger Chutes then climb into the higher alpine terrain to a saddle above the lake.
There are often skin tracks leaving the trail and climbing various routes to different lines—along with abundant avalanche terrain, the Sangre de Cristo mountains are saturated with volcanic cliffs and a handful of dedicated locals who know the terrain and what leads where. It's good to know what you're getting into before following a track just because it's there. Some routes cross cliff bands, and the skiable lines aren't always obvious; some look skiable from the top and lead to 80+ foot drops.
When you get to the lake, notice what's across the basin from the open, rolling chutes on Wheeler's west side. Bighorn Sheep love this area, and there's some awesome potential for alpine ski mountaineering here.
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Land Manager: USFS - Carson National Forest