I was curious about Williams Lake after seeing several “selfie” photos that were taken there while I was collecting photos for the “Tales from the Trails” Selfie Photograph Contest at the Taos News. I decided to check out Williams Lake for myself.
The trail to Williams Lake begins on the backside of the Taos Ski Valley. Take State Road 150 into the Village of Taos Ski Valley and turn left into the upper parking lot. Then veer left onto Twining Road, which is a steep, winding dirt road that takes you past several homes and cabins. Take a left at the beaver pond and turn onto Zap’s Road; then Zap’s Road becomes Porcupine Road. Then make a right onto Kachina Road and drive for about one-third of one mile. The parking lot for the Williams Lake trailhead will be on the right side of the road. The distance between the beginning of Twining Road and the hikers’ parking lot is 1.7 miles.
The hike from the trailhead’s parking lot up to the lake is nearly 2 miles. The trail passes the Bavarian Restaurant — which has excellent German fare and brews — and the Kachina Chairlift (lift 4). Much of the trail is rocky. Most of the trail is at an incline with more than 700 feet of elevation gain per mile. There are pretty views along the trail, which meanders through the Wheeler Peak Wilderness. The trail brings you to Williams Lake, which is at an elevation of 11,040 feet. It is a well-traveled trail as various individuals, couples and families hike up to the lake and back throughout the day.
Williams Lake is in the heart of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. The grassy area just before the lake is a serene place to rest and have a picnic.