[Original date August 31, 1997]
Trip report from a hike to the summit of Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico (13,161′) undertaken August 31, 1997.
Wheeler Peak is the highest point in New Mexico at 13,161′. The hike to the summit via Bull of the Woods is about 15 miles round trip, and has an elevation gain from 9,000 to 13,161′. This climb is non-technical during most of the summer. But extreme care should be taken during the thunderstorm season-July and August-since much of the Wheeler Peak trail is above timberline and exposed. Getting to and off the summit before thunderstorms this time of year will entail a near-dawn departure.
In August 2003, on the way to California to my brother’s wedding, I camped near Flagstaff, Arizona and climbed Humphreys Peak, the high point of the state.
The hike starts off in the “Snow Bowl”, a ski area, then winds its way up through the forest until it gets to timberline. Then it hits a saddle; go left to get to the summit of Humphreys.
I’ve hiked many times in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, just south of Rocky Mountains National Park. This time was a multi-day backpacking trip. Because of the nature of the trail system and the need for permits in advance, I planned a route with a sort of curly-cue path.