Goose Lake

4.9/5 (24 reviews)
Red River, New Mexico (Taos County)
Last Updated: 05/14/2023

Trail Information


Snow Wheeling
Goose Lake is the best known trail in the Red River, NM area. The trail can be full of surprises that can take a seemingly easy trail and offer you challenges. Seasonal changes create fun adventures ranging from easy family favorite water crossings to adrenaline junkie snow wheeling. Immediately you are faced with a drive through the river with depths that have ended more than one adventure before it could start. From the river the trail climbs the mountain which leads to a shelf road with plenty of room for one vehicle, but will make for creative parking when you pass opposing traffic. A "cave" and remnants of mining cabins from the late 1800s and smaller water crossings further the adventure. Reaching the crystal clear lake provides photo opportunities as well as fishing, hiking, or primitive camping. Wildlife like Marmots and Rams can often be seen on the ridge surrounding the lake.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

At the trail head you will have to cross the water which is 12" to 30" depending on season and route through the water. The trail gains altitude through the forest before turning into a single vehicle width shelf road for another 2 miles. The narrow trail can create a challenge as Goose Lake is an Out and Back trail so you may come across opposing traffic and will have to find the nearest spot to pullout for passing. Forest returns for approximately the next 3 miles. The last few miles to the lake becomes more rocky, there are no major obstacles but the rocky road can be bouncy. The trail is easiest from middle of summer until early fall. Snowfall creates challenges at the higher altitude. It is common to have snow pack remaining in the middle of June, this can create a fun challenge for those experienced with snow wheeling, but the unstable snow packs will often create stuck situations, so go prepared and bring multiple vehicles for assistance. At the lower altitude, spring can be challenging because of downed trees which will require a saw to progress.
The trail is narrow at the shelf road area with limited pull out spots for allowing traffic to pass each other.

Trail Reviews

4.9/5 (24)
Official Crew
Partially Open
Visited: 05/14/2023

Goose Lake trail is seasonally open, but still has snow preventing the full trail being run. This winter was a heavy snow year so snow will probably be around for awhile on the upper half of the trail.
Official Crew
Seasonal Closure
Visited: 01/01/2023

Goose Lake Seasonal Closure is in effect until 05/01/2023
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/15/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

This was a pretty nice trail! It was pretty easy to manage with a 4" lift and 35" tires. However, as noted by some others, it's a there and back trail with few areas to turn around or negotiate around others on the trail. I wouldn't want to be on this trail during peak season with a vehicle larger than a UTV/ATV as it could be a mess trying to navigate with traffic.
Visited: 07/13/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Water crossing at the start was a little deeper than expected, but my raised air suspension on my Land Rover did great. Going up the trail was never too challenging, but the families in ATV's made it difficult! This is a common day-trip for ATV/UTV rentals in the Red River area and they start about 9-10 am and don't stop until 5-6 pm. Large convoys of amateur ATV drivers with kids and even babies in car seats traveled this trail while we were driving up in our 4x4 overlanding vehicles. The trail is narrow with rare wide spots for passing, so there was a lot of "trail negotiating" for one of us to back up to a wider area to allow passage. Once you get to the large parking lot at the top, this is where the ATV's park, get out and look at the lake, then go back down. We stayed and camped in the nice tree covered area by the lake, from the parking lot. That night we had the whole lake and area to ourselves... it was magical! We caught some trout on dry flies in the lake, set up tents and lit a campfire and had a great time. Hiked up the trails in the morning to catch a great view of nearby Taos ski area and Kachina Peak. Packed up camp early to try to beat the morning ATV's, but still got caught by some early convoys. Highly recommend, except for the ATV's!
Official Crew
Partially Open
Visited: 06/28/2022

The Trails have been reopened to vehicle travel. Travel is limited by downed trees from Dec 2021. These trails are being cleared by volunteers so conditions will change daily.

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