Ski and Snowshoe Tours
Ranger-Led Programs in West Yellowstone,
2000 - 2001 Program Descriptions Sunday Monday
Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Snowshoe Walk Starts
December 27; ends March 10 Discover Yellowstone's fascinating
winter ecology while wearing snowshoes. Join a park ranger for
a 2-mile walk into Yellowstone National Park along the Riverside
Trail. Meet at the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, corner
of Yellowstone and Canyon avenues, in West Yellowstone, Montana.
Bring snowshoes - no experience necessary. Also bring water and
a snack. 3 hours. 1:30 PM 1:30 PM For additional information,
please call 406/646-4403.
The following is a brief description
of some of the areas to ski or snowshoe in the park. For more
trail descriptions go to the skiing directory.
. All unplowed roads and trails
are open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
. On day trips, consider taking
some or all of these items to increase your safety: extra clothing
matches or lighter water & food map You have a choice of many
ski trails throughout the park; pick up maps and trail descriptions
at visitor centers for trails in the Mammoth, Tower, Northeast,
Canyon, and Old Faithful areas. These trails range from easy to
difficult. Winter Gear Guide Trails
. A permit is required for all
overnight trips in the Yellowstone backcountry. Inquire about
backcountry permits at visitor centers or ranger stations.
Old Faithful Area Lone Star
This moderate 9-mile trail
begins at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and takes you to Kepler
Cascades. From there, you follow an unplowed service road alongside
the Firehole River to Lone Star Geyser. The geyser erupts about
every three hours from a 12- foot high sinter cone. Beginning
skiers should return the same way; more advanced skiers might
like to return via the Howard Eaton Tr ail, which is quite steep
and should be skied with caution.
Fairy Falls Trail
Catch a snowcoach shuttle at Old Faithful Snow Lodge to the southern
end of the Fairy Falls trailhead at the Steel Bridge. From here
you can ski to one of the most spectacular ice- encrusted falls
in the park. You will be skiing through areas of burned forest
so be cautious of falling trees. You can ski back to Old Faithful
by following the trail next to the snow vehicle road until you
reach the Biscuit Basin Trail, which takes you through the Upper
Geyser Basin past Morning Glory Pool and Geyser Hill. The entire
trip is about 8 easy miles.
Skiing opportunities abound along the plowed road between Mammoth
and the Northeast Entrance. Popular trails include:
Upper Terrace Trail
In winter, Upper Terrace Drive becomes a groomed 1.5 mile ski
trail. You'll have fantastic views of the steaming lower terraces
and historic Fort Yellowstone. This is a thermal area; please
stay on the trail.
Bunsen Peak Trail
This 6-mile trail follows the old Bunsen Peak road; in places
it is quite steep and has some sharp turns. Catch the concessioner-operated
ski shuttle from Mammoth to the trail's upper end, just south
of Rustic Falls. Along the trail, you will have fine views of
the Gallatin Mountains and the Gardner River Canyon. The trail
ends in the Mammoth maintenance area.
Blacktail Plateau Trail
This trail begins 7.5 miles east of Mammoth and follows an unplowed
8-mile road. Enjoy the broad vistas of meadows surrounded by mountain
peaks, and look for elk, deer, coyotes, and bison scattered throughout
their winter range.
Tower Fall Trail
This trail begins at Tower Junction and follows the unplowed Tower-
Canyon road for 2.5 miles past the Calcite Springs Overlook to
Tower Fall. You'll have views of the Yellowstone River Canyon.
Plus, you might see bison, bighorn sheep, or bald eagles. Continue
on the 5.5 mile Chittenden Loop Trail or return to Tower Junction.
This 3.5-mile trail near the Northeast Entrance follows Soda Butte
Creek along an abandoned roadway and parallels the Northeast Entrance
Road. The trail is mostly in a conifer forest at the base of Barronette
Peak, but offers spectacular scenery and consistent snow conditions.
For more details about these and other ski trails, check at the
visitor centers at Mammoth or Old Faithful. - National Park
General Park Guidelines
for Snowshoers and Skiiers
. Evaluate your party's capabilities.
Plan your outing so that the weakest member will enjoy and survive
. Learn about your equipment's capabilities and weaknesses and
be prepared to repair it.
. Never closely approach geysers, hot springs, or mud pots. You
may fall through over-hanging snow ledges or thin crust. Do not
leave designated trails in geothermal areas.
. Beware of icy conditions on downhill grades leading into thermal
areas. Side-step or walk down the hill rather than risk skiing
out of control into a boiling pool.
. When crossing frozen lakes, use extreme caution and check ice
thickness by prodding with a ski pole. Ice, snow covered or not,
may be thin, especially near inlets, outlets, and waters warmed
by thermal activity. Crossing rivers may be dangerous; some have
bridges and some do not. Ask a ranger about local crossings.
. Do not approach wildlife. All wild animals are unpredictable;
if they charge, you can't outrun them in deep snow. If they run,
you are forcing them to use energy they need to survive.
. Fires during the summer of 1988 burned near or across many ski
trails and destroyed the trunks and root systems of many trees,
creating hazardous standing snags, which could fall with little
warning. Be alert for this possibility, and, while in burned areas,
stay on established trails.
. Exertion in dry mountain air can dehydrate you. Carry and drink
two quarts of water a day. Carry gear to melt water from snow
or dip it out of a stream from a safe distance with a ski pole.
Boil water from lakes or streams to reduce the chance of infection
from water-borne diseases.
. Learn as much as you can about winter survival. Talk with park
rangers before you leave on any trip. Many good books are also
available on this topic.
. Basic ski etiquette: yield to those going downhill when skiing
uphill on trails.
. Let someone know where you are going.
. On unplowed roadways used by snowmachines, keep to the right
to avoid accidents.
. Most backcountry trails are marked for summer use. Orange metal
markers attached to trees may be difficult to find in winter.
. Parties venturing into the backcountry should carry a USGS topographic
map and a compass-and know how to use them.
. Even on a well-marked trail, it is easy to get lost in a whiteout
. Only skiers thoroughly familiar with the area should attempt
. When planning your trip, get specific information on conditions
at a ranger station or visitor center.
. Elevations range from 6,000 to 10,000 feet. If you are coming
from lower elevations, acclimate yourself and test your capabilities
by taking short day trips before considering longer excursions.