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Suggestion On XC Ski Trails For Tower and NE Areas

Dothan, Alabama
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Suggestion On XC Ski Trails For Tower and NE Areas

Any suggestions on the most scenic easy XC ski trails for the Tower and NE areas? I will get skies at Mammoth and have a car to drive to Silver City. Probably handle a 4 mile trail without a break. What is the recommended action if there is a bison near the trail while you are skiing?

The Lost Creek trail says it is 4 miles but it appears to end up on the Tower trail so you would have 4 miles back to your car. Plus the end of the trail is marked as "more difficult". What about going out until it gets hilly and than going back to the start? Says it is skier tracked. How much use would it get?

Someone said the Tower trail wasn't very scenic (just follows a road) but it does end at the Tower area. Can you walk down to see the falls once you get there? Says it is groomed.

The Bannock trail goes 2 miles to Silver City and I thought we could get lunch there before heading back. If we had time (and have the energy) we might go toward Cooke City a little ways before heading back. Says it is skier tracked. How much use would it get?

Thanks for any advice.

Jim

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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1. Re: Suggestion On XC Ski Trails For Tower and NE Areas

I haven't been to YS in the winter, on my list to do someday.

This link has info including maps and descriptions of trails. www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/skiyell.htm

Billings, Montana
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for Yellowstone National Park
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2. Re: Suggestion On XC Ski Trails For Tower and NE Areas

Many people snowshoe or crosscountry ski on the road from Roosevelt to Tower. The road is blocked at Roosevelt so only foot travel is allowed. It is on our list to snowshoe this February after our Old Faithful trip. Since we'll be on snowshoes we will probably only do it about a mile in (past Rainy Lake and maybe up to the first hill depending on the weather at the time). I've never done it before but I would imagine its very scenic in the winter since it's scenic all the other times of the year. Every time we've driven Lamar Valley in the winter there has always been some cars parked there.

I've seen cars at the trailhead for Wraith Falls during the winter but I've never stopped to see if there were ski tracks there or if people were snowshoeing in. The trail is just 1/2 mile to the falls.

I have seen crosscountry skiers at the west entrance to the Blacktail Plateau Drive (between Mammoth and Tower). It's a 6 mile one-way dirt road you can drive in the summer. If you were to go all the way you'd need a car at the end to shuttle you back to the start. Or you could just go in aways and turn around. I would think the most scenic end to start at would be the east end (just west of the Petrified Tree entrance) but it would be a lot of uphill skiing to start out with.

I've almost always seen people skiing on the trails that are closer to the northeast entrance and Silver Gate.

Your best bet to get some good trail information might be to just wait until you arrive and ask about trail conditions when you rent your skis. They should be able to tell you which ones would best fit your needs and abilities. Hopefully, someone out there in TA land will have some direct experience skiing the area you're asking about because it looks like you like to plan in advance but this one area you might just need to wait until you're there.

Deb

Dothan, Alabama
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3. Re: Suggestion On XC Ski Trails For Tower and NE Areas

CasaAzul, thanks for the response. I had read the XC trail information at the NPS.gov site you noted and also the Xanterra web page: yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/…5

Deb, thanks for your info. The information about seeing other people on the trails and cars at the trail heads helps. From some posts, I got the impression that we might not see many people at all - and was getting nervous :) Your description of the Tower trail sounds good. Since it is groomed it is at the top of possible trails to consider for this area. We will definitely talk with the ski rental staff for up to date conditions and recommendations.

Jim

Moose, Wyoming
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for Wyoming, Jackson, Jackson Hole
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4. Re: Suggestion On XC Ski Trails For Tower and NE Areas

A couple of times each winter, we stay a few days at a cabin in Silver Gate and ski or hike in this area. (One morning we skied this last winter, it was -40, so it can get pretty cold.)

The prior posts have answered you questions about trails. I'd just note a couple of other things. Xanterra grooms a few trails each winter, and you can get their trail map from the ski shop at Mammoth.

We often ski off-trail in the Lamar Valley. We'll park somewhere off the road and then ski off across the valley toward the Lamar River. That can be a lot of fun, since you can go wherever you want in the enormous expanse of open land.

Billings, Montana
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for Yellowstone National Park
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5. Re: Suggestion On XC Ski Trails For Tower and NE Areas

I would imagine that you'd pretty much have the trail to yourself in the northern part of Yellowstone unless you set up a time to meet another group to be with. While I've seen vehicles parked at trailheads there has always been just one or two each time.

When my grandson and I were snowshoeing up the Pebble Creek Canyon last February we followed tracks from people that had been there before but they looked like they were at least a week old. It was beautiful to be back there with no one else but it was also very eerie.

I've seen maybe 3-4 vehicles at Roosevelt where the road is blocked for travel down to Tower so the chances of running into someone there might be better.

December and January are the only two months I've never gone to the park so I have no idea what its like (# of people skiing) during that time period. The February trips have been around the 20th. My March trips start around the 2nd-3rd week.

I was really impressed with the crosscountry ski complex they have in West Yellowstone. My grandson and I looked it over this summer when we were there. Both of us said it would be fun to stay a few days in West Yellowstone some winter and we may do so next winter.

Deb

Edited: 16 October 2011, 12:57
N. Idaho
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for Yellowstone National Park
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6. Re: Suggestion On XC Ski Trails For Tower and NE Areas

Here is a link to the XC ski complex Deb referred to.

http://www.rendezvousskitrails.com/

Pam

Dothan, Alabama
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7. Re: Suggestion On XC Ski Trails For Tower and NE Areas

TetonBill, with a -40 F I hope there was no wind. It is the wind that always makes it rough for me. The skiing off trail sounds great but I don't have the confidence (or skill) for that.

Deb, thanks for your comment about Pebble Creek. I am learning the park by looking at the map every time someone mentions a favorite area/trail. Since there is a road to the campground, I guess they have a pullout cleared on the main road for parking. Were the old tracks from snowshoes or skies?

Pam, thanks for the link to the West Yellowstone ski trails. That is a consideration for another trip.

Jim

8. Re: Suggestion On XC Ski Trails For Tower and NE Areas

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