White Mountains Trail Conditions Update
Last updated Wednesday, November 25, 2015
General Remarks/Safety Alert
The snow is piling up in the White Mountains, but fairly warm temperatures have prevented streams and rivers from freezing solidly. This week the BLM trail crew broke the Colorado Creek, Windy Creek, upper Fossil Creek, and Fossil Gap trails. Last week they broke the Wickersham Creek, lower Fossil Creek, Trail Creek, Lower Nome Creek, Bear Creek, and McKay Creek trails. Three trails (Moose Creek, Cache Mountain Loop, and Big Bend trails) have not yet been broken.
Travelers on the White Mountains trails should be prepared for deep snow, drifts, and open water and/or thin ice at stream crossings. Have a safe and fun holiday weekend!
Information on specific trails is listed below as it becomes available.
Remember to carry survival gear and be prepared for the unexpected, even during day trips. Bad weather or unexpected mishaps may prolong your trip or even mean spending a night on the trail. Also, be sure to leave a detailed trip plan with a friend or family member. A trip plan form (PDF/100 KB) is available on the Alaska State Troopers website.
Cabin Reservations and Information
For reservations and permits, visit the BLM office in Fairbanks (address below) or call the BLM Public Lands Information Office at (907) 474-2251. Cabins must be paid for in advance and the permit carried with you to the cabin. Trail shelters are free of charge and used on a first come, first served basis. Cabins may not have firewood present for the woodstove, so plan to carry some with you or cut some along the way. As a courtesy, replace the firewood that you use. Dog owners please remember to clean up after your dogs.
Detailed trail and cabin descriptions are available at the Bureau of Land Management Fairbanks District Office located at 1150 University Ave. in Fairbanks. A map of areas open to motorized vehicle use is also available.
Wickersham Creek Trail is in very good condition as far as Lee’s Cabin, and in fair condition but rough and bumpy to Eleazar’s Cabin and Borealis Cabin. The Beaver Creek crossing remains a bit sketchy. The ice isn’t that thick yet. Last week the best route to cross Beaver Creek was upstream by the beaver lodge. However, conditions change daily, so use caution.
Colorado Creek Trail -- The trail crew broke this trail on Nov. 24. It is in decent condition. Drifting was starting to occur in open areas as the crew departed yesterday. Watch for rough spots near gullies or eroded areas.
Windy Creek Trail -- This trail was broken on Nov. 23 and is in fair to good condition. The upper part of the trail has around 24 inches of snow. As of a few days ago, little drifting had occurred, but the wind was starting to pick up yesterday. Currently this trail is a better option for reaching Windy Gap Cabin than the Fossil Creek Trail.
Fossil Creek Trail -- The Fossil Creek Trail to Caribou Bluff Cabin is in fair condition. As of last week, the lower part of the trail (between Borealis and Caribou Bluff) remained rough because of exposed tussocks, but this week's snow may have improved conditions there. On the upper part of the trail (between Caribou Bluff and Windy Gap), travel is difficult, mainly because nearly every creek crossing still has open water, or at best, thin ice. Windy Creek Trail is a better option for reaching Windy Gap Cabin at this time.
Fossil Gap Trail -- This trail was broken Nov. 24 and is in decent condition. The trail crew has removed downed trees. The Beaver Creek crossing has thin ice, with open leads up- and downstream.
Trail Creek Trail -- From Wickersham Dome to a few miles before Moose Creek Cabin, the trail is in very good condition. From Moose Creek Cabin to Crowberry Cabin is packed, with plenty of snow, but very bumpy and slow. The Beaver Creek crossing, 6 miles past Crowberry Cabin is newly frozen with thin spots. The trail groomers broke through in a few places, so use extreme caution. The slough just off Beaver Creek was frozen solid as of last week, but the little creek about a half mile from Beaver Creek remained open and is not recommended yet for snowmachines. Watch for drifting.
McKay Creek -- The trail was broken last week and is in fair (bumpy) condition. The trail crew removed numerous downed trees. The Beaver Creek crossing was solid as of last week.
Bear Creek Trail -- The first 3 miles of the Bear Creek Trail were in poor condition as of last week, with more snow needed to fill ruts. The crossing at Little Champion Creek was in decent shape, but thin ice and open, flowing water at the Bear Creek crossing mades reaching Richard's Cabin very difficult. The trail crew broke through the ice in numerous places. This trail is not recommended for travel at this time.
Lower Nome Creek Trail – This trail is in fair condition with numerous bumpy sections. The stream crossings at Ophir Creek and Nome Creek are passable.