White Mountains Trail Conditions Update
Last updated Friday, March 27, 2015
General Remarks/Safety Alert
Spring conditions have come to the White Mountains a bit early this year. We've had near record daytime temperatures and nights where temperatures barely dropped below freezing. All the trails were groomed and in good condition as of early this week, but the warm weather is likely leading to icy morning conditions and slush by late afternoon. There will soon be bare spots where the snow is thin, such as exposed ridge tops.
The White Mountains 100 race starts at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, so please watch out for extra runners, skiers, and bicyclists on the Wickersham Creek, Trail Creek, Fossil Creek, and Cache Mtn. Loop trails on Sunday and Monday. Good luck to the racers!
Earlier this winter several vehicles were broken into at sites along the Elliott Highway, including the White Mountains trailhead at Wickersham Dome. Please don't leave valuables in your vehicle. Any emergency needs or theft-related issues should be reported to the Alaska State Troopers.
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 Dome Trailhead (mile 28 Elliott Hwy.)
Wickersham Creek Trail – The BLM crew groomed this trail on March 11. The trail is in very good condition, with some overflow ice between Wickersham Creek Trail Shelter and Borealis-LeFevre Cabin.
Ski Loop Trail – This non-motorized trail was last groomed on Jan. 15. Expect deep snow and slow going unless someone has recently broken trail.
Fossil Creek Trail - The BLM crew groomed this trail on March 11. There are a few cascading overflow sections developing between Caribou Bluff and Windy Gap, but the trail is generally in good condition.
Fossil Gap Trail - This trail was broken on March 11. It is in good condition.
Trail Creek Trail – BLM groomed on March 9. The trail is in good condition except for some drifting in exposed area. Watch for a short detour around a deep gully between Lees and Moose Creek cabins.
Moose Creek Trail – This trail was last groomed on March 23 and is in good condition.
Colorado Creek Trailhead (mile 57 Elliott Hwy.)
The BLM has received several reports of a large, aggressive dog approaching trail users near the Colorado Creek Trailhead. Please be on the alert.
Colorado Creek Trail – This trail was groomed on March 3. Significant snow has fallen since then, and high winds have likely formed big drifts 10 to 11 miles from the trailhead. Expect difficult travel unless other trail users have recently broken trail.
Windy Creek Trail – BLM groomed this trail on March 11. The trail is in good condition.
Big Bend Trail – BLM last groomed this trail on March 23. The trail is in good condition.
McKay Creek Trailhead (mile 42 Steese Hwy.)
McKay Creek Trail – The BLM trail crew groomed this trail on March 12. The trail is in good condition. Expect a fair amount of drifting in open areas.
Cache Mountain Divide Trail – BLM broke this trail on March 9. The trail out of Cache Mountain Cabin and over the divide had too much new snow to pull the groomers, but it has been broken all the way to Windy Gap. Expect drifting in exposed areas. Overflow ice and water on the trail is common from the Ice Lakes to Windy Gap Cabin.
Lower Nome Creek Trail – BLM groomed this trail on March 12. It is in good condition.
Bear Creek Trail – The BLM trail crew groomed this trail on March 12. It is in good condition.