White Mountains National Recreation Area

White Mountains Trail Conditions Update

Last updated Friday, January 22, 2016

General Remarks/Safety Alert  

The White Mountains trails are in good to very good condition. Because of the lack of new snow, the trails are packed and hard in most places. Recent windy conditions have brought down a few trees (mostly around Fossil Creek and Fossil Gap) and caused a little drifting in exposed areas. This week the trail crew groomed the Wickersham Creek, Fossil Creek, Cache Mountain Loop, and Trail Creek trails. Next week they plan to groom Colorado Creek, Fossil Gap, Fossil Creek, and Windy Creek trails.

Sometime in the last week, a vandal shot up the restrooms and interpretive panels at the U.S. Creek Trailhead (mile 57, Steese Hwy.). BLM has completed interim repairs to the restrooms so that they are again useable. We will complete the rest of the repairs when materials and personnel become 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.

Trail Conditions

Wickersham Creek Trail was groomed Jan. 20 and is in very good condition.

Colorado Creek Trail -- The trail crew groomed this trail to Beaver Creek on Dec. 17. The rest of the trail was groomed on Dec. 3. It is in very good condition.

Big Bend Trail -- The Big Bend Trail was broken and groomed on Jan. 5.  The trail is in good condition. Conditions are wind-blown and hard on top of the ridge. The crew replaced numerous missing trail markers.

Windy Creek Trail -- This trail was broken on Dec. 30 and is in very good condition.  This trail remains a better option for reaching Windy Gap Cabin than the Fossil Creek Trail, which remains rough and may have open water. The Fossil Creek crossing near the junction with the Cache Mountain Loop Trail is starting to freeze solidly but may still have open water.

Fossil Creek Trail -- The Fossil Creek Trail is in good condition after grooming on Jan. 20.  A number of creek crossings have open water, generally just a few inches deep. The crew removed a few downed trees this week.

Fossil Gap Trail -- This trail was groomed on Dec. 30 and is in very good condition, except for one spot near the beaver pond roughly halfway along the trail. Watch for thin ice at that location and for fallen trees elsewhere along the trail.

Trail Creek Trail -- This trail was groomed Jan. 19 and is in very good condition.  The trail groomers installed a temporary wooden ramp at a location with thin ice near Beaver Creek.

Moose Creek Trail -- The trail was groomed on Jan. 6. The trail is in very good condition.

Ski Loop Trail -- This nonmotorized trail was broken and groomed on Jan. 6. It is in very good condition. 

McKay Creek -- The trail was groomed Jan. 12 and is in good condition.

Bear Creek Trail -- The Bear Creek Trail was groomed Jan. 11 and is in good condition. The Bear Creek crossing is much improved from the difficult conditions earlier in the winter. 

Lower Nome Creek Trail – This trail is in good condition after grooming on Jan. 11.

Cache Mountain Loop Trail – The trail crew last groomed this trail on Jan. 19. The trail is in good condition.