White Mountains National Recreation Area

White Mountains Trail Conditions Update

Last updated Friday, February 27, 2015

General Remarks/Safety Alert  

The White Mountains have about 4 inches of new snow in most areas (less toward the Colorado Creek Trailhead) and the trails are in good condition. However, don't expect those conditions to last through the weekend. A winter storm is expected Saturday night, and if the forecast proves accurate, much of that snow, plus several inches of additional snow, may be blown around by wind gusts up to 40 mph. Travel conditions could be very treacherous, especially in exposed areas, with poor visibility and drifting. The winds are expected to diminish on Sunday.

This week the BLM crew groomed the Wickersham Creek, Trail Creek, Cache Mtn. Loop, and  Fossil Creek trails. The crew encountered noticeably more aufeis than last week, especially on upper Fossil Creek.

Earlier this month 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.

In late June the BLM built a new Moose Creek Cabin up the hill from the old cabin on the Trail Creek Trail (see map below). The new cabin is now available for reservation.

 Map showing old and new Moose Creek Cabins in the White Mountains.

Map showing the new Moose Creek Cabin in relation to the old cabin and nearby trails.

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 Feb. 26. 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 groomed on Jan. 15. It is in good condition.

Fossil Creek Trail - The BLM crew groomed this trail on Feb. 26. 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 Feb. 19. It is in good condition, except for one spot where the trail skirts a beaver pond and dam next to Beaver Creek. Expect thin snow and drifting on the Colorado Creek side.

Trail Creek Trail – BLM groomed on Feb. 12. The trail is in very good condition except for some drifting in exposed area. Watch for a short detour around a deep gully between Lees and Moose Creek cabins. Snow remains skimpy between Beaver Creek and the McKay Creek Trail junction, so be prepared for rough conditions through the tussocks.  

Moose Creek Trail – This trail was groomed on Jan. 15 and is in excellent 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 Feb. 19 and is in good condition. Expect drifting in open areas.

Windy Creek Trail – BLM groomed this trail on Feb. 19. The trail is in good condition, with some  rough tussock sections and some challenging side-hill conditions. This part of the White Mountains has received less snow than other areas.  

Big Bend Trail – BLM groomed this trail on Jan. 8. The first 5 miles on the north side (Colorado Creek side) and portions of the high ridge have almost no snow, and travel is not recommmended there. On the south side of the ridge the trail is in good condition.

McKay Creek Trailhead (mile 42 Steese Hwy.)

McKay Creek Trail – The BLM trail crew groomed this trail on Jan. 21. The trail is in good condition.

Cache Mountain Divide Trail – BLM groomed this trail on Feb. 26. The trail out of Cache Mountain Cabin and over the divide is in good condition, with some overflow ice and decent snow depth. 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 Jan 20. It is in good condition.

Bear Creek Trail – The BLM trail crew groomed this trail on Jan 20. It is in decent condition.