White Mountains National Recreation Area

White Mountains Trail Conditions Update

Last updated Wednesday, November 26, 2014

General Remarks/Safety Alert  

A snowstorm earlier this week added only about an inch and a half to the skimpy snowpack in the White Mountains, so conditions remain very rough. Travel beyond Beaver Creek is not advised. Travelers are advised to approach all river and creek crossings with extra caution because ice remains thin in places.

The BLM crew has only visited a few of the White Mountains trails so far this winter, and considerably more snow will be required before any kind of trail grooming can be performed. Information on specific trails, if available, is listed below. 

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 rode from Wickersham Dome to Borealis-LeFevre Cabin yesterday and summarized the conditions with three words: rocks, sticks, grass. The trail is useable but with thin snow cover. Overflow is accumulating across the trail in more places than usual for this part of the winter. The crew reported that the Beaver Creek crossing in front of Borealis-LeFevre Cabin still looked sketchy -- the ice froze high and has collapsed in places -- but the ice appears to be thickening now. They were able to cross the river safely by detouring a short distance upstream.

Trail Creek Trail becomes increasingly rough shortly after Lees Cabin, with deep gullies, ruts, and washouts from last summer's rain. These areas would be problematic for snowmachiners or mushers at present. The BLM trail crew made a temporary bypass around one such spot this week, but until more snow falls, they won't be able to fill in and smooth over these rough parts of the trail. Conditions beyond the new Moose Creek Cabin are unknown.

McKay Creek Trailhead (mile 42 Steese Hwy.)

McKay Creek Trail remains very rough, with lots of exposed rocks. Trees and brush are obstructing the trail in many places. Travel is not advised on this trail until we receive more snow.

No information is yet available on conditions on the other White Mountains trails.