Winter Sports

Photo of a person with their loyal companion hiking in the wilderness during winter. Snowmobiling, skiing and snowshoeing are available across the Ely District where snow is available. Snowmobiling is not allowed in designated Wilderness areas. Please check the area you plan on recreating in before you go and obey all signs.  Area maps are available for purchase at the Ely District, Bureau of Land Management Office, in Ely.

The Ely District maintains one area, the Ward Mountain Recreation Area for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. However cross country skiing and snowshoeing are available almost anywhere there is snow, provided you’re up for an opportunity to do some winter exploring out on your own.

There are 20 miles of trails that meander through the sagebrush and pinyon-juniper forests of Ward Mountain. These trails are available for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking in the winter months. Warming huts/rest shelters are available at a few locations along this trail system. Trails at Ward Mountain are marked with letters on fiberglass markers and arePhoto of a fiberglass trail marker showing the route ahead. groomed periodically.

A variety of terrain and route lengths offer numerous choices to suit individual interests and levels of challenge. Many routes are suitable for the beginner to intermediate skier. These sections are delineated on the trail map, available here online or by visiting the local BLM office in Ely

This area is jointly co-managed by the BLM and Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest. A developed campground and additional trails are located across Highway 6 at the US Forest Service administered recreation site. Contact the Forest Service, Ely Ranger District office, for more information.

Respect others by not snowshoeing or hiking on existing cross-country ski tracks, to the best extent possible. Pets are allowed, but please keep your pets under voice control or on a leash at all times. 

The signed trail systems listed, consist of a combination of two-track roads and single-track trails. Always practice Leave No Trace and plan ahead and be prepared.

NOTE:  Hunting/shooting is not allowed within developed recreation sites.

Ward Mountain Recreation Area North

Things to note: 4 trail loops various lengths: 20 miles total / 32.1 km. Other amenities: Picnic tables, shade structures, trash cans and a restroom at the trailhead. No potable water.

How to get there: The BLM trailhead is approximately 6 miles south of Ely off Highway 6. When you reach the summit on US 6 take the spur road to the west to reach the North Trailhead.

Ward Mountain Recreation Area South

The Ward Mountain Recreation Area cross-country ski trail system managed by the USFS, can be accessed thru the USFS Ward Mountain Campground area.  The trail system is marked with a kiosk and map at the end of the campground, which will lead you the way to more winter exploring fun.

The USFS managed portion is located along Highway   6, and the entrance can be seen across from the North trailhead road entrance.  It is marked with a Ward Mountain Campground sign.

The entire trail system is linked by crossing Highway 6 onto the USFS managed portion, however crossing the highway is very dangerous and is not recommended, please use extreme caution when crossing.


Ward Mountain North Ski Trail Map