White Mountains Trail Condition Report

Updated Wednesday, November 24, 2021

General Conditions

As you look for opportunities to enjoy the White Mountains this holiday weekend, be prepared for challenging trail conditions, as low snow continues to be the theme in the White Mountains and travel remains difficult on most trails.  Snowmachine users and mushers should expect a tough time because the dips and ruts in most trails have not yet filled in with snow.  These conditions can be hard on riders and equipment and you should be prepared for the possibility of an equipment failure. Trail users may find it somewhat easier to bike, hike or ski.  

 
Cold temperatures are finally freezing water crossings and several Beaver Creek crossings are solid now (see the Trails Report below for more details).  As always use caution when crossing creeks and rivers as ice conditions can change rapidly. 
 

Trails Report

This week the trail crew traveled McKay Creek Trail and part of Trail Creek Trail.  To aid access across the Beaver Creek, they placed a ramp over a trouble spot that continuously has thin ice.   Last week the trail crew broke trail on the Wickersham Creek Trail to the Borealis-LeFevre Cabin.  

Most trails are extremely challenging due to lack of snowcover and use is not recommended for novice users.

  • Wickersham Creek Trail - Good condition to Trail Creek junction and to Lee's Cabin.  Between the junction of Trail Creek Trail and Borealis Cabin on Beaver Creek, trail is rough with tussocks, wash outs,  brush, and cut banks.  All water crossings were frozen as of 11/18/2021, including Beaver Creek.   
  • Summit Trial (Ski Loop) -  has not been packed in three weeks, and is most likely drifted in the higher elevations. 
  • Trail Creek Trail -  Beyond Lee's cabin the trail continues to need more snow to fill in troubled wash outs, brush and rocks.  We currently don't have a report beyond Moose Creek Cabin.  
  • McKay Creek Trail -  Rough trail to Beaver Creek crossing due to lack of snow.  Beaver Creek Crossing was frozen. 
  • Bear Creek Trail -  Very rough with no reports on Bear Creek crossings before Richards Cabin as of 11/24/2021. 
  • Colorado Creek Trail -  Reported (by public users) to be passable to Colorado Creek Cabin with low snow conditions (3"), but no new reports of conditions beyond the cabin.  

Trails with no report on the trail conditions as of 11/24/2021, but are thought to be extremely rough due to the low snow conditions:

  • Fossil Creek Trail
  • Fossil Gap Trail 
  • Windy Creek Trail
  • Cache Mt. Loop

Trail Maps

We've recently updated our georeferenced PDF map of the White Mountains (26.0 MB), which is designed for use on smart phones and tablets. With a free app (see these instructions) the map shows your current location even if cell coverage is not available. 

Safety

As always, be ready for the unexpected with extra food, satellite communications, emergency supplies, and a plan for how to get back to the trailhead should something go wrong. Please file a trip plan with family or friends before you leave. (The Alaska State Troopers offer a downloadable trip plan form.) Local highway conditions are available from the website 511.alaska.gov. Be safe out there!

Cabin Reservations and Information

For cabin reservations and permits, visit the Recreation.gov website, (search for “White Mountains National Recreation Area”) or the BLM office in Fairbanks (located at 222 University Ave.; appointments required), where we can help you with online reservations. For questions on cabin reservations or White Mountains trails and facilities, call us 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.  Detailed cabin descriptions are available on the Recreation.gov website and at the BLM office in Fairbanks. A map of areas open to motorized vehicle use is also available.