A rider on an ATV navigates a rocky trail through a treeless mountain valley.

White Mountains Trail Conditions Report

Updated Wednesday, May 31, 2023

It's summer in the White Mountains National Recreation Area! Check out the Steese and Elliott Highways Travel Guide to start planning your summer adventure. 

BLM currently has no temporary closures in place for the White Mountains. 

Summer Season Travel Limitations - May 1-October 14 

Numerous and diverse opportunities for summer recreation exist on BLM-managed public lands in the White Mountains travel management area and the neighboring Steese travel management area. For these areas, a typical summer season runs May 1 through October 14, but the transition into and out of winter is variable, so sometimes modifications are announced.

During the summer, motorized vehicle use is limited to protect sensitive resources, however, the entire area is open to all forms of non-motorized use, including hiking, equestrian, and bicycling use.

Keep in mind that you are responsible for knowing, understanding, and complying with all public land use regulations. When riding the trails, please travel responsibly, wear a helmet and ride to reduce damage to the surrounding area and resources.

To help you navigate the new summer limitations, we made the new Summer Recreation in the White Mountains National Recreation Area and Steese National Conservation Area Georeferenced PDF Map

Map of the White Mountains National Recreation Area and Steese National Conservation area summer recreation sites and access limitations.


Summer off-highway vehicle limitations

From May 1 – October 14, motor vehicles must remain on BLM routes designated for their use unless traveling in an area designated open to cross-country motorized travel.

New Travel and Transportation Management Plans outline the BLM designations for routes and off-road, cross-country travel. Some designations include vehicle curb weight and width limitations. A vehicle’s curb weight is the total weight of the vehicle unloaded with a full tank of fuel and all fluids. BLM designations with OHV limitations are depicted on updated BLM maps and on local signage.

Please be aware that large OHVs, ARGOS and four-door side-by-side UTVs are too large for use on most routes and cross-country travel on BLM-managed lands. In the White Mountains National Recreation Area motorized vehicles over 1,500 pounds curb weight or over 64 inches wide may only be ridden on roads and within designated areas found in the Nome Creek tailings.

  • The State of Alaska manages the U.S. Creek Road for the use of licensed street-legal vehicles only. The BLM-managed Nome Creek Road is open to all modes of motorized travel with no limitations. Motorized travel is limited to routes and areas designated for their use. A new limitation on cross-country travel in the Nome Creek area is intended to concentrate motorized travel on the managed route network and prevent the proliferation of routes. Cross-country travel areas in the Nome Creek tailings provide off-road areas for larger off-highway vehicles. See the Nome Creek Map from the White Mountains Travel Management plan for details.
  • Most managed routes are open to OHVs weighing 1,000 pounds or less curb weight and a maximum width of 50 inches. A few routes are designated for larger motor vehicles weighing up to 1,500 pounds curb weight and up to 64 inches wide, including the Quartz Creek Trail and the Wickersham Creek Trail to Lee’s Cabin from the Wickersham Dome Trailhead.
  • E-bikes are allowed on all motorized routes and two designated trails:
    • Summit Trail
    • Table Top Mountain Trail.
  • Cross-country travel by OHVs no greater than 1,000 pounds curb weight and up to 50 inches wide is allowed on over 350,000 acres. Portions of Nome Creek tailings are open to summer cross-country travel for motor vehicle with no size limitations, with a larger area of the tailings area open to street legal OHVs 10,000 pounds or less and non-street legal OHVs 1,500 pounds curb weight or less.
  • During the summer, motorized travel is not allowed in special and sensitive areas including Research Natural Areas, Beaver Creek National Wild and Scenic River corridor, the lands north and east of the river corridor and portions of the Wickersham Creek Trail.
  • There are no special designations for game retrieval in the White Mountains NRA.

The BLM Alaska Travel and Transportation webpage includes links to the plans in Alaska including the White Mountains National Recreation Area managed by the Eastern Interior Field Office.

For more details, please call BLM to speak to one of the White Mountain National Recreation Area trail crew at (907) 474-2200.

Safety Recommendations

Trail reports provide information useful to planning and preparations, however trail conditions can change rapidly and there are many other risks associated with using winter trails. Visitors use trails at their own risk and should be prepared for any situation and extreme weather conditions.

Practice #KnowBeforeYouGo principles: 

  • share a trip plan (State Troopers form) with family or friends before you head out
  • check the weather (National Weather Service Fairbanks) before you head out
  • check the highway conditions (511.alaska.gov) before you head out
  • download our georeferenced PDF map of the White Mountains (26.0 MB) on your phone for off-grid use
  • bring more water, food, and fuel than you should need for your trip
  • bring a satellite communication device, more than one if possible
  • plan for mechanical breakdowns and weather conditions to deteriorate rapidly
  • if you become stranded, do not separate from your party 
  • Alaska is Bear Country:  No matter the season, always remain bear aware.  

Please check back here for winter trail condition updates and follow our Facebook page for regular and emergency updates.

Trail Maps

NEW Map! Check out the BLM's summer recretaion georeferenced PDF map of the White Mountains and Steese National Conservation Area (134.6 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. You can also use the airdrop feature on Apple products to share the maps with other people while all parties are off grid. See the full collection of BLM georeferenced PDF maps

The new interactive Alaska Travel Management webmap includes information on routes and cross-country travel areas. Toggle on- and off- layers for winter or summer, scroll across Alaska and zoom in to get detailed information. You can even create custom georeferenced PDF maps for use in the field by selecting print PDF. 

Check out the White Mountains National Recreation Area Winter Map & Guide for an overview of the trails and public use cabins. This brochure also includes a handy mileage chart. 

Cabin Reservations and Information

For cabin reservations and permits, visit the Recreation.gov website. Search the site for “White Mountains National Recreation Area." You can also visit or call the BLM office in Fairbanks (located at 222 University Ave.), for help with online reservations.

For questions on cabin reservations call us at (907) 474-2200. 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 stocked for the woodstove; 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.

Point of Contact

White Mountains National Recreation Area

Trail Crew and Recreation Staff

(907) 474-2200


Fairbanks District Office

222 University Ave

Fairbanks, Alaska

Cabin Reservations