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White Mountains Trail Condition Report

Updated Friday, January 15, 2021

General Conditions 

Last week’s inch or two of new snow has slightly improved White Mountains trail conditions, which remain quite good in most places. However, strong winds were forecast for higher elevations yesterday, so there may be some new drifting in exposed areas. More snow has fallen along the main access trails from the west and south (Wickersham Creek, Trail Creek, and McKay Creek trails) than in the east and north. The lack of snow is contributing to aufeis (overflow ice) developing in the usual places, including around the Windy Gap Cabin. 

This week the BLM trail crew groomed the Moose Creek and Big Bend trails, as well as parts of the Wickersham Dome and Trail Creek trails. 

The Big Bend Trail still suffers from a lack of snow on the northern end (the 4 miles closest to Colorado Creek Cabin). The crew was able to groom from the Beaver Creek end of the trail up onto the ridge, where they had to turn around because the windblown conditions, exposed rock, and thin snow up there made grooming impossible. That part of the trail should be traveled with caution.

The BLM has now groomed all of the White Mountains trails. All of the Beaver Creek crossings are solid but should still be approached with caution. The creek crossing by Richard's Cabin is now solid as well.

Below are conditions for specific trails:

Wickersham Creek Trail - This trail was last groomed Jan. 12. It is in good condition but hard. The Beaver Creek crossing by Borealis is now solid.

Moose Creek Trail - The BLM groomed this trail Jan. 12. It is in good condition.

Trail Creek Trail - The BLM last groomed the first half of this trail Jan. 12 and the rest of it the previous week. It is in good condition. The Beaver Creek crossing is now solid.

Fossil Creek Trail - The BLM groomed this trail the first week of January. It is in good condition. Aufeis (overflow ice) is developing around the Windy Gap Cabin, including near the structure itself -- be caution in this area. The BLM also broke the spur trail to Caribou Bluff Cabin, which remains in slightly rough condition due to lack of snow. A new, 1.6-mile re-route bypasses several creek crossings that have been problematic off and on this season. The bypass climbs the hillside on the east side of the drainage. The re-route is not yet signed well, and the usual trail remains open as well.   

Fossil Gap Trail - This trail was traveled last week by the BLM crew. They encountered thin ice a few places on Fossil Creek, but the trail is overall in decent condition. Expect little snow on the Colorado Creek end.

Cache Mountain Loop Trail - The BLM groomed this trail the first week of January. It is in decent condition. Fallen trees have been removed. 

McKay Creek Trail - The BLM groomed this trail the first week of January. The trail is in good condition, and the Beaver Creek crossing is now solid. 

Bear Creek Trail - The BLM groomed this trail on Nov. 24. The trail is in good condition, and the creek crossing is now solid.

Colorado Creek Trail - The BLM broke this trail to Wolf Run Cabin in mid-November. At that time the trail had 4 to 8 inches of snow between the trailhead and Colorado Creek Cabin, but only about 4 inches of snow near Beaver Creek. The last two miles to Wolf Run Cabin were extremely rough due to little snow and exposed tussocks. The Beaver Creek crossing is solid. Expect drifting.

Windy Creek Trail - The BLM broke this trail the first week of January. It is in decent condition.

Big Bend Trail - The BLM broke and groomed this trail from the Wickersham Creek Trail junction (by Beaver Creek) to within 4 miles of Colorado Creek Cabin on Jan. 14. Those last 4 miles (on top of the ridge) are windblown with little snow and some exposed rocks. Proceed cautiously through that section of trail. The rest of the trail is in good condition. 

The outhouse at Colorado Creek Trailhead has been removed due to repeated vandalism. We apologize for the inconvenience.

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, 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.), 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.