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

Summer in the White Mountains

Summer Season Limitations May 1 - October 14

Page updated June 28, 2024 

Temporary Restrictions and Closures

June 29 –  Sept 1 Fire Closure in Western White Mountains for public and firefighter safety. 

Temporary Fire Closure Order AK020-24-002, issued June 28, 2024 for the Western portion of the White Mountains National Recreation Area. The Fire Closure Order begins at 12:01 a.m. June 29 and expires on September 1.

Map of fire closure in western WMNRA


June 6 – July 20 Temporary Closure for duration of Stream Restoration

Map of stream restoration closure area 

Up to 44 acres of Nome Creek near the bridge at the north end of U.S. Creek Road will be temporarily closed to the public to protect persons, property, and public lands and resources during stream restoration construction activities. The bridge will remain open during the stream restoration work.

For more details, read the BLM Announcement.

Questions? Call the BLM Fairbanks Public Room at (907) 474-2200 or 1-800-437-7021.

Map of closure area

Elliott Highway reconstruction may impact access to BLM sites  

An Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities road reconstruction project is underway to improve Elliott Highway mile 51-63, where the road is degraded by frost heaving and thawing of the underlying permafrost.  

Due to limited space in the highway corridor, construction materials are stockpiled at the Colorado Creek Trailhead, near mile 57, and stacked alongside the driveway into the Fred Blixt public use cabin, located near mile 62.  

The BLM sites will remain open while road work is ongoing and construction crews are making every effort to accommodate access while accomplishing their work. Most of the materials will be removed by mid-July so inconveniences should be minimal during berry picking and hunting season. We encourage the public to keep safety in mind when using the area and we appreciate your patience while important road construction work is accomplished.  

Check Alaska 511 to monitor road conditions. 

Questions? Call the BLM Fairbanks Public Room at 907-474-2200 or 1-800-437-7021 

Map of Elliott Highway north of Fairbanks with the construction area milepost 51-63 highlighted.


Off-highway vehicle limitations May 1 – October 14

Summer OHV fact sheet

Numerous and diverse opportunities for summer recreation exist on BLM-managed public lands in the White Mountains travel management area. A typical summer season runs May 1 through October 14, but the transition into and out of winter is variable, so sometimes season modifications or other restrictions 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. 

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.

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 used on U.S. Creek Road 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 Valley Georeferenced PDF Map
  • 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.

Travel and Transportation Management Plans outline the BLM designations for routes and off-road, cross-country travel. 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. The map resources below include summer travel designations. 

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


Trail Maps

Web Map: The new interactive Alaska Travel Management web map 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. 

Georeferenced PDF maps: these digital maps are designed for use on smart phones and tablets. With a free app the map shows your current location even if cell coverage is not available. Learn more about how to use these free digital maps and browse the full collection of BLM georeferenced PDF maps

Here are links to PDF maps for the summer recreation in the White Mountains: 


Safety Recommendations

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 for summer recreation in the White Mountains 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.

Cabin Reservations and Information

Many of the cabins become quite difficult to access during the summer, but a few are commonly used:

  • Fred Blixt Cabin -- is located at mile 62.5 Elliott Highway. Reservation required. Maximum 3-night stay.
  • Lee’s Cabin is located 7 miles from the Wickersham Dome Trailhead and is accessed by a multi-use trail open to off-highway vehicles up to 1500 pounds curb weight and 64 inches wide. Reservation required. Maximum 3-night stay.
  • Summit Trail Shelter is located 8 miles from the Wickersham Dome along the non-motorized Summit Trail. This trail is open to e-bikes and all form of not motorized use including hiking, equestrian, and bicycling use. First come, first served.

Trail shelters are free of charge and used on a first come, first served basis. Cabin stays require reservations through Recreation.gov. Cabins become available to reserve 30 days ahead of rental dates. Fees must be paid for in advance and the permit carried with you to the cabin. For cabin reservations and permits, visit the Recreation.gov. website. Search the site for “White Mountains National Recreation Area."

For questions on cabin reservations or White Mountains trails and facilities here are some ways you can reach us: