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White Mountains Trail Condition Report
Updated Friday, April 2, 2021
A major snowstorm is forecast to hit the White Mountains with up to a foot or more snow starting tonight, so please evaluate your weekend plans in consideration of difficult road travel, extremely challenging trail conditions, and poor visibility. Considerable snow has fallen in the White Mountains since the BLM has last groomed the trails, so even if the forecast storm fails to materialize, trail conditions may be slow and challenging.
Earlier this week the BLM trail crew was turned around by knee-deep water at the Wickersham Creek crossing on the Wickersham Creek Trail shortly before Beaver Creek. One snowmachine made it across and back, but not easily.
Today’s plan for the trail crew involves a return to the Wickersham Creek Trail. Depending on whether the Wickersham Creek crossing has refrozen, the crew will either cross the creek to groom Fossil Creek, Windy Creek, and Fossil Gap trails, or they’ll turn around at the creek and groom Moose Creek Trail and the Trail Creek Trail as far as Crowberry Cabin.
On Monday the BLM crew plans to plow trailheads and start reopening trails after this weekend’s storm.
Below are conditions reported for specific trails before the latest snowstorms:
Wickersham Creek Trail - This trail was last groomed March 24. It was in good condition at that time.
Ski Loop Trail - This trail for non-motorized use was groomed on March 17. It was in good condition at that time.
Moose Creek Trail - The BLM groomed this trail on March 3. It was in good condition at that time.
Trail Creek Trail - The BLM last groomed the trail on March 24. It was in good condition at that time.
Fossil Creek Trail - The BLM groomed between Caribou Bluff junction and Borealis on March 24. The trail was is in good condition at that time. Aufeis (overflow ice) is developing around the Windy Gap Cabin, including near the structure itself -- be cautious in this area. Water was flowing over the trail just beyond the turnoff to Caribou Bluff. 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. Signs (with maps) and trail markers are now in place. The usual trail along the creek remains open as well.
Fossil Gap Trail - The BLM trail groomed this trail on March 17. The trail was in good condition at that time.
Cache Mountain Loop Trail - The BLM groomed this trail on March 24. It is in good condition at that time.
McKay Creek Trail - The BLM groomed this trail on March 24. The trail was in good condition at that time. Water has covered the Beaver Creek crossing in recent weeks, but it was frozen solid earlier this week.
Bear Creek Trail - The BLM groomed this trail on March 24. The trail is in good condition at that time.
Lower Nome Creek Trail - The BLM groomed this trail on March 24. The trail was in good condition at that time. The Nome Creek crossing recently had 6 to 8 inches of water on the ice, but it has refrozen.
Colorado Creek Trail - The BLM groomed this trail on March 2. The section between Colorado Creek Cabin and the junction with Fossil Gap Trail was groomed again on March 17. The trail was in good condition after grooming.
Windy Creek Trail - The BLM groomed this trail March 2. The trail was in good condition at that time, though some sloping ice about 5 or 6 miles from Wolf Run Cabin requires careful negotiating.
Big Bend Trail - The BLM groomed this trail on March 17. At that time, the trail was easy to follow through deep snow down in the valley floor (the Borealis end), but the section on the ridge was difficult to follow across windswept areas. Although a decent groomed track extends along the entire trail, the BLM recommends that people travel the Big Bend Trail during the daylight so they can more easily find the route.
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.
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.