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Ski and Snowshoe Tours

Ranger-Led Programs in West Yellowstone, MT Winter 0
2000 - 2001 Program Descriptions Sunday Monday
Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Snowshoe Walk Starts December 27; ends March 10 Discover Yellowstone's fascinating winter ecology while wearing snowshoes. Join a park ranger for a 2-mile walk into Yellowstone National Park along the Riverside Trail. Meet at the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, corner of Yellowstone and Canyon avenues, in West Yellowstone, Montana. Bring snowshoes - no experience necessary. Also bring water and a snack. 3 hours. 1:30 PM 1:30 PM For additional information, please call 406/646-4403.


The following is a brief description of some of the areas to ski or snowshoe in the park. For more trail descriptions go to the skiing directory.

. All unplowed roads and trails are open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

. On day trips, consider taking some or all of these items to increase your safety: extra clothing matches or lighter water & food map You have a choice of many ski trails throughout the park; pick up maps and trail descriptions at visitor centers for trails in the Mammoth, Tower, Northeast, Canyon, and Old Faithful areas. These trails range from easy to difficult. Winter Gear Guide Trails

. A permit is required for all overnight trips in the Yellowstone backcountry. Inquire about backcountry permits at visitor centers or ranger stations.

Old Faithful Area Lone Star Geyser Trail
This moderate 9-mile trail begins at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and takes you to Kepler Cascades. From there, you follow an unplowed service road alongside the Firehole River to Lone Star Geyser. The geyser erupts about every three hours from a 12- foot high sinter cone. Beginning skiers should return the same way; more advanced skiers might like to return via the Howard Eaton Tr ail, which is quite steep and should be skied with caution.

Fairy Falls Trail
Catch a snowcoach shuttle at Old Faithful Snow Lodge to the southern end of the Fairy Falls trailhead at the Steel Bridge. From here you can ski to one of the most spectacular ice- encrusted falls in the park. You will be skiing through areas of burned forest so be cautious of falling trees. You can ski back to Old Faithful by following the trail next to the snow vehicle road until you reach the Biscuit Basin Trail, which takes you through the Upper Geyser Basin past Morning Glory Pool and Geyser Hill. The entire trip is about 8 easy miles.

Northeast Region
Skiing opportunities abound along the plowed road between Mammoth and the Northeast Entrance. Popular trails include:

Upper Terrace Trail
In winter, Upper Terrace Drive becomes a groomed 1.5 mile ski trail. You'll have fantastic views of the steaming lower terraces and historic Fort Yellowstone. This is a thermal area; please stay on the trail.

Bunsen Peak Trail
This 6-mile trail follows the old Bunsen Peak road; in places it is quite steep and has some sharp turns. Catch the concessioner-operated ski shuttle from Mammoth to the trail's upper end, just south of Rustic Falls. Along the trail, you will have fine views of the Gallatin Mountains and the Gardner River Canyon. The trail ends in the Mammoth maintenance area.

Blacktail Plateau Trail
This trail begins 7.5 miles east of Mammoth and follows an unplowed 8-mile road. Enjoy the broad vistas of meadows surrounded by mountain peaks, and look for elk, deer, coyotes, and bison scattered throughout their winter range.

Tower Fall Trail
This trail begins at Tower Junction and follows the unplowed Tower- Canyon road for 2.5 miles past the Calcite Springs Overlook to Tower Fall. You'll have views of the Yellowstone River Canyon. Plus, you might see bison, bighorn sheep, or bald eagles. Continue on the 5.5 mile Chittenden Loop Trail or return to Tower Junction.

Barronette Trail
This 3.5-mile trail near the Northeast Entrance follows Soda Butte Creek along an abandoned roadway and parallels the Northeast Entrance Road. The trail is mostly in a conifer forest at the base of Barronette Peak, but offers spectacular scenery and consistent snow conditions. For more details about these and other ski trails, check at the visitor centers at Mammoth or Old Faithful. - National Park Service

General Park Guidelines for Snowshoers and Skiiers

. Evaluate your party's capabilities. Plan your outing so that the weakest member will enjoy and survive it.
. Learn about your equipment's capabilities and weaknesses and be prepared to repair it.
. Never closely approach geysers, hot springs, or mud pots. You may fall through over-hanging snow ledges or thin crust. Do not leave designated trails in geothermal areas.
. Beware of icy conditions on downhill grades leading into thermal areas. Side-step or walk down the hill rather than risk skiing out of control into a boiling pool.
. When crossing frozen lakes, use extreme caution and check ice thickness by prodding with a ski pole. Ice, snow covered or not, may be thin, especially near inlets, outlets, and waters warmed by thermal activity. Crossing rivers may be dangerous; some have bridges and some do not. Ask a ranger about local crossings.
. Do not approach wildlife. All wild animals are unpredictable; if they charge, you can't outrun them in deep snow. If they run, you are forcing them to use energy they need to survive.
. Fires during the summer of 1988 burned near or across many ski trails and destroyed the trunks and root systems of many trees, creating hazardous standing snags, which could fall with little warning. Be alert for this possibility, and, while in burned areas, stay on established trails.
. Exertion in dry mountain air can dehydrate you. Carry and drink two quarts of water a day. Carry gear to melt water from snow or dip it out of a stream from a safe distance with a ski pole. Boil water from lakes or streams to reduce the chance of infection from water-borne diseases.
. Learn as much as you can about winter survival. Talk with park rangers before you leave on any trip. Many good books are also available on this topic.
. Basic ski etiquette: yield to those going downhill when skiing uphill on trails.
. Let someone know where you are going.
. On unplowed roadways used by snowmachines, keep to the right to avoid accidents.
. Most backcountry trails are marked for summer use. Orange metal markers attached to trees may be difficult to find in winter.
. Parties venturing into the backcountry should carry a USGS topographic map and a compass-and know how to use them.
. Even on a well-marked trail, it is easy to get lost in a whiteout or blizzard.
. Only skiers thoroughly familiar with the area should attempt off-trail travel.
. When planning your trip, get specific information on conditions at a ranger station or visitor center.
. Elevations range from 6,000 to 10,000 feet. If you are coming from lower elevations, acclimate yourself and test your capabilities by taking short day trips before considering longer excursions.



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