Trees, trees, big trees!  The crew did some more clearing on Arrow, Snotel, Ridge, Ski Lake, and Black Canyon this week and cleared a few dozen trees including some big firs and spruce.  We cleaned drainage on Big Rocks, Blacks, and Ski Lake and started laying out some of the project work in Black Canyon that a Montana Conservation Corps crew we hired will be helping with next week.  These include a number of small reroutes to improve drainage, decrease erosion, and minimize the amount of maintenance we have to do each year on the trail.  We also continued the war on musk thistle in Game Creek and buffed out the Shade Monkey trail that Snow King reestablished after they finished burying their snowmaking lines.  The Teton Pass trails are almost snow free with lingering patches on Ski Lake, Phillip’s Pass, the north facing parts of Arrow, and most of the ridgeline of Black Canyon to Mt. Elly.  If you are tenacious enough to hike through a mile of snow, come visit us next week on the upper parts of Black Canyon and remember the trail crew loves cookies.

The crew had another busy week.  We worked our way up Game and West Game focusing on brushing, drainage, and weeds.  We cleared lower Blacks, Big Rocks, Crater, and lower History and are headed out to the pass bash on Saturday to get some free shuttle rides to chainsaw and clear the Arrow, Snotel, Ridge loop.  We worked up Phillip’s Canyon and the lower Ridge trail and started work on the OPR Loops at the bottom of Black Canyon.  We also finished touching up the Sink or Swim reroute that 50 hearty volunteers helped us start last Saturday.  The trails on the pass are mostly dry with snow still lingering on the way to Mt. Elly, the upper parts of Ski Lake, and the north facing parts of the Ridge and Arrow trails.  Heads up there will be closures on lower Phillip’s Canyon and the Ridge trail next week as fire crews continue work on the thinning project in that area.

Message for the weekend!  The ground it pretty saturated and with more rain on the way it may be a better idea to walk, ride, or gallop on the pathways this weekend.  Footprints and hoofprints make the trail muddier for longer as each indentation holds small puddles of water, and tire tracks channel water down the trail and which encourages erosion.  Our crews have already cleaned and dug hundreds of drainage features this spring which help to keep water off of the trails but you can help too by staying off the trails when they are muddy.  The crews finished clearing the Snow King and Munger trails this week and are starting to work their way up from the base of Teton Pass.  The snow line there is still around 8000 feet depending on aspect, although there looks to be fresh snow falling on the pass webcam as I speak.  We are also working with Snow King to reestablish the Summit and Shade Monkey trails now that the grading is done and water line has been buried.  Stay dry out there this weekend!

The trails in the Cache-Game area are almost totally snow free with just a few drifts lingering on the north side of the Cache-Game divide and the Ferrin’s saddle.  The 5 way meadows in upper Wilson Canyon are also pretty wet with spring runoff.  There are still some trees down in the burn area on the Wilson Canyon and West Game trails that we will get cleared next week.  The trails are holding up well but need a little longer to dry out after it rains as the ground is still saturated from the snow melt.  I usually say wait until the streets in town are dry but maybe add an hour to that until we get into a high pressure system.  The crews also finished clearing Munger Mountain this week and will start pushing up from the base of Teton Pass next week.  If you are out exploring this weekend and see any trees down send us a trail maintenance request and we will get them asap.  If you are going to be around next weekend come out from 9-12 on Saturday June 3rd for National Trails Day.  We will be building singletrack across Snow King to get the Sink or Swim trail off of the shared section of road.  Meet at the base of the Rafferty lift for bagels and coffee and a free ride up to help us dig.

More trails are opening up with the warmer temps.  Sink or Swim is clear from Josies to Ferrins with just the lingering snow in the ski area to cross.  The Sidewalk to Wiggle to Putt Putt loop is popular as always and the first part of Hagen and lower Ferrins is dry as well.  Crystal Butte and Woods Canyon are snow free up to around 7600 feet and the Canyons south of town are similar.  The lower Munger trails are also almost good to go with a few lingering snow patches on Wally World, but the Big Munger Loop is still holding a lot of snow.  All in all a good week of clearing and trail work with the FOP crew, the BTNF crew, and a great volunteer group of 70 6th graders from the Salt Lake area helping us to clean up the Cache Creek area.  Have a great weekend out on the trails!

A few more trail options are dry for this weekend.  The lower trails on the Josie’s Ridge side are almost 100% snow free and should make for some good loop options.  Josie’s Ridge was snow free up to the old snag tree and Sink or Swim was clear until you get closer to the Snow King ski area.  Putt Putt and Woods Canyon were good from the Nelson Dr. over to the Cache Creek trailhead, and the Sidewalk trail was clear up to around the Wiggle.  The first mile or so of Game Creek above the gate is good too.  In general head out and explore and if you are on dry dirt or snow you are good to go, but avoid pushing further if you are getting muddy or having to walk off trail to avoid mud and snow.  Enjoy the sunshine and look for the crews out on the trails working hard!

The trails are still pretty muddy and snow covered this week.  Your best bet is to head south of town on the trails between Adam’s Canyon and Game Creek and explore some up the canyons til you find mud or start postholing through the snow.  Crystal Lite and Crystal Butte are also good options with just a few drifts on the corners.  Another good easy outing is the old horse trail along the Wilson Centennial pathway.  It parallels the pathway from Wilson to Stilson and is a good option for a ride with little ones on strider bikes, a run off of the pavement, or a dog walk when then pathway is busy.  The FOP and BTNF crews start next week so we will be out poking around and seeing what trails are dry and clearing any down trees.  If you see a tree across the trail or any other problem use the Trail Maintenance Request button on our page and let us know where the tree was, how big it is, and if it is a big mess with lots of branches etc.

For the first trail report of the season there is not much to report.  Lots of snow still melting and a few dry trails down south of town between Adam’s Canyon and Game Creek.  If you’re are really itching for dry dirt head down that way and link up to the A&W trail at the junction with the S 89 pathway near Rafter J and use the underpass to climb up to Adam’s Canyon Dr. and head south on the A&W trail over to the Wilson Canyon trailhead.  This section is outside of the Winter Wildlife Closures which are still in effect until Monday May 1.  You can then cross the highway to the S 89 pathway and head south along the S 89 Singletrack to the Game Creek tunnel.  There you can hop on the Game Creek trail and go up to the trailhead and explore a bit farther to see how much snow has melted above the gate.  If you are out skinning and exploring other areas this weekend remember to obey the Winter Wildlife Closures and Dog Leash Zones and hopefully there will be some more dry trail by next weekend.

This week the wildflowers are peaking on the Snow King Trails.  We did more work in West Game and Wilson Canyon with the MCC crew as well as some work on the Ridge trail.  We finished the last section of the S 89 trail with some great volunteers from a YMCA camp and then we opened the Skyline trail!  We cleared 25 trees before we ran out of gas so there are 6 trees still down on the eastern side that we will go back and get tomorrow.  It should be a beautiful weekend out on the trails so get out and enjoy!


Another busy week on the trails.  We hired a crew from the Montana Conservation Corp who are helping to get Teton Pass open.  We cleared down Black Canyon and History Trail and will be hitting Ski Lake and Phillip’s Pass this weekend.  Black Canyon had just a little bit of snow left near the summit of Mt. Elly but was in great shape otherwise.  We also cleared some of the user created trails in the nordic corridors at the base of Black Canyon.  What we are calling the OPR Loops will be reviewed by the USFS this winter to see about adopting them onto the trail system, but in the meantime they make a nice quiet series of loops on relatively flat terrain.  We then switched gears and hit the infestation of musk thistle in Game Creek to prevent it from spreading further onto the forest.  We also had a great group of volunteers from the Teton Trail Runners who helped us install some stump seats at the Ferrins saddle for a well deserved rest after that climb.  Finally we cleared some newly blown down trees on West Game, Wilson Canyon, and on the Cache Creek Road.  If you see any new trees down after a wind storm use the trail maintenance request button to let us know about them and we will get out to clear them.  Enjoy the warm temps and clear trails this weekend!