There are many more trails melting out and would be dry if only the rain would let up. The Putt Putt side of the Cache Creek drainage is drier than the Hagen side which is still holding a few snow patches and muddy spots. Crystal Butte and Josie’s Ridge are in great shape and the Nelson Knoll loop too if you are looking for the best views. You can connect across Sink or Swim with only a little snow remaining on the face of Snow King, and Game Creek continues to dry out making for a longer out and back option. Once again remember to stay off the trails when they are wet. A good rule of thumb is to wait for the streets in town to dry before heading out, and always look behind you, if you are leaving tracks of any kind on the trail it may be better to wait a bit. I’ll definitely be waiting for Sunday which looks to be the nicest weather window this weekend. See you out there!
Friends of Pathways has a formal partnership with the USFS to collaborate on design, construction and stewardship of local trails for all users – hike, bike, horse, and ski. We’re committed to providing easy year round access to trails that is essential to maintaining our high quality of life in Jackson Hole.
The trails around Snow King are slowly starting to melt out with the recent warm weather. As usual the beginning of Putt Putt and the Sidewalk trail have dried out first along with the Nelson Knoll loop and lower Woods Canyon. The trails between the Winter Wildlife Closure and Snow King’s ski runs are also dry and make for a good loop accessed from Rodeo or Pine Dr. Game Creek is also a good option to explore until you hit snow or mud. Many of the shaded trails on the Hagen side can still be good if used early in the morning if it freezes overnight. Please use good judgment and don’t use the trails if you are leaving deep footprints, hoof prints, or tire ruts in the mud. Those damages to the trail surface continue to hold water from spring runoff and rain, and will remain muddy spots throughout the year. Remember the Winter Wildlife closures (in purple) are still in effect until Tuesday May 1st. After that the lower portions of Josie’s Ridge and Crystal Butte will be good options to explore. Have a great sunny weekend!
A reminder for anyone skiing in the Pyramid Peak area this winter, PLEASE respect private land when entering and leaving the national forest. The only access to the Phillip’s Canyon and Pyramid Peak area is along the access trail directly across from the plowed parking on the east side of Fish Creek Rd. ~3 miles north of Wilson. This access trail crosses private property to the Phillip’s Canyon and Ridge trails and the landowners have been generous to let the public use this area over the years. That does not however mean that you can ski through their property because you want a few more turns. Please use the access trail when entering the national forest and be aware of where the property line is between the national forest and private land so on your way out you can traverse down and right and follow signs similar to the one seen here that will lead you along the boundary and to the bridge on the access trail. Being respectful will help keep this access open for users year round, so please help spread the word among your touring partners.
Things are going smoothly in the forest, signs are getting installed, volunteer groups are helping with turnpikes, and the trails are in good shape. It seems like a good time to do a “meet the trail crew” segment this week to introduce you to the hardworking folks that keep the trails in good shape. Pictured top left to bottom right are Tim, Sam, Mike, Owen, Isaac, Kate, Sarah, Jade, Matt, Trevor, Erica, Celeste, Cory, Chris, Isan, Trevor, ChrisP, Randy, Walt, and Mike. The crew is a mix of 2 full time Friends of Pathways workers, 7 FOP Youth Trail Crew, 3 jointly employed FOP/USFS ambassadors, and 8 USFS full time crew members. These are the hard working trail dogs that clear all the trees, clean all the waterbars, fix all the tread, brush cut all the line of sight, build all the turnpikes, install all the signage, and work with hundreds of volunteers each summer on the Jackson Ranger District. Fun fact about the crews, they are notorious for naming their tools. Uncle Ed the Pulaski, Zeus the Chainsaw, Shabazz Napier the MCleod, Mr. Green Jeans the Rake, Gandolf the Pole Saw, and Rick James the Truck just to give a few examples. Say hi to them next time you see them out on the trails and remember they always like finding cookies and lemonade in the back of the USFS truck when they get back from a long day of trail work!
This week the crew dodged some hail storms while working on the Skyline trail with the Montana Conservation Corps. The MCC crew finished their 8 day hitch and helped to narrow and improve 1.2 miles of tread on the eastern end of the Skyline ridge. The youth crew had a big day on the Ski Lake trail clearing 104 drainage features and several large trees between the lake and the ridge. We also installed 22 more of the new trail signs around Snow King, we will get more out next week and then have several volunteer groups in August who should help us finish the Snow King area trails. A note about these signs, they are part of a several year project to map and define USFS system trails, and match with the town and county signs on roads and pathways to help people seamlessly navigate from their homes to an adventure in the forest and back safely. They are all labeled, numbered, and gps’ed for Teton County Search and Rescue to better locate any injured trail users. That being said, be safe out on the trails this weekend so you don’t need to call our friends at TCSAR.
Signs! Our new trail signs for the Snow King area trails arrived and we started installing them this week. They include maps and directions with mileages as well as education messages for good trail etiquette. Look for them to be installed over the next few weeks! Crews also cleared Black Canyon, Skyline, West Game, Ferrins, and Hagen this week removing 31 trees that fell in the storm last Sunday night. Monday evening we had a joint volunteer day with Mountain Bike the Tetons and the Teton Freedom Riders and had 12 volunteers show up to work on the section of Black Canyon from the top of Teton Pass to Mt. Elly. The youth crew spent a day killing musk thistle on the Shade Monkey trail then closed and rehabbed some short cut trails in the Hagen Highway area. Crews were able to clear the culvert at Crater Lake that was clogged stopping the water from running up and over the road. There is also a crew from the Montana Conservation Corps who have been camping and working on the western half of the Skyline trail all week. They are doing an amazing job and said if anybody wants to bring them cookies over the weekend they wouldn’t turn them down. See you out on the trails!
Big week on the trails with lots of folks out enjoying the holiday weekend. The crew spent Monday prepping for the Montana Conservation Corp crew which gets here next week to work on the center section of the Skyline trail. This meant moving twelve – 40 pound “cubies” of water up 1.5 miles up to the Coors Light saddle (the mid way saddle on the western climb of Skyline, named for the discarded beverage of choice left behind at an old hunting camp we found there). A big thanks to Engine 441 from the USFS for helping with this. We then worked the trail from the Cache Game divide down to the bridge on Cache Creek, fixing tread, rock raking, and improving water bars. We also added big rocks to the section of the Cache Trail where the river was washing out. We saw ~70 bikers, hikers, and runners on the Skyline, Cache, and Game trails. The crew also finished the reroute in Game Creek around 3 seeps and rehabbed the muddy mess. The Operation Purple military group from Teton Science School came and helped at Wildlife Lane on Thursday. 46 hard working volunteers built a short reroute to bring the Linda’s and Wildlife Lane trails to 1 junction point on the KC trail. They also rehabbed the old trails and opened up the line of sight at the junction. We also hosted another group from TSS that helped us to close and rehab an old alternate trail in the Sink or Swim area that was unsustainable. The Youth Crew then moved into Tank Top Thursday and prepped the slab for the new bike locker storage at Stilson. All in all a fun week with great help from volunteers. If you would like the opportunity to volunteer come out Monday from 4-8 to the joint volunteer day with MBT and TFR on the Black Canyon trail from Teton Pass to Mount Elly.
All the trails on Snow King, Teton Pass, and Munger are open including Skyline! Crews had a busy week doing maintenance on turnpikes on the History Trail and removing a 60 inch diameter Douglas Fir that had fallen over the winter. Then they worked with a volunteer groups from Teton Science School to remove invasive species in Game Creek including Musk Thistle and Houndstongue. Crews also worked on a reroute around several seeps on the Game Creek singletrack. We had a chance to work with the USFS River Rangers to make an evac trail near the 3 Oar Deal rapid and brush cut the overgrown first mile of Cabin Creek. Finally we finished of the week by clearing 62 trees off of the Skyline Trail which is now open! The wildflowers are beautiful up there right now so hopefully you get a chance to go for a hike or a ride up there this holiday weekend.
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PO Box 2062
20 East Simpson
Jackson, WY 83001
Friends of Pathways supports a vibrant community by promoting sustainable transportation and healthy recreation in Jackson Hole.