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.

Yay more rain!  The trails have definitely reached their saturation point since yesterday and should be avoided until it dries out on Sunday.  When it is like this I like to stay to the roads like Cache, Game, the BPA road, and even the Summit Road at Snow King.  They have much more gravel and are more hard packed so it is less likely you will damage them while recreating.  The Old Pass Road is also a good option and is plowed all the way to the top.  The crews are going to push up the Teton Pass trails next week and see how much we can clear before hitting the snow line.  Thanks to everybody who came and helped with National Trails Day projects in Cache Creek last Saturday!

Finally some sunshine!  This week helped the Snow King trail system dry out and it is now 99% snow free with a few lingering wind drifts near the top of Ferrins and the north side of the Cache Game divide.  The trail crews have cleared almost everything so it should be a good weekend to get out and explore, or better yet start your Saturday at National Trails Day at the Cache Creek trailhead to help Friends of Pathways and the Bridger-Teton with some trail projects in the morning.  We will have coffee and bagels before and beer and brats after to thank you for your hard work keeping the trails in good shape.  You can also explore Munger and the lower portion of the Teton Pass trails.  The crew will start clearing at Phillips Canyon next week and work up as the snow line recedes.

Ahh the winter that keeps on giving, we are still about a month behind last year in the trails drying out around the valley.  With the snow last night and rain in the forecast the upper elevations that were getting dry are pretty slimy and slick.  There may be some opportunities to get out during dry spells this weekend but I would recommend staying low and avoiding shady north facing trails.  The crew this week cleared Ferrins and Wilson Canyon and they are both dry up to the meadows.  Wilson Canyon has more water damage to the trail as the old cow retaining pond at the top has failed and water is running down the canyon for about a mile until it disappears underground.  The crew also cleared the lower parts of History, Crater, and Black Canyon on the pass.  There is still a lot of snow lingering in the trees there, but Jim Verdone was able to plow Old Pass Road so that is a good dry option.  If you see Jim give him a big thank you for all the work he is doing to keep the Old Pass Road in usable shape.  Have a fun weekend and hopefully we will get a little sunshine.

There are a few more dry trails but with 10 days of rain in the forecast be responsible when choosing to go out.  The rule I like to follow is wait for the roads to dry in town before venturing out onto trails to avoid damaging them while its too muddy.  That being said the north side of the Cache Creek drainage is pretty good to go with a few snow patches hiding on the end of Putt Putt.  Additionally you can get up the Hagen Highway and across Sink or Swim with only about 100 feet of snow on the ski area.  Munger Mountain is also close, the crew cleared all the trails there and cleaned drainage features on Monday.  There are only a few snow drifts left there on Wally World and Tusky Ridge.  Watch for the crew working on some more steps on lower Josie’s Ridge doing some more clearing up Game and West Game next week.

After some MORE snow this week the trails are still drying out.  The Sidewalk to Wiggle to Putt Putt loop will be the hot spot this weekend.  The crew cleared some trees and chopped up a few snow drifts this week and it is about 99% dry with one or two big drifts lingering in the trees.  Also everything west of the Snow King ski area to Josie’s Ridge is dry and cleared as well.  The general rule for the rest of the trails is head out and be prepared to turn around if you start to hit mud/snow.  The full BTNF crew starts Monday and we’ll be out clearing the trails at Munger so we’ll give a report on that next week.

After a snowy week we finally got some sunshine today and have a few more trails open and dry that were in the winter wildlife closure zones that opened up on Wednesday.  Crystal Lite and Crystal Butte are both good options in the sun as are the first parts of Putt Putt and the Sidewalk.  A volunteer group from the Community School helped to break up some of the snow drifts on those trails this morning to help them dry out a little faster.  In west Jackson, lower Josies, Kellys, Lindas, KC, Champa, and parts of Sink or Swim are dry as well.  Further south the lower parts of Adams, Wilson, and Game Creek are also dry.  If you are exploring and come to a snow drift walk over it on the trail and please don’t short cut and create a trail around it.  The trail is also typically muddy to the down hill of the drifts so please walk and push your bike along the edge of these muddy sections.  Have a fun weekend!

So the record February snows set trail season back a bit this year.  The only things that are dry on the national forest at the moment are the Nelson Knoll Loop, and the first mile or so of Game Creek.  In some of the shadier areas you can hike and post-hole on snow but please try to avoid using muddy sections of trail as this causes trail damage and drainage problems for the rest of the summer.  Other trail options include the singletrack that parallels the pathway from Game Creek to South Park Loop road and the pump park and singletrack by Blair Dr.  When using the pump park please by considerate of nearby neighbors by staying in the park and keeping the noise level down.  All of the pathways are dry and open and the inner park road is plowed and open to non-motorized use through May 1.  Also remember the winter wildlife closures are still in effect until May 1 but the good news is that means Josie’s Ridge opens up on Wednesday next week!

The crew has had a whirlwind couple of weeks out on the trails.  They finished four bridges in Black Canyon and one in Phillip’s Canyon with the help of Carney Logan and Burke Architects who had 30 volunteers haul lumber and rocks to finish the bridge just this morning.  The style of bridge we are building assembles quickly but the slow part is hauling all the lumber miles into the forest to the bridge sites and then getting rocks, gravel, and dirt for the approaches.  Anyone interested in what we call “trail crew crossfit” should come out with us one day.  The crew also cleared Phillip’s Pass and Ski Lake, brush cut Putt Putt and Hagen, and cleaned all the drains on those trails.  We also had help from Lillard Flyfishing who brush cut the Kelly’s and lower Josie’s Ridge loop which was getting overgrown in places.  We are still working with Wildflower Watch and Nature Mapping JH to monitor plants, animals, and trail use in Cache Creek each week to look at long term trends.  Next week look for the crew working with more volunteers on bridges on the History Trail and West Game.  ps they like taking a funny picture after finishing each bridge so feel free to suggest something for the next one.

This week crews finished up 2 bridges on the History Trail, cleared History, Wilson, West Game, Blacks, worked with volunteers to move lumber to bridge sites, and got trained with Wildflower Watch and Nature Mapping JH.  We had 2 awesome volunteer groups from the Teton Science School and from the Teton Trail Runners who helped us move over 3000 pounds of lumber a mile up the trail to our next bridge sites.  We certainly couldn’t do all the projects on the forest each summer without help from amazing volunteers like them!  The crews also became trained for our Citizen Science project with Wildflower Watch, Nature Mapping JH and the BTNF.  This summer they will help record plant, animal, and recreation data in Cache Creek as part of an ongoing study there.  They also cleared a few dozen trees off of the upper reaches of trail on Pass Ridge.  The next spot to hit will be the Skyline Trail on Monday!  We are excited to get up there after it opens up on Sunday and we hope you go up for an adventure as well!

The front country trails are in prime summer shape right now!  Teton Pass has only a few lingering snow drifts which are quickly melting and the rain this week has kept the dust down and the trails in great shape.  The Youth Trail Crew started this week and had a fun first day clearing drains on Putt Putt in a torrential hail storm but on the plus side it was easy to see the drainage dips and water bars working.  They spent the rest of the week working on bridges on the History Trail.  We are up to 4 bridges built with a few approaches left to fill in with gravel.  Next week we have 2 volunteer groups from TSS and the Teton Trail Runners to help us move lumber into the woods for the next bridges.  We also looked at a reroute on the Big Munger Trail with the USFS and DIRT.  They have a grant to bring severely eroded sections of that trail up to standards and when it is done it should make for a much more enjoyable experience for all trail users.  I would recommend that as the trail of the week as the views are stunning and the wildflowers are in full bloom right now!