• Trail Updates

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 in order to maintain our high quality of life in Jackson Hole.

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!