Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

Cross-Country Skiing
Gorp.com

The Wisdom area has an excellent continental winter climate for cross-country skiing. The winters are cold and dry, the snow is powdery, and there are lots of sunny days. The most popular cross-country ski areas are by the Chief Joseph/Lost Trail Pass. Winter recreation activities require extra safety precautions. Always travel with a partner or in a group and carry enough equipment to survive a night out. Survival equipment should be carried even on short day trips. Become familiar with safety rules for the special hazards winter presents, such as avalanches, cornices, whiteouts, blowouts, ice, hypothermia, etc. Pick up a winter recreation guide and a trail map at the Wisdom District office or the Big Hole Battlefield. The guide has useful information on the hazards of winter.

Ski trails are rated and marked according to Forest Service guidelines for normal snow conditions. These ratings are for this area, so trails rated as "easiest" may be difficult for some people.

Easiest: Suitable for beginners, with gentle grades and no sharp turns.
More Difficult: Suitable for intermediate skiers, with steeper grades and sharper turns.
Most Difficult: For expert or advanced-intermediate skiers. Requires good endurance and ability to turn abruptly and stop on all kinds of terrain.

Trail Courtesy needs to be extended to fellow skiers. Please do not bring dogs along as they often ruin ski tracks and can be a nuisance to other skiers. Skiers climbing a hill should yield to skiers descending the slope. Litter and debris can ruin the quality of a recreation experience. Please carry out what you carry in. Avoid leaving human waste near trails or any water course. If you are in a group, avoid concentrating waste.

ANDERSON MOUNTAIN ROAD TRAIL
Length: 6 miles
Recommended Season: Winter-Spring
Use: Moderate
Difficulty: Most Difficult
Access: From Wisdom follow Highway 43 to the top of Chief Joseph Pass, which is about 25 miles.

Description: Beginning on the south side of Highway 43 at Chief Joseph Pass, across from the trailhead to the Chief Joseph Pass Loop Trail System. Continue south to the top of Anderson Mountain which is 8,039 feet in elevation. The Richardson Creek, Cabinet Creek, and May Creek Ridge trails are accessible from this trail. This trail is part of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.

CABINET CREEK TRAIL
Length: 6.8 miles (9.6 km)
Recommended Season: Winter-Spring
Use: Moderate
Difficulty: Most Difficult
Access: From Wisdom, follow Highway 43 west approximately 26 miles to the plowed parking area on the south side of the highway.

Description: The trail begins at the parking area on Highway 43 and follows Cabinet Creek southwest to junction with Anderson Mountain Road Trail and the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, which have some steep pitches. The May Creek Ridge Trail joins this trail about 2.5 miles from the trailhead. There is no grooming on this trail.

CHIEF JOSEPH PASS SKI TRAILS
Length: 15 miles (25 km)
Recommended Season: Winter-Spring
Use: Moderate
Difficulty: Easiest to More Difficult
Access: From Wisdom, take Highway 43 approximately 28 miles to Chief Joseph Pass. The trail system starts on the north side of Highway 43 at Chief Joseph Pass.

Description: There are about 15 miles of trails (8 km of Easiest, 14.5 km of More Difficult, and 2.1 km of most difficult). Trails are groomed once a week from December 20 through March 30 by the Bitterroot Ski Club. Maps and a restroom are available at the trailhead.

GIBBONS PASS ROAD TRAIL
Length: 4 miles (6.4 km)
Recommended Season: Winter-Spring
Use: Moderate
Difficulty: More Difficult
Access: At Wisdom follow Highway 43 west to the top of Chief Joseph Pass about 25 miles; or one mile east of Lost Trail Pass.

Description: Begins at the junction of the Chief Joseph Loop Trail System. The trail goes through dense stands of lodgepole pine and sub-alpine fir before entering large meadows near its end at Hogan's Cabin, which is available for rent from the Wisdom Ranger Station. Skiers should be aware that snowmobilers may be encountered on this trail.

MAY CREEK TRAIL & RIDGE TRAIL
Length: 5.5 miles
Recommended Season: Winter/Spring
Use: Moderate
Difficulty: More Difficult to Most Difficult
Access: At Wisdom follow Highway 43 west 16 miles to the May Creek Campground.

Description: The May Creek Ridge Trail (More Difficult) begins at the May Creek Campground and continues southwest where it joins the Cabinet Creek Trail. The May Creek Trail (Most Difficult) begins from the west end of the May Creek Ridge Trail and provides a chance for advanced skiers to loop back to the May Creek Campground. Portions of the trail are extremely steep and should only be attempted by advanced skiers. May Creek Cabin, which can be rented by contacting the Wisdom Ranger District, can be reached by skiing about 2 miles up the May Creek Trail. The first 2.5 miles of the May Creek Trail are Easiest, with the Most Difficult portion of the trail being the climb from May Creek Cabin to the Continental Divide (Anderson Mountain Road Trail).

RICHARDSON CREEK
Length: 4 miles (6.1 km)
Recommended Season: Winter-Spring
Use: Moderate
Difficulty: More Difficult
Access: Follow Highway 43 from Wisdom, approximately 26 miles to the plowed lot on the left side of the highway. It is approximately 4.6 miles east of Lost Trail Pass.

Description: The trail starts from the plowed parking lot and continues south for about 2.5 miles and southwest to where it joins the Anderson Mountain Road Trail and the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. The trail provides some nice views of the surrounding area and has some steep pitches.

SHOOFLY
Length: 4 miles (7.2 km)
Recommended Season: Winter-Spring
Use: Moderate
Difficulty: More Difficult
Access: Take Highway 43, west out of Wisdom for approximately 22 miles. The trail starts on the north side of the highway across from the Cabinet Creek Trailhead. Approximately 5 miles east of Lost Trail Pass.

Description: The trail begins at the parking lot on Highway 43 on the north side of the highway and accesses Hogan Cabin. The trail continues north/northwest through dense lodgepole pine stands and into large meadows at Hogan's Cabin, which is available for rent from the Wisdom Ranger District. Skiers may encounter snowmobilers near the Cabin. The Shoofly Cutoff Trail is 1.5 miles long and provides an easier route around the steepest portions of the Shoofly Trail.


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