Boise National Forest

Cross Country Skiing - Idaho City Vicinity
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The Idaho City vicinity contains 4 ski areas managed under the Park N' Ski program. The sites offer 26 miles of 10-foot-wide track-set trail for both skaters and diagonal striders. A total of 35.3 miles/57 kilometers are marked. All three Park N' Ski parking lots are now connected by marked trail to the Beaver Creek backcountry cabin. You can also spend a night in the backcountry in relative comfort. The two-bedroom Beaver Creek Cabin, which is heated by a wood stove, can be rented from the Forest Service.Telemarking


If you like long slopes of untracked premium powder, you have come to the right place. Few people know of the great telemark slopes to the west of Gold Fork Loop and on Banner Ridge. The groomed trails provide reasonable access to remote telemark slopes. To access the open slopes west of the Gold Fork Loop, travel clockwise past the Double Dip turnoff to the next"You are Here" signpost. At this point, turn left off the groomed trail and travel about one (1) mile to view telemark heaven. To access telemark slopes on Banner Ridge, travel clockwise 1.2 miles on Elkhorn Loop to Banner Ridge. Telemark north of the groomed trail along the ridge. Please be aware that avalanches can occur at anytime, and you should educate yourself in proper safety procedures before attempting these slopes. Carrying an avalanche transceiver is recommended for all telemarkers.

Whoop-Um-Up Park N' Ski Area


The Whoop-Um-Up Park N' Ski area is about a two-hour drive from Boise and is located 18 miles northeast of Idaho City on Highway 21. There are two loops on the west side of the highway and three on the east side.All loops are ungroomed and are signed for two-way traffic. Snowmobilers share the trailhead parking lot. The ski and snowmobile trails separate immediately, leaving little chance you will encounter a snowmobile on the ski trail. The ski trails are marked by blue reassurance diamonds at regular intervals. The trailloops are rated"More Difficult" (intermediate) under good snow conditions. Many loops have short steep sections with sharp turns requiring advanced skiing techniques. If icy or crusted snow conditions exist, difficulty increases greatly and travel becomes more hazardous.

Whoop-Um-Up Loop (2 miles) Rating: More Difficult (intermediate)Approximate travel time: 1 hourElevation gain: 480 feetGeneral information: Ungroomed

The trail starts on the west side of Highway 21. Ski left and uphill past two Upper Lamar trailturnoffs. Just past the second turnoff, the trail be comes steeper. It reaches its high point about halfway around. The trail then descends a steep narrow chute. About .5 mile from the trailhead, itlevels off. About 300 yards from the trailhead, there is a small wooden bridge to cross.

Upper Lamar Loop (1.6 miles) Rating: More Difficult (intermediate)Approximate travel time: 45 minutesElevation gain: 360 feetGeneral information: Ungroomed

The trail starts on the west side of Highway 21. Ski left for .3 mile on the Whoop-Um-Up trailuntil you reach the Upper Lamar trail turn off. Turn left and ski uphill until reaching the high point onthe loop, then continue down a steep grade until you intersect the Whoop-Um-Up trail. Turn rightand ski downhill .6 mile on the Whoop-Um-Up trail to the parking lot.

Lower Lamar Loop (2 miles) Rating: More Difficult (intermediate)Approximate travel time: 1 hourElevation gain: 200 feetGeneral information: Ungroomed

The loop starts on the southeast side of the parking lot. Turn right at the first intersection and follow the Pilgrim Trail for about .2 mile until you come to a second intersection. At this point, turn right up the side slope and travel .4 mile to where the trail ,divides to form a loop. 'Continue around the loop until you return to where you were. Ski .6 mile back to the railhead.

Valley Trail (.7 mile) Rating: More Difficult (intermediate)Approximate travel time: 30 minutesElevation gain: 200 feetGeneral information: Ungroomed

The Valley Trail starts off of the Lower Lamar Loop Trail. At the Lower Lamar Loop/Valley Trailintersection, ski downhill through dense woods about .5 mile until the terrain flattens out. Thenturn left before intersecting the snowmobile trail and parallel to the snowmobile trail for .2 mile untilyou intersect the Wagon Trail. You must turn left on the Wagon Trail if you wish to return to theWhoop-Um-Up parking lot. A right turn will take you across the snowmobile trail to the Beaver CreekCabin.

Pilgrim Loop (.6 mile) Rating: More Difficult (intermediate)Approximate travel time: 30 minutesElevation gain: 120 feetGeneral information: Ungroomed

The Pilgrim Trail is the easiest short loop in the Idaho City Park N' Ski area complex. It startson the southeast side of the Whoop-Um-Up park ing lot and travels in a loop through dense woodsand small meadows. You must first ski part of the Pilgrim Trail to access Lower Lamar, Wagon andValley Trails.

Wagon Trail (1 mile) Rating: More Difficult (intermediate)Approximate travel time: 1 hourElevation gain: 140 feetGeneral information: Ungroomed

The trail's primary purpose is to provide access from the Whoop-Um-Up parking lot to theBeaver Creek Cabin/groomed Beaver Trail. The trail starts approximately halfway around the Pilgrim Trail Loop. From the Pilgrim/Wagon Trail intersection, ski down through the Edna CreekCampground across the Edna Creek Road which is a groomed snowmobile trail in the winter. Thenmake a short 140 foot climb to where the trail in tersects Highway 21 at a narrow road cut. Takeyour skis off, and walk 100 feet next to the road through the road cut. Climb the right bank, andski downhill about .5 mile to the Beaver Creek Cabin and Beaver Trail starting point.

East Gold Fork Park N' Ski Area


The Gold Fork Park N' Ski area is approximately a two-hour drive from Boise. The trail is located 21 miles northeast of Idaho City on Highway 21. The trail is comprised of one groomed loop and one groomed connector trail. The trails are marked by blue reassurance diamonds at regular intervals. The loop and connector trail have been rated"More Difficult" (intermediate) under good snow conditions. If icy or crusted snow conditions exist, difficulty increases greatly and travel becomes more hazardous.

Summit Trail (4.7 miles) Rating: More Difficult (intermediate)Approximate travel time: .3 hoursElevation gain: 567 feetGeneral information: Groomed

This trail provides a route from the Gold Fork parking lot to the Whoop-Um-Up parking lot viathe groomed Beaver Trail and the ungroomed Wagon Trail. Out of the Gold Fork parking lot,the first .3 mile climbs 120 feet up a drainage to the intersection of Summit and Skyline Trails.Summit Trail turns right and climbs about 456 feet in 1.8 miles to the second intersection of Summitand Skyline trails. The scenic views to the south include Sunset Mountain and Pilots Peak. Continue on for about one mile on somewhat level ground on the wooded north slope until you climba steep 40-feet-high pitch to a forest plantation. For .5 mile, follow the blue blazes through the plantation, gradually descending to small open mead ows and then travel about .7 mile on relatively flatground to a hairpin turn. The trail will then descend steeply for about .9 mile to the intersection of Summit and Beaver Trails. Turn right if you wish to go to the Beaver Creek Cabin or WhoopUm-Up parking lot. Turn left to access the Elkhorn Loop off of the Banner Ridge parking lot.

Skyline Loop (4.3 miles) Rating: More Difficult (intermediate)Approximate travel time: 2.5 hoursElevation gain: 656 feetGeneral information: Groomed

This trail is easily accessed from the Gold Fork Parking lot via the first .3 mile of the SummitTrail. From this Summit/Skyline intersection, continue left up the drainage 296 feet in about onemile. Then turn right and start a one-mile continual climb out of the creek bottom to the highpoint overlooking a long south-facing meadow. At the meadow you can view the mountains to thesouth. Then continue about .4 mile down the meadow through small pines and aspens to the second intersection of Summit and Skyline Trails.Turn right on Summit Trail and descend 2.1 milesto the Gold Fork parking lot. Beaver Trail (6.7 miles) Rating: More Difficult (intermediate)Approximate travel time: 4 hoursElevation gain: 1020 feetGeneral information: Groomed

It is recommended that this trail be accessed from the Banner Ridge parking lot and be skieddownhill from Elkhorn Loop to the Beaver CreekCabin. Then ski 1.3 miles on ungroomed trails tothe Whoop-Um-Up parking lot. A shuttle vehicleat the Whoop-Um-Up lot is recommended as youare about 800 feet lower and 5.5 miles by highway from your starting point at the Banner Ridge parking lot. The Beaver Trail starts at the Elkhorn Loop and descends gradually along a creek in a remotevalley for 4.2 miles until you reach the intersection of the Beaver/Summit Trail. The trail makesa short 40-foot climb and then descends steeplyfor about .6 mile. It then continues on throughmeadows on almost level ground for 1.9 miles tothe Beaver Creek Cabin, its end point.

West Gold Fork Park N' Ski Area


The Gold Fork Park N' Ski area is approximately a two-hour drive from Boise. The trail is located 21 miles northeast of Idaho City on Highway 21. The trails are comprised of one long groomed loop and two shorter cutoff loops.The trail is marked by blue reassurance diamonds at regular intervals. The loops have been rated"More Difficult"(intermediate) under good snow conditions. If icy or crusted snow conditions exist, difficulty increases greatly and travel becomes more hazardous.

Gold Fork Loop (5.1 miles) Rating: More Difficult (intermediate)Approximate travel time: 3 hoursElevation gain: 496 feetGeneral information: Groomed

The trail starts left with a short steep climb out of the trailhead. At .2 mile, the route follows aforested drainage which climbs gradually for about 1.6 miles. Approximately .4 mile past the DoubleDip cutoff, the trail climbs steeply for about 300 yards. The next .5 mile is somewhat level and provides many good viewpoints. The trail between the Double Dip and Lodgepole cutoffs descendsquickly with some sharp turns. Just past the Lodge pole cutoff, the trail starts a long (2.2 mile) gradualdescent to the trailhead.

Lodgepole Loop (3.9 miles) Rating: More Difficult (intermediate)Approximate travel time: 2 hoursElevation gain: 336 feetGeneral information: .3 mile ungroomed

The Lodgepole Loop follows the Gold Fork Loop trail the first 1.4 miles. At 1.4 miles, turnright on the Lodgepole trail cutoff and ski up steep terrain on an ungroomed track for .3 mile. At thispoint, you will connect into the groomed Gold Fork Loop. Turn left and it is a gradual 2.2 miles descentto the trailhead.

Double Dip Loop (4.6 miles)Rating: More Difficult (intermediate)Approximate travel time: 2.5 hoursElevation gain: 496 feetGeneral information: .4 mile ungroomed

The Double Dip Loop follows the Gold Fork Loop Trail for the first 1.6 miles. At 1.6 mile,turn right on the Double Dip trail cutoff and ski up steep terrain on an ungroomed track for .4 mile.At this point, you will connect into the groomed Gold Fork Loop. Turn right on the Gold Fork Loop trail and descend 2.6 miles to the trailhead.

Banner Ridge Park N' Ski Area


The Banner Ridge Park N' Ski area is approximately a two-hour drive from Boise. The trail is located 24.5miles northeast of Idaho City on Highway 21 near the Beaver Creek Summit Pass. The trails are signed for two-way traffic. The system is comprised of three loops, each providing a unique experience. The trails are marked by the blue reassurance diamonds at regular intervals. The loops have been rated More Difficult(intermediate) under good snow conditions. All loops have short steep sections with sharp turns requiringadvanced skiing techniques. If icy or crusted snow conditions exist, difficulty increases greatly and the travel becomes more hazardous.

Elkhorn Loop (6.9 miles) Rating: More Difficult (intermediate)Approximate travel time: 4.5hours.Elevation gain: .687 feetGeneral information:...Groomed.

The first 1.2 miles is a moderate climb to an open ridge top. The ridge provides an excellentview of the South Fork of the Payette River canyon. The trail continues along the ridge for about.5 mile and then enters rolling meadows and forest. Halfway around, the trail starts a gradual descentwith scattered steep sections and sharp turns.

Alpine Loop (6.3 miles) Rating: More Difficult (intermediate)Approximate travel time: 4 hoursElevation gain: 687 feetGeneral information: ..2.4 miles ungroomed

The Alpine Loop follows the Elkhorn Loop for 3.3 miles. The Alpine Loop then cuts across the middle of the Elkhorn Loop following the Alpine Trail. The ungroomed Alpine Loop cutoff 1 section is relatively flat with the last .5 mile down hill to the Elkhorn Loop trunk trail.

Banner Loop (1.9 miles) Rating: More Difficult (intermediate)Approximate travel time: 1 hourElevation gain: 447 feetGeneral Information: Groomed

The loop begins on Elkhorn Loop trail with a moderate climb to the turnoff at .9 mile. The return loopprovides scenic views of the Lowman valley to the north. The final .5 mile follows a wooded drainage down the trailhead.

return to Boise National Forest Cross Country Skiing


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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