Winter Recreation

Downhill not your thing? Here’s where to Nordic ski or snowshoe

Ponderosa State Park, short trip from Boise, has miles of trails alongside Payette Lake.
Ponderosa State Park, short trip from Boise, has miles of trails alongside Payette Lake. Statesman file photo

Bear Basin

This trail system operated by the Payette Lake Ski Club has about 30 kilometers of groomed trails. All trails are groomed for skate and classic skiing and about half of them allow dogs. There are places to go snowshoeing, too. Nordic lessons are available (follow the link on this story at IdahoStatesman.com).

Day fees: Adults $10, children (ages 5-17) $5, dogs $2. Multi-day and season passes are available.

Getting there: Drive north from Boise on Idaho 55 about 102 miles to McCall. Continue about 3 miles west of McCall on Idaho 55.

Information: littleskihill.org, 208-634-5691

Jug Mountain Ranch

There are more than 25 kilometers of groomed trails for skiing, snowshoeing and fat-tire biking. Dogs are allowed on all the trails. Bike and ski rentals are available. Call 24 hours in advance for lessons.

Day fees: Adults $10, children 12 and younger are free, adults 65 and older $5, snowshoe $6. Weekend and season passes are available.

Getting there: From Boise, drive about 100 miles north on Idaho 55 and turn right at the Lake Fork Merc and Sinclair gas station onto East Lake Fork Road. Drive 1.5 miles, crossing Farm to Market Road, and then straight through the entrance to Jug Mountain Ranch.

Information: jugmountainranch.com/nordic/, 208-315-0575

Ponderosa State Park

This park on the edge of Payette Lake has 13 miles of groomed Nordic trails and 3.2 miles of snowshoe-only trails. Groomed ski trails can be used by snowshoers as well.

Campgrounds are closed, but if you want to stay a few nights, there are five fully equipped cabins. Guests can step outside to a covered deck with views of the lake and gorgeous sunsets and get on groomed trails throughout the park. The cabins can be reserved year-round and reservations are accepted up to nine months in advance. To make a reservation, call 888-922-6743. Rovers Round-About is a pet-friendly trail.

Fees: $5 daily fee, season pass $37.10 (including tax), couples season pass $53 (including tax), family season pass $79.50 (including tax). All park users entering with a vehicle must pay a $5 fee unless it has a valid Idaho State Parks Passport sticker. Season passes are honored at Harriman State Park.

Getting there: Drive 102 miles north from Boise on Idaho 55 to McCall. Turn right on Railroad Avenue. Follow the signs to the park.

Information: parksandrecreation.idaho.gov, 208-634-2164

Tamarack Resort

Classic or skate ski trails are groomed in the Lyle Nelson Nordic and Snowshoe Trail system. About 9 miles are groomed, starting at the Sports Dome and winding through the foothills. All mountain biking and hiking trails at the resort are accessible on snowshoes. Dogs and fat-tire bikes are allowed on trails. Rentals are available.

Day fees: $9. Season passes are available. Check in at the activities desk in the Sports Dome for passes.

Getting there: Drive about 90 miles north of Boise on Idaho 55 to Donnelly and turn west on Roseberry Road. Follow the signs to Tamarack Resort.

Information: tamarackidaho.com, 208-325-1030

Lake Cascade State Park

The Crown Point Trail at Lake Cascade State Park is groomed and offers 2.5 miles along the reservoir with nice views of West Mountain in the distance. (An easier way to get to the trail is to drive north out of Cascade to Vista Point Boulevard, just north of the city limits.)

It’s a classic track. The trail is shared by snowmobilers, snowshoers and horseback riders. Leashed dogs are allowed.

Day fees: $5 daily vehicle entrance fee unless you have an annual state parks sticker.

Getting there: Drive north on Idaho 55 for about 70 miles to Cascade. Look for the Lake Cascade Parkway (Old State Highway) turnoff to Lake Cascade. Turn left.

Information: parksandrecreation.idaho.gov, 208-382-6544

Bogus Basin

Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area has more than 20 miles of groomed trails, including 4 miles of lighted trails for night skiing. You can ski all the way to the Shafer Butte Campground for great views of the Valley.

Alpine touring skiers trek up to the campground and then ski ungroomed trails around Mores Mountain. There are lots of opportunities for classic, skate and backcountry skiing and snowshoeing in the area.

Dogs are not allowed.

Lessons and rentals are available. The Bogus Basin yurt off the Nordic trail system is available for rent for overnight stays.

Day fees: Adults and children 12 and older, $14 full day, $7 half day, $7 night; children (7-11), $8 a day, $3 half day, $3 night; children 6 and younger and adults older than 70, free. Adult snowshoe $7 full day, $5 half day, $3 night; children snowshoe $5 full day, $3 half day and night.

Getting there: Drive 16.5 miles north of Boise up Bogus Basin Road. Go past the Simplot Lodge on your right and the tubing hill farther up on your left.

Information: bogusbasin.org, 208-332-5100

Idaho City Park N’ Ski

This is a popular trail system on the mountain divide between Idaho City and Lowman in the Boise National Forest. It’s about an hour from Boise and makes a great day trip.

The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation has about 55 miles of marked trails with about 28 miles of those groomed each week during the season when conditions allow.

Dogs are allowed on most of the trails.

Fees: Annual Idaho Park N’ Ski permit $25, three-day permit for $7.50 (minimum number of days you can buy).

Getting there: Drive on Idaho 21 northeast of Boise about 23 miles past Idaho City. It’s about 60 miles from Boise.

Information: parksandrecreation.idaho.gov, 208-514-2419

Sun Valley Nordic

This 58,000-square-foot facility features a restaurant, lounge, bar and locker rooms, along with equipment repair, rental and storage.

At the peak of the season there are usually about 25 miles of groomed and marked trails. The terrain is gentle at the trailhead and progresses to challenging hills.

Dogs are not allowed.

Day fees: $24 adult, $15 senior, $10 children (12 and older). Half-day, multiday and season passes are available.

Getting there: Once in Ketchum, head to the Sun Valley Lodge. The Nordic Center is in the Sun Valley Club a mile east of Sun Valley Lodge.

Information: sunvalley.com, 208-622-2250

Galena Lodge-Wood River trails

The North Valley trail system covers more than 70 miles of terrain, mostly in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.

The main systems include the Lake Creek trails, Billy’s Bridge, North Fork Loop, the Harriman Trail, Prairie Creek Loop and the Galena Lodge trails.

Snowshoe trails can be found along the Harriman Trail at North Fork Loop, Billy’s Bridge and at Galena Lodge.

Galena Lodge has about 30 miles of groomed trails at the northwest end of the Boulder Mountains in the shadow of mountaintops such as 11,170-foot Galena Peak.

The trails cut through meadows and timbered country, with views of the Boulder and Smoky mountains. Galena Lodge is a perfect place to warm up and have lunch.

Dogs are allowed on designated trails.

Day fees: $17 adult, $5 youth (13-17), $5 dog, $5 snowshoe. Multi-day and season passes are available.

Getting there: As soon as you start driving north out of Ketchum, you’ll start seeing ski and snowshoe trails along Idaho 75. It’s the North Valley trail system. Drive 24 miles north of Ketchum and you’ll come to the Galena Lodge.

Information: bcrd.org, galenalodge.com

Related stories from Idaho Statesman

  Comments