Yellowstone Expeditions

Cross Country Ski Tours in Yellowstone National Park

Washburn Hot Springs

Additional trail sections can be added on to many of the trails listed in the "Easier" trail section to make them more challenging. This additional trail length, and in many cases, technically more challenging sections will provide enjoyment for the intermediate skier.

Mount Washburn / Washburn Hot Springs...

Difficulty Level: More Difficult

Skiing through Moose Meadow The starting point for the Mount Washburn trip is located at the very end of the snow-van road 7 kilometers (4.5 miles) north of the Skier's Camp. From the trailhead at Washburn Hot Springs Overlook, we usually ski 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) up to Dunraven Pass and then begin the trip up the south shoulder of Mount Washburn. Due to avalanche concerns on the upper portion of the peak we normally stop on a scenic shoulder at about 3,000 meters (~9500 feet) above sea level (500 meters above camp). From this vantage point (often lunch time) the Beartooth Mountain Range is visible to the northeast, the Absaroka Range to the east, the Gallatin Range to the west, and due south 120 kilometers (75 miles) the Teton Mountain Range of Grand Teton National Park rises up and looks almost within touching distance. After lunch and the "high point" of the day we usually loop back to the snow-van by taking a side trip to the Washburn Hot Spring Group. This side loop takes us through a scenic heavy fir and spruce forest ending at the springs. From the springs a 1.5 km, (1 mile) ski brings us back to the snow-van. The more ambitious skiers can ski back to the Yurt Camp adding another 4 miles to this trip.

Entering the Gorge of Sour Creek

The Gorge of Sour Creek / Wrangler Lake...

Difficulty Level: More Difficult

The trailhead for the Sour Creek / Wrangler Lake trail is located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River near Chittenden Bridge. The trail winds along Sour Creek through the open meadows of Hayden Valley for a couple of miles. We then follow a side trail up a small unnamed creek and through several smaller meadows (often covered with ermine tracks) skiing to the south and to the frozen waters of Wrangler Lake. Continuing along the loop trail will bring us back to the Valley of Sour Creek. We then head downstream through the narrow gorge of Sour Creek and back towards the Grand Canyon. A side trip to explore Forest Hot Springs can be made on the return trip.

Bison on hot ground near the sulphur pools of Violet Hot Springs

The Central Plateau and Violet Hot Springs...

Difficulty Level: More Difficult

The trail head for Violet Hot Springs is 6 kilometer (4 mile) west of the Yurt Camp and is accessed by a trip in the snow-van. The route to Violet Hot Springs is approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) of skiing across the rolling forested terrain of the Central Plateau. The trail passes through some of the burned forests left from the fires of 1988. Several small to medium size meadows as well as the upper reaches of Otter Creek are crossed along the way. An 8 kilometers (5 miles) ski "out" along Alum Creek through Hayden Valley brings us back to the snowcoach road 6 kilometers (4 miles) south of the Yurt Camp.. This ski trail/route has seldom been skied by anyone other than us in the years that we have been guiding skiers in Yellowstone. In actuality, most of the way is not on an established or marked trail. Your ski guide will navigate this area by utilizing a series of compass bearings for cross country travel and route finding through the forest. The hot spring basin aroma and panorama is worth the effort for this trip.

Violet Hot Springs basin itself is a wonderful, vapor dominated, very acidic hot spring basin. Abundant free sulfur mineral deposits can be seen around many of the steam vents and pools. This area truly conjures up images of "Colter's Hell". Occasionally bison inhabit the steamy basin in the winter to escape the deep snows. Your guide will pick a safe route in the snow along the edge of the basin where views into the basin and smells drifting from the basin seem to epitomize Yellowstone.

The Lower Meadow of Pelican Creek

Pelican Creek and the Valley of Death...

Difficulty Level: More Difficult

This is a good day to place in the middle of the trip when you want to do some wildlife viewing in the Hayden Valley and along the Yellowstone River. We use the snowcoach to travel through the Hayden Valley to the trailhead located on the shore of Yellowstone Lake. The Pelican Valley Trail is a 11 kilometer (7 mile) round trip to the Sulfur Hills Thermal Area. The thermal area is composed of mostly fumaroles and yellow sulfur vents. We get a very nice view of Yellowstone Lake and Pelican Creek meadows from the top of Sulfur Mountain. Bison are commonly seen in the lower meadows of Pelican Creek as well as on the trip through Hayden Valley.