Salmon & Challis National Forests William’s Creek Cross-Country Ski Trails
Under Construction. Currently about done down through the William’s Cr Trail. 09/18/2008 – Minor edit 06/10/09 CRK
INTRODUCTION: (By Cliff Keene, Salmon Nordic Ski
Association, Trip Planner, and US
Here’s a good general * description of cross country skiing in our area. In addition there are descriptions and links to various sites in my “SALMON, ID General X-C SKI PAGE”. Some general information is also found in my Weekly Cross Country Ski Trips and Trail Conditions Report.
last “official” version of the Salmon Challis
National Forests William’s Creek Summit Cross-Country Ski Trail Map and
Descriptions was the 1993-1994 version. This map is currently available
at the Forest Supervisor's
Office, 1206 So. Challis Street,
Some changes are:
Several trails have been added including: Trail No. 010 Deep Creek Ridge Trail, Trail No. 244 Mukluk Trail, Road 5082 the Perreau Timber Sale Road, and lastly: there is an “Upper” Shoshoni Trail (only the “Lower” section was shown) and that trail was listed as trail 247 and it should have been # 243.
* “Trail Difficulty” was listed as Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert. These ratings are equivalent to: Easiest, More Difficult, and Most Difficult. In addition the difficulty ratings for some of the trails were not correct. The trail signs reflect these changes and I’ve made the corrections in the following trail descriptions. These “new” ratings are now standard and are defined in the US Forest Service Trails Handbook. The complete USFS Trails Handbook has been revised in MS Word Format. I think it’s a little complicated but CLICK HERE if you’d like to view the online version of the Handbook. I’ve copied the section pertaining to XC Ski Trails to my web Site. CLICK HERE for that version. I think the older version is less complicated and says about the same thing in fewer paged. CLICK HERE for my copy of the XC Ski portion of the simpler “OLD” Trails HB. Scroll to the bottom of the page for a table of values for the three difficulty levels. One of the most important criteria for trail difficulty rating is the percent grade. The greatest sustained grade over 300’ (and steepest 100’ pitch) for Easiest, More Difficult, and Most Difficult Cross Country Trails are: 7.5% (10%), 12% (20%) and 17% (N/A) – The new HB allows up to 25% for short pitches on their equivalent of the Most Difficult Trail Class.
I found an edited (probably about 1995) version of the 1993-1994 descriptions and have used that as the base for the following descriptions. I’ve added the trailhead(s) name for each trail and have tried to describe how folks normally ski the trails. Although many trails were designed to be skied downhill, most of us find that a down and up, or an up and back ski is quite practical. One problem with skiing up the steeper trails is that the blue diamonds are not as plentiful.
WELCOME to the Williams Creek Summit ski trails. To access the area, from the Hwy 28 – 93 Junction in Salmon, drive about 5 miles south on Hwy 93, (One mile past the Airport as shown on this map.- 1/ See Acme Map Notes Below), turn right (west) onto the William’s Creek Road and go about a mile and bear left (south), and bear right (west) and follow the road up William’s Creek (do not take the road to William’s Lake). Watch for the mile markers on the right side of the road. Our first trailhead is on the left at the Cougar Point Picnic Site at MP 10.4 (Four tenths miles past the 10 mile marker). Trailheads are located periodically for seven miles up to, and past William’s Creek Summit. Refer to this table of Trailhead Descriptions for more details. (Take your mileage at milepost 10 because mile markers past this point are often buried in snow or missing.)
* 1/ The Acme
Map link should display the area between Salmon and William’s Cr. Summit. However
you may need to zoom in or out to see
both Salmon and William's Creek
Be prepared with a properly
inflated spare tire, a full tank of gas, and either 4-wheel drive or chains. The
“easiest” Wapiti Meadows Loop is marked with green diamonds (which are hard to
see). All other trails are marked with blue diamonds, except for the
WINTER SAFETY … Be prepared for a variety of winter conditions! ** Don’t ski alone, ** Let someone know of your route and schedule, **Carry a pack containing survival items, **Know the symptoms for frostbite and hypothermia, and know how to treat them ** If lost or experiencing equipment failure, REMAIN CALM, **Use a compass or backtrack to find a familiar spot ** If you have to spend the night, conserve your strength and daylight to prepare a fire and shelter, ** Wait for rescue. We’re often not as thirsty in the winter and it’s easy to get dehydrated so it’s important to have water handy. In addition be sure to have all of the enclosed Ten Essentials.
Know where you are. If someone can get to a phone, call 911 for the Lemhi County Sheriff dispatcher or call 208-756-8980.
Trip planning is often easier if one knows the mileage and difficulty of specific trail segments. After reading the following descriptions, CLICK HERE for my William’s Cr. X-C Ski Trails by Trail Segment Table. Trailhead Descriptions (Milepost & Left or Right) are based on going UP the William’s
WAPITI MEADOWS LOOP – Trail #242, Easiest, Upper Aspen
The trail starts 200’ up the road on the left from the trailhead. Since this trailhead is sometimes not plowed, this trail is often accessed from the Meadow Trailhead by skiing about 0.3 on the Meadow Trail. The trail is co-located with the Left Fork of the Meadow Trail for about 0.1 mile, then bears right and for about 0.1 mile and bares right again to start a 1.3 mile loop. (Just before the loop the “Right Fork” of the Meadow Trail enters on the right.) This trail meanders through gentle terrain of open wet meadows and Lodgepole forest. This trail is marked by green diamonds.
MEADOW TRAIL – Trail #222, Easiest to More
Difficult, Meadow Trailhead MP 12.9 on Left.
* Although this trail goes 2.5 miles to Cougar Point, snow conditions and time often preclude skiing the entire trail.
The trail goes 0.1 mile from the trailhead and forks.
The “Right Fork” is slightly more gentle and goes 0.4 miles to the Wapiti Loop trail. Folks often ski the loop and return to the trailhead. For a longer ski go left about 0.1 mile and join the “Left Fork”. Beginners can use this trail to access the Wapiti Meadows Loop. They should follow the short “by-pass” marked with green diamonds to avoid a short steep pitch.
The “Left Fork” goes
0.2 miles to the road and the start of the Wapiti
The Lower Meadow Trails
are more difficult (both forks have steep pitches): When snow conditions are good one
can continue about 0.5 more miles past the clear-cut to the “Cougar Point”
William’s Cr. Road Cutoff Junction”. Normally one will bare left onto
the “William’s Cr. Road Cutoff”, 0.3 miles to the Lower Aspen
BUCKHORN TRAIL – Trail #242, More Difficult,
William’s Cr. Summit Trailhead MP 13.8, (or ski up from Meadow Trailhead MP
* Previously this trail was skied best by starting at the trailhead 2.5 miles north of Williams Creek Summit on the
The Buckhorn Trail ends across the road from the Meadow Trailhead, and a common practice is to ski up the trail and back, or to ski up the trail and down the William’s Cr. Trail. There are two sections that are very steep which required the use of climbing skins, or a detour off the trail. * Both of these are now have more gentle “by-Pass” trails marked with green diamonds. These would still be a challenge for beginning skiers but have been used easily by advanced beginners. They are signed “More Difficult” (as opposed to “Most Difficult” for the original location).
The Upper Aspen Loop trail starts at the trailhead. Since this trailhead is sometimes not plowed, this trail is often accessed from the Meadow Trailhead by skiing about 0.3 on the Meadow Trail Left Fork, and 200’ down the road. The first section is gently rolling rated easiest, and suitable as an out and back for strong beginners. At approximately 0.5 miles, the trail junctions with, and is co-located with the Williams Creek Trail, dropping significantly through open meadows for 0.5 miles, where the Lower Aspen Loop Trail bares right to climb 0.4 miles up to the Lower Aspen Loop Trailhead and Williams Creek Road. These sections are rated more difficult.
ROAD – Trail
#020, Easiest to More Difficult, William’s Cr. Summit Trailhead MP 13.8.
This road (AKA the
WILLIAMS CREEK TRAIL – Trail #078, More Difficult to
Most Difficult, William’s Cr. Summit Trailhead MP 13.8.
This trail starts 2 miles north of
NORTH MOCCASIN TRAIL – Trail #225, Most Difficult,
William’s Cr. Summit Trailhead MP 13.8.
Shuttle a vehicle to a small plowed area on road #101 __ miles past the
Park the other vehicle at Williams Creek Summit and ski along the Ridge Road 2 miles north to the trailhead. From that point, 2.6 miles of downhill forest skiing brings you to an open meadow. At the beginning of the meadow you can take the trail to the left or you can continue straight through the meadow. The left fork generally follows an old road through the trees and may have better snow conditions. The meadow route is shorter.
TRAIL – Trail
#624.5, More Difficult, William’s Cr. Summit Trailhead MP 13.8.
This trail is 1.9 miles long, and starts 4 miles north of Williams Creek Summit along the
LOWER SHOSHONI TRAIL – Trail #243 (Shown as #247 on the
map), More Difficult to Most Difficult, William’s Cr. Summit Trailhead.
The trail starts on a primitive road, turns left off the road and crosses Moccasin Creek after about two-tenths of a mile. It continues up a fork of the creek a total of seven-tenths of a mile to the steep (currently unmarked) upper trail. The upper trail is incomplete, but will be a 3.3 mile loop for advanced telemark skiers after completion. Intermediate skiers can ski up the bottom of this trail, potentially a 2.6 mile round trip. Park at Williams Creek Summit for both the upper and lower sections. To access the lower trail, ski or walk west along the
A-FRAMES - Try staying at Williams Creek A-Frame. There are several A-frames on the Forests. Only $15/night! For reservations and more information on the A-Frames, contact the Salmon and Challis National Forests’ Headquarters at 208-756-5100.
TRAILS NOT YET ON THE MAP:
DEEP CREEK RIDGE: – Trail #010, More Difficult to Most
Difficult, William’s Cr. Summit Trailhead MP 13.8.
This trail starts 0.6 miles south of
MUKLUK: – Trail #244, Most Difficult,
William’s Cr. Summit Trailhead MP 13.8.
The Deep Cr. Ridge Trail currently feeds directly into this trail.
UPPER SHOSHONI: – Trail #243, (This is a Telemark
Trail steeper than Most Difficult), William’s Cr. Summit Trailhead 13.8.
The trail starts 0.7 miles up the Deep Cr. Ridge Trail and feeds into the Lower Shoshoni Trail.
This trail starts about 2.9 miles north of
This Web Page is: http://home.custertel.net/~ckeene41/xcskiwmscr_traildescr.htm
Latest update 06/10/09 19:15 PM
Previous update 09/18/08 21:00 PM
Earlier update 02/15/05 12:15 PM
Minor Edits marked with (**).