1. Jenny Lake – Grand Teton National Park
Topo Map: Moose or GTNP
Directions/Parking: Drive 12 miles north from Jackson to the road junction at Moose and take a left. Then drive three more miles to the parking area on the left. A park entrance permit is required.
Trail description: There are several options for skiers here. Routes to Jenny Lake share the same start, which is quite obvious: Follow the wide, groomed track north from the parking area. For skiers who enjoy groomed trail, continue following the groomed route north, with the Teton Peaks off to your left, for roughly five miles until you see the sign for Jenny Lake. Here, take a left off the main route for a short side trip to the lake itself. This 10-mile round trip is also a great out-and-back ski for people who want to ski shorter distances. Alternatively, for people who prefer a more solitary experience, skiers can travel roughly a quarter mile from the parking area on the groomed track and, just before the bridge over Cottonwood Creek, bear left, where there will usually be a skier-packed trail off the main groomed road. Ski north on the left side of the creek drainage. After a little while, it’s possible to travel on either side of the creek, but roughly follow the creek drainage all the way to Jenny Lake. Look for a group of cabins partway along the trip, which makes a nice place for a picnic. Spectacular views of the Teton Range can be had throughout the trip.
Avalanche risk: Low
2. Taggart Lake/Beaver Creek Loop – Grand Teton National Park
Topo Map: Moose and Grand Teton or GTNP
Directions/Parking: Follow the directions for the preceding ski tour to Jenny Lake.
Trail description: Starting from the same parking area, this tour heads west toward the mountains. A three- to five-mile round trip, this tour features a variety of terrain from flat to moderately steep trails. After heading in toward the Tetons, turn north and follow the trail as it first skirts and then climbs through the moraine. After about a mile, the trail forks. If you turn right another mile of climbing takes you to a view above Taggart Lake. Going left takes you directly to the lake itself. Return via the same route or turn south, cross the lake’s outlet on a bridge, and follow another trail that climbs the moraine above the lake. This trail leads out along Beaver Creek to the parking area. Both return trips involve descending the moraine, where the track can be icy. Use care on the descent.
Avalanche risk: Low
3. Phelps Lake Overlook – Grand Teton National Park
Topo Map: Grand Teton or GTNP
Directions/Parking: From Moose go left on the Moose-Wilson Road and drive 3.1 miles to a small parking area on the right.
Trail description: A five-mile round trip, this tour follows the unplowed road to the Death Canyon trailhead for the first 1.5 miles. The ski trail then climbs gradually to the south through lodgepole forest, roughly following the summer trail, to an overlook above Phelps Lake. Return via the same route, which is all gradual downhill.
Avalanche risk: Low to moderate.
4. Shadow Mountain – Grand Teton National Park
Topo Map: Shadow Mt. or GTNP
Directions/Parking: From Jackson drive north on Highway 191 to the Gros Ventre Junction and turn right. Drive through Kelly and then five miles north to the end of the plowed road.
Trail description: One of the classic Jackson Hole ski tours, this seven-mile round trip features a mellow climb with wonderful views of the Tetons across the valley. Ski north on the flats until reaching the edge of the forest. Turn east on an unplowed Forest Service road that winds up Shadow Mountain. The route climbs 1,500 feet above the valley floor and is usually packed by skiers and snowmobilers. Return via the road or ski down through open glades on the southwest flank of the mountain.
Avalanche risk: Low to moderate
5. Moose-Wilson Road near Teton Village and LSR Preserve
Topo Map: Grand Teton/Teton Village
Directions/Parking: To access from the southern end, drive to the end of the Teton Village Road, and continue about one mile past the turnoff for Teton Village. To access from the northern end, drive to Moose, take a left on the Moose-Wilson Road, and drive 3.1 miles to a small parking area at the Death Canyon turnoff.
Trail description: Along the unplowed road, this ski tour is a four-mile or longer round trip that makes a nice half-day outing. And since the Lawrence S. Rockefeller Preserve (formerly the JY Ranch) opened to public access within the last year, this route also provides access to the south end of Phelps Lake. Skiers can make a nice loop through the Preserve starting from either the south or north end of the unplowed Moose-Wilson Road. From the south, leave the parking area past the Grand Teton Park entrance gate (fee required) and ski along the unplowed road to the north, which winds through stands of conifers and open meadows. There are great views of the Teton Range to the west. This is a good spot for wildlife, including moose. From the north, the route covers similar terrain, and it’s slightly shorter from the north to access the LSR Preserve. Either way, during the first winter it was open (2007-08), there was frequently a broken ski track entering the Preserve from two different points along the unplowed road, one that roughly follows the summer Woodland Trail (northern route) and the other that follows an old access road to the Ranch (at the juncture where the paved road turns to gravel in the summer).
Avalanche risk: Low
6. Cache Creek Canyon – East end of Town of Jackson
Topo Maps: Jackson, Cache Creek
Directions/Parking: Drive east of Broadway away from the Town Square, take a right on Redmond across the from hospital, drive six or seven blocks and take a left on Cache Creek Drive. Drive to the end of the road and, when the pavement ends, keep going up a plowed Forest Service road to reach the parking area.
Trail description: This is another area with many possible routes. The most obvious is to tour, skate or snowshoe up the main road beyond the parking area, which is groomed several times a week by the Parks and Recreation Departments. Suitable for beginner cross-country skiers or snowshoers, this is more advanced skate skiing because of the hills involved. This tour can be as short or as long as desired. For an easy tour with very little avalanche danger, just follow the road a couple of miles up the canyon. You gradually gain elevation before descending back to your car. The farther you go up the canyon the more challenging the terrain becomes. From the parking area, there are two other options for skiers. One involves skiing a couple hundred feet back down the road from the parking area to a bridge over Cache Creek. After crossing the bridge and climbing for several minutes, you can ski either east or west along the Hagen Trail on the flank of the mountain. If you go east, the Hagen Trail connects at several points back into the main groomed road. Alternatively, skiers can ski back down the road just beyond the bridge to a wide area in the road (where some people park). Just beyond a forest service sign, the Putt Putt Trail begins climbing uphill onto the mountainside to the north of the main groomed road, before heading east paralleling the road. Like the Hagen Trail, skiers can go uphill and reconnect at several points with the groomed road.
Avalanche risk: Moderate
7. Snake River Dike between Jackson and Wilson
Topo Maps: Not required
Directions/Parking: Drive out Highway 22 to the bridge over the Snake River five miles west of Jackson. Park on northeast side of the bridge in the Emily’s Pond parking lot.
Trail description: This route involves one or more hours along a flat trail. The northeast side of the bridge is a great place for beginner skaters, though the grooming isn’t as perfect as at a nordic center since people often walk the route as well. The parks and recreation department grooms the dike twice a week for touring and skate skiing. The river corridor is home to moose and deer so bring a leash for dogs. The area is a birdwatcher’s heaven. This is a popular area because of its proximity to town.
Avalanche risk: None