|Many snowmobilers know Wyoming as home to Yellowstone National Park and the longest single trail system in the West, the Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail.
Those two claims to fame are impressive, but anyone who rides in Wyoming on a regular basis knows the state has more to offer than just those two areas, especially in the winter. For instance, everything you like about the CDST is replicated over and over all across the state.
And that’s why Wyoming is the ideal snowmobile destination.
Wyoming is just behind Colorado (No. 1) when it comes to states with the highest mean elevation in the United States. And elevation is what riding in the West is all about, so you can be sure you won’t be disappointed when it comes to snowmobiling in Wyoming.
Interestingly, there are three bands of riding areas in the state: the western edge, the center and one more area tucked away in the northeast corner. In between the three is high desert. There are small pockets of riding areas in between the big bands but you have to do your homework to find them.
Here are a handful you might consider. One is a short trail located south of Jackson Hole, a few miles southeast of Hoback Junction, that leads to a hot springs and some excellent backcountry riding. The road/trail is about 12 miles from Hoback Junction. From the trailhead it’s about 10 miles to the hot springs.
Another short trail—6.5 miles—takes off from the Cache Creek Parking Area right out of Jackson Hole and follows Cache Creek Drive and Cache Creek. This gives access to a small area of riding but you should keep in mind there is a Wilderness area north of the road.
Farther north of Jackson, off U.S. Highway 26/89/191, there are a couple of trailheads, one groomed, one not, that offer access to the mountains roughly between Togwotee and Grand Teton National Park. There is a lot of winter range (closed to help protect animals) and Wilderness in this area so you need a map that shows the legal areas to ride.
Another more technical riding area is near Bedford, also on the west side of the state, where there is bowl after bowl best suited to more experienced riders. You need someone who knows the area to show you around as it’s not a place you want to try and figure out on your own.
There is also the Shirley Mountains, north and east of Rawlins. Riding here is on BLM land with about 90 miles of ungroomed trails. Access to the area is available along the Shirley Mountain Loop Road. For more information, contact the Carbon County Visitors Council (800) 228-3547.
Or you can try the Laramie Mountains between Laramie and Douglas (in the Medicine Bow National Forest). Contact the Douglas Chamber of Commerce (877) 937 4996 for more information.
A couple of short groomed trails in southwest Wyoming lead to Utah’s Uinta Mountains in southwest Wyoming. Access to those trailheads is about 20 miles south of Mountain View.
One of the attractions of snowmobiling in Wyoming—besides the light, dry powder and varied terrain—is the length of the season, which comes courtesy of the state’s higher average elevations. In some areas you can begin riding around Thanksgiving time and not have to put the sled away until May or even June.
Then there’s Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks where, yes, you can still snowmobile. In Yellowstone all snowmobiles are commercially guided and are required to meet NPS best available technology requirements.
For more information, check out www.gosledwyoming.com.
|Miles of groomed trails:
|Number of clubs: 17|