Southwest of Chadron in the Nebraska National Forest, the 100 mile Pine Ridge Trail crosses the 6,600 acre Pine Ridge National Recreation Area. It makes for a great backcountry ski touring expedition. It runs through woodlands with craggy sandstone buttes rising 1,000 feet above the surrounding hills and grassy swales. The best section of the trail is an 18-miler that starts at Coffee Mill Butte Trailhead, goes across the Pine Ridge escarpment--home to wild turkeys, bobcats, coyotes, and golden eagles--and takes you through ponderosa pine forests to the West Ash Trailhead.
To reach the Coffee Mill Butte Trailhead from Scottsbluff, take SR 71 north 75 miles to Crawford and head 20 miles east on USs 20 to Dead Horse Road. The trailhead is about ten miles south on the right.
A detailed trail map is available from the Cadron Chamber of Commerce for $5.95 by calling (308) 432-4401.
Overall, Pine Ridge Trail is the 2nd most popular cross country ski area of all 2 Nordic ski destinations in Nebraska.
Local Contacts: NNF (308) 432-4475; Nebraska Tourism (800) 228-4307; CSP (308) 432-6167; Chadron Chamber (308) 432-4401; Mountain Mania, Chadron (308) 432-3653.
Best Season: Dec. - Feb.
Average Difficulty: Moderate
Base Camp: Chadron State Park Campground; Soldier Creek Campground; Main Street B&B (308) 432-3380
Luxury Loding: Chadron State Park Cabins; Fort Robinson Inn, Crawford (308) 665-2900
Reference Source: click here https://www.fs.usda.gov/nebraska
GPS: 42.70805, -103.00847
Date Published: 1/4/2016
Date Updated: 4/6/2018
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