Best Harriman State Park Cross Country Skiing

The 6th most popular XC Ski in Idaho.

  Ashton, Idaho, US


  July 31, 2016

Harriman State Park is located 20 miles north of Ashton on Highway 20. There is a total of 21 miles of cross country skiing trails, and 10 of those are groomed, providing opportunities for all levels of skiing. Harriman is a wintering ground for the majestic trumpeter swan and is home to many other animals. A warming shelter and restrooms are provided at the trailhead. The $3 entrance fee is waived if you have a Park N Ski permit on your vehicle.

To reach the cross-country skiing trailhead from the intersection of US 20 and SR 47/ SR 32 in Ashton, go north on US 20 for 18.25 miles to a left into the park entrance on Green Canyon Rd. Park at the Visitor Center.

Harriman State Park is located 20 miles north of Ashton on Highway 20. There is a total of 23 miles of cross country skiing trails for skiing and snowshoeing, 18 miles are groomed with tracks, and 11 miles of these trails are groomed for skating. There are 5 miles of ungroomed trails. Trails begin at the Visitor Center and are marked with blue diamonds. Each trail intersection is numbered and has an area trail map.

Skating lanes are provided on the Big Bend Loop and portions of the Henrys Fork, Golden Lake, Meadow Loops and Brimstone Trail. Mileage is shown on the map. Trails are usually groomed on Monday and Friday evenings.

Harriman State Park has a skier fee of $2.00 per person and $4.00 per day per car. The annual family pass for skiing at both Harriman and Ponderosa is $25.00. The annual State Park parking permit is also $25.00. Both permits can be purchased at Harriman.

Henrys Fork Loop - This short trail skirts the banks of the Henrys Fork to the Railroad Ranch and returns on a flat wide track. It is an excellent trail to learn the sport and to observe waterfowl. (easiest)

Ranch Loop - The Ranch Trail travels along the scenic shores of Silver Lake and through the historic Railroad Ranch. On weekends, stop by the Jones Warming Hut to warm by the fire. (easiest)

Silver Lake Loop - The Silver Lake Trail follows the shoreline of Silver Lake. The south side is not groomed and is considered difficult due to short hills and sharp turns. (most difficult)

Golden Lake Loop - The Golden Lake Loop travels through meadows and aspen/lodgepole forest with gentle slopes. Expect an exciting hill between intersections 18 and 19. (more difficult)

Thurmon Creek Loop - Following an old logging road for half its length, the Thurmon Creek Loop travels through lodgepole forest with only gentle slopes. A warming hut is located near intersection 17. (most difficult)

Ridge Trail - Climbing 400 feet above Silver Lake, the Ridge Trail is the park*s most challenging trail. The Ridge Overlook provides spectacular views of the Tetons with the lakes and forest of Harriman in the foreground. Expect steep trail conditions. This trail is not groomed. (most difficult) Ridge Shortcut - Faster to the overlook but steep. This trail is not groomed. (most difficult)

Meadow Loop - Primarily a flat route, the Meadow Loop takes you across an extensive meadow to the Thurmon Creek Overlook and then back to the ranch. (more difficult due to distance)

Big Bend Loop - A wide, mostly flat trail, the Big Bend Trail provides an excellent loop trail for skaters. Be aware that strong winds may cause visibility problems on this trail. (most difficult due to distance)

Brimstone Trail - Flat but long, the Brimstone connects Harriman State Park Visitors Center with the Brimstone Trailhead near Pond's Lodge. This is a 10.8 mile trail, one way. (most difficult due to distance)

Overall, Harriman State Park is the 6th most popular cross country ski area of all 41 Nordic ski destinations in Idaho. Several of the better cross country ski trails are nearby Harriman State Park including Bear Gulch / Mesa Falls, Bear Creek/Palisades, Fall Creek / Swan Valley and Trail Canyon Trail.

Local Contacts:  HSP 208-558-7368; Idaho Tourism (800) 635-7820.

Best Season:  Dec. - Mar.

Average Difficulty:  Moderate

Reference Source:  click here

GPS:  44.3219, -111.4609

Date Published:  12/27/2015

Date Updated:  7/31/2016

ID:  11143

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Harriman State Park Cross Country Skiing Map