Best Bear Gulch / Mesa Falls Cross Country Skiing

The 4th most popular XC Ski in Idaho.

  Ashton, Idaho, US


  July 12, 2016

In the Caribou - Targhee National Forest, this ski area is located seven miles northeast of Ashton on Mesa Falls Forest Highway 47. Thecross country ski trail parallels the snowmobile trail out to the spectacular Lower and Upper Mesa Falls. The trail then branches away from the snowmobile trail and travels along the canyon rim, then returns to the trailhead. This trail is recommended for intermediate and advanced skiers because of the steep climb in the first mile. The trail is nearly nine miles long and is groomed periodically when funding and weather conditions permit.

Parking for the Bear Gulch-Mesa Falls Trail system is located at the end of the plowed section of the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway (route 47), 12 miles northeast of Ashton, Idaho, near the old Bear Gulch alpine ski area. The parking lot is also a trailhead for snowmobiles heading into Island Park and includes a restroom. Idaho Park N Ski permits are required for skiers and permits can be obtained at any Forest Service office, Harriman State Park and Island Park businesses. Skiers and snowmobiles share the trailhead the unplowed Byway for the first 0.4 miles. The trail system consists of 2 loops and a spur in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest totaling 7 miles. Trail maps are posted at the numbered trail intersections. Depending on snow conditions the trail system is usually groomed weekly by Forest Service personnel.

Overall, Bear Gulch / Mesa Falls is the 4th most popular cross country ski area of all 41 Nordic ski destinations in Idaho. Several of the better cross country ski trails are nearby Bear Gulch / Mesa Falls including Harriman State Park, Bear Creek/Palisades, Fall Creek / Swan Valley and Trail Canyon Trail.

Local Contacts:  TNF (208) 624-3151; Idaho Tourism (800) 635-7820.Rendezvous Ski Tours (208) 787-2906.

Best Season:  Dec. - Mar.

Average Difficulty:  Moderate

Base Camp:  Commissary Ridge or Baldy Knoll Huts (208) 787-2906

Luxury Loding:  Teton Ridge Ranch (208) 456-2650

Breakfast Restaurant:  Chalet Restaurant, Last Chance

Reference Source:  click here

GPS:  44.1516, -111.2858

Date Published:  12/26/2015

Date Updated:  7/12/2016

ID:  11144

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Bear Gulch / Mesa Falls Cross Country Skiing Map