If you are one of the few visitors who visits the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway during the winter, your experience will be vastly different than that of a summertime visitor. Gone are long lines of cars and motorhomes filling the park roads. Gone is the twittering of birds, the rustling of aspen leaves, or the background hum of voices. Instead, you are experiencing a cold, white wonderland.
Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing
Opportunities abound for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the Flagg Ranch area of the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Unmarked trails follow scenic terrain that ranges from easy to difficult. These activities are great ways to experience the exhilaration of winter. Watch for wildlife such as moose, coyote, and ermine, and look for signs of wildlife in the snow. Be safe, be prepared, and enjoy your time exploring the quiet beauty of winter. A map of available parkway trails is posted at the Flagg Ranch Information Station.
Cross-country skier. NPS Photo/Jim Peaco
Flagg area cross country ski and snowshoe routes:
Polecat Loop Route: Not maintained
--Easy, 2.5 miles roundtrip, elevation change 50'.
Flagg Canyon Route North: Not maintained
--Difficult, 4.0 miles roundtrip, elevation change 120'.
--Use caution to avoid cornices where the trail follows the edge of cliffs above the Snake River.
--Return via the snowmobile trail to make a loop.
Flagg Canyon Route South: Not maintained
--Easy, 4.0 miles roundtrip, elevation change: 40'.
--Return via the snowmobile trail adjacent to the road to make a loop.
Grassy Lake road is open for snow-mobiling between Flagg Ranch and Ashton, ID. Snowmobile trips on Grassy Lake Road are not required to use Best Available Technology (BAT) snowmobiles.
Snowmobiles (NPS Photo/Jim Peaco)
Flagg Ranch is the closest point to Yellowstone National Park open to automobiles in winter. Automobiles may not travel beyond Flagg Ranch. In winter, Yellowstone is accessible only by guided snowmobile and snowcoach tours, or by self-guided cross-country ski tour. Contact an outfitter for further details about guided tours. Commercial guide services operate out of Jackson, WY and other Yellowstone gateway communities.
Snowcoach (NPS Photo)