2014 Messiah Men's Group
Elkhorn Yurt Trip
The Elkhorn yurt is conveniently located off the Elkhorn Loop trail for use by Nordic skiers and
snowshoers. This yurt is the most remote of all the Idaho City yurts. You have direct access to over 27 miles of groomed and 50 miles of marked ski trails. The 270° view to the east, south and west is spectacular, especially in the evening. From the yurt you can see Jackson Peak, Wolf Mountain, Steele Mountain, the Trinity range, Sunset Peak, and Pilot Peak. The open, rolling terrain below the yurt provides off-trail skiers a chance to polish their skills. The nearby ungroomed Cougar trail provides access to a prime intermediate/advanced telemark area. This secluded telemark area is about .5 miles away and has 500 feet slopes facing all directions. Snow is usually available early December to mid April.
Intermediate to advanced. The difficulty of touring trails can increase in poor snow conditions and
weather. The beginning of the route to Elkhorn yurt includes a long steep section and may require you to remove your skis and walk up. Later on, skiers can expect short, steep sections of trail that you will have to herringbone up. Climbing skins are recommended for those with heavy packs. Individuals should be thoroughly prepared and travel with someone who has been to the yurt and can readily find it. The Elkhorn Loop trail is generally groomed on Thursday or Friday from December 1 to March 15. You should not count on the trail being groomed, but a freshly groomed trail will substantially reduce the amount of energy necessary to get to the yurt.
Where to Park:
The Banner Ridge Park N' Ski parking lot is about 23.5 miles north of Idaho City on Highway 21, just past mile marker 61. An Idaho Park N’ Ski permit is required to park here Nov 15th to Apr 30th. Please park vehicles close together on the high end of the parking lot next to the highway. The Department of Transportation snowplow operators become frustrated when they cannot plow a lot because cars are parked in the middle. You should also bring a shovel because you might have to dig your car out or in. Do not park on Highway 21. You can be fined for parking on the highway or not displaying a Park N’ Ski Pass
How to Get to the Yurt:
The trails are marked with blue or yellow diamond shapes, called blazes, attached to trees. The
recommended approach to the yurt is to take the Elkhorn Loop trail clockwise to the yurt turnoff point. At the first intersection of the Elkhorn Loop trail, just .2 miles from the parking lot, continue straight up the Elkhorn Loop trail. This will take you past the Banner trail intersection and up onto the scenic Banner Ridge. Stay on the blue blazed Elkhorn Loop. At 2.2 miles you will see the 2-foot yellow blaze that marks the Banner Ridge Yurt access off to your left, at that point you will stay right following the sign that read Elkhorn loop. About 50 yds further , you will see a map board on the left side of the trail, this will show you that you are at the intersection of the Cougar and Elkhorn Loop trail. Follow the Elkhorn loop trail that is marked by blue blazes on the trees.
Follow the Elkhorn Loop trail’s blue blazes through rolling terrain for one mile. At this point, you will be at the second Elkhorn/Cougar trails’ intersection and at the base of a short steep climb. Stay on the Elkhorn Loop trail and climb to the top of the hill. You will see a 4x4 wood post with 2-foot yellow blazes that reads “Cougar Crossing”. Go left into the trees, following the 5” yellow blazes generally south and east (left) for 50 yards at the high point in this area you will find the Elkhorn yurt. You cannot see the yurt from the Cougar crossing sign or the Elkhorn Loop trail.
Elevation Change and Distance:
About 850 feet climbing over 3.0 miles (one-way). There are many steep sections. You will climb and descend several times on your way to the yurt.
Idaho City Area Park N' Ski Location Map, Banner Ridge Winter Trail Route to Elkhorn Yurt.
Other Maps that may be valuable to you.
USFS Forest Road, and USGS 7.5 minute topographic "Lowman."
Global Positioning System Locations UTM (in NAD 83):
Banner Ridge Parking Lot: 11T0611730E 4875470N
Elkhorn Yurt: 11T0613250E 4875400N
Banner Ridge Parking Lot: 5,764 feet
Elkhorn Yurt: 6,441 feet
|Here we go.|
|Ned and I both pulled our pulks on this trip.|
|The hammockers were able to find some clear ground to set up.|
|Woke up to the same temp.|
|New G Code Incog holster fit great in my new pulk harness.|