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Harriman Flush with Snow and Ready to Go

Posted On
Dec 22, 2015
Winter Recreation
Activities near Yellowstone


Skiing the trails at Harriman State Park is like visiting an old friend. And like an old friend, the park adds new winkles to keep things interesting.

On my visit Saturday there was plenty of new snow to ski all of the trails – about 7 or 8 inches – but not enough to start grooming. Being the cheapskate that I am, I don’t mine the ungroomed trails. The latest storm dumped more than a foot of new snow on the park, putting it more than 2 feet. Visitors planning using the trails will be charged a grooming fee starting Saturday.

A couple of new things started last year include the addition of grooming trails to allow fat bikes. The three main accommodations are cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fat bikes. Many of the trails are also set up for skate skiers.

Another relatively new feature is that the main road to the railroad ranch is plowed and a new parking area has been created near the ranch buildings. This allows people to start their adventure from the ranch buildings and better accommodate people who are mainly just interested in spending their time there. Personally, I almost always start from the main office parking lot because I look forward to skiing the east trail along the Henry’s Fork River. Even though it’s at the start of the trail system, it offers some of the most beauty and vest wildlife viewing. This is where the swans and ducks hang out. Besides swans and geese, Saturday I saw a couple of varieties of ducks along the semi-frozen river. One of the best features of the park is handy maps posted at each trail junction showing you where you are and where the trails lead. It’s nearly impossible to get lost (although I’ve seen it done). The park plans to open the Jones House at the Railroad Ranch later this month for skiers/shoers/bikers passing through to stop and get a hot drink or just hang out inside to warm up.

Another date to keep in mind is Jan. 9. That’s free ski day at the park and all of the Park ‘N Ski area around the state. The park will have events, demos and activities during that day.

My favorite trails at Harriman include the trail out to the Nordic Ski Patrol’s warming hut (it also has a toilet nearby). From there, I enjoy the Thurmon Ridge trail that climbs above the park on its northwest side for a bit of adventure skiing. This ridge trail is not groomed, but offers some fun and challenging up to the top of the ridge, you’ll be rewarded with some nice views (on clear days) and some long downhill glides on either side of the ridge. You can bring dogs to enjoy the Harriman Hounds trail to the south of the park (on Forest Service land).