Special from Wyoming’s Wind River Country
(Fremont County, Wyo.) – Great snow is reported right now along Wyoming’s Togwotee Pass, which is part of the Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail (CDST). Togwotee Pass is one of the few places with snow at this time of year,” said Ron McKinney, the Wyoming State Trails manager at its Lander office.
“With Alpine, The CDST, Snowy Range, Big Horns, all in the Top 10 of this year’s survey, Wyoming dominates the first 10 spots with four riding areas.” according to SnoWest magazine.
These standings were the result of a survey by the readers of SnoWest Magazine, the sport’s leading authority on adventure snowmobile riding. This designation is published in the annual “Western Guide to Snowmobiling 2013” ranking scenery, grooming, signage, map, off-trail, snow quality, crowds, terrain, services and weather by the people who know it best, the riders.
Of course, if there isn’t good snow, there isn’t good snowmobiling. You can count on the CDST to deliver in this area with not only deep snow but champagne powder, according to the Wind River Visitors Counci. Togwotee Pass, around 9,000’ in elevation, is famous for its early snow and late spring snowmobiling. Because of Wyoming’s higher average elevation, the length of the season traditional stretches from November through May. Excellent snowmobile services, lodging, restaurants and amenities near Dubois add to the appeal of snowmobiling powder on Togwotee Pass. For more information on this area contact the Dubois Chamber of Commerce.
The CDST Trail has always been a favorite among snowmobilers, and it is the number five snowmobile trail in the west this year. The CDST has ranked in the top five for many years. This year, West Yellowstone held onto the first ranked spot again for the third year in a row. Wyoming’s Continental Divide did hold that number one spot for three years until West Yellowstone ascended. “It’s still one of the best in the West,” explained in SnoWest’s Guide to Snowmobiling.
The CDST is one of the West’s largest and longest trail systems. There are miles of unbelievable views, as the trail runs along the Continental Divide from Lander northwest to West Yellowstone. The southern end of the trail in Wyoming begins on South Pass, accessing through the Loop Road on US Hwy. 28 or out of Sinks Canyon trailhead. Check the Lander Chamber of Commerce for amenities in this area.
The trail then winds through the Wind River Mountains, over the Continental Divide to Pinedale on the western slope, back over the Divide to Dubois and Togwotee Pass. The Trail goes through Grand Teton National Park, making Jackson Hole a great stopping place. To ride the rest of the CDST, adventurers can ride into Yellowstone National Park with approved snowmobile machines and a guide, ending up in West Yellowstone. Sledders can chose to ride the entire trail or enjoy parts of it each trip.
This trail system is maintained through cooperative efforts of the Wyoming Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources Division of State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails; the U.S. Forest Service; the Bureau of Land Management and local snowmobile clubs.
The Continental Divide Area follows the Wind River Range and includes trail systems in the Lander, Pinedale, Dubois, Togwotee Pass and Gros Ventre areas. The Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail (CDST) runs from Lander (the southeast end) to West Yellowstone (the northwest end). It generally parallels the Continental Divide and actually crosses the divide four times. The variety of terrain, trail, snow and scenery is unequaled anywhere else.
You have two options for travel in this area. One option is to proceed west into Idaho, and then north to West Yellowstone, Montana. This section of the trail is 95 miles, making the total distance between Lander, Wyoming and West Yellowstone, Montana a total of 365 miles. Or, you can proceed north through Yellowstone National Park via Old Faithful and into West Yellowstone. This route is 74 miles.
The Lander area has 75 miles of trails through scenic-forested mountains. Excellent ice fishing can be enjoyed in beautiful mountain lakes along the trails. Average snow depth runs from three to six feet. Complete services and facilities are available in Lander and gas, food and lodging are available in the South Pass area.
The trail between Lander and Pinedale is extremely varied. Expect high mountains with scenic views. Visibility up to 150 miles is possible. Dense forest trails with snow-covered trees take riders from one huge open play area to another with six to eight feet of snow depth. The trail from Irish Canyon Trailhead to Pinedale (approximately 30 miles) is in the highway right-of-way, but even this section is beautiful and fun to ride. Low snow conditions are possible in the Boulder to Pinedale section. It is another 12 miles into Pinedale. The longest stretch between fuel stops is between the Lander trailheads and Boulder (approximately 90 miles). Snowmobiling is allowed in Pinedale with the restriction that you can cross Main Street but cannot ride down the street.
From Pinedale north to the Upper Green River Trailhead, the CDST is in the highway right-of-way again for about 30 miles. The Pinedale area trail system has 135 miles of trail through some of the most scenic country in the West. The snow at the higher elevations can be six to eight feet deep. All services are available in Pinedale and gas, food, lodging, rentals and guides are found close to the Upper Green River Trailhead.
The Dubois area boasts of some of the best and most scenic riding in the world on 150 miles of beautiful trails and thousands of acres of off-trail riding. Snow conditions are good with a snow depth of from one to ten feet and one of the longest seasons. All services can be found in Dubois as well as gas, food, lodging, rentals and guides along the CDST north of Dubois.
Appealing to many sledders is the variety of riding available on the CDST. There’s something for everyone in terms of skill level and length of trail. There are hundreds of miles of groomed trails, or ungroomed powder. Plus, exceptional services are available throughout the trail system so you can end each day with a hot meal and comfortable lodging.
With its spectacular views, this trail (or parts of it) is a “must-do” right now or at least this winter. For more information on deals and packages visit Wyoming’s Wind River Country and SledWyoming or call 800-645-6233 for a free winter vacation packet. For information on Wyoming Snowmobile trails http://wyotrails.state.wy.us. You can sign up for a free weekly snowmobile grooming report by email at http://www.windriver.org/register.php so you’re the first to know the new conditions.
To learn more about what Wind River Country has to offer, or to request a vacation packet, please visit us at Wind River Country or call 800-645-6233.