This is Trail Talk for the week starting September 11. The News&Guide compiles reports on trail conditions from three major agencies that manage public lands in the area.
Turn here to find out where to go, which trails are not recommended and what to consider when venturing into the backcountry.
Officials recommend you always pack warm clothing, rain gear, extra food and water and emergency supplies in case circumstances cause you to be out longer than planned. Visitors should remember that both national parks in the area require permits for any overnight stays in the backcountry.
Storms blasting the valley Tuesday afternoon were expected to continue, bringing rain, hail and even snow today, according to the National Weather Service.
The Weather Service’s Riverton office forecast significant amounts of precipitation through Wednesday night. The weather system was drawing in cooler air, which was expected to bring snowfall to the Teton and Gros Ventre mountains. Accumulating snowfall could reach 1 to 3 inches, with 4 to 10 inches above 10,000 feet.
Frequent cloud-to-ground lighting was occurring with the storm. Lighting can strike as far as 10 miles from a thunderstorm.
Hikers and campers should prepare for winter conditions and seek sturdy shelter.
Also, due to the cold, wet weather, Teton County lifted fire restrictions that had been in place since Sept. 1.
Yellowstone National Park
Fire watch: Consider weather conditions and double check if campfires are allowed before you light one.
There are currently four active fires. The blaze in Pollux Peak and the Wyodaho Fire in the Bechler area have area closures, but no trail or campsite closures. The Brimstone Fire, which is east of the Southeast Arm of Yellowstone Lake, has caused six campsites to close and also closed travel south of campsite 5E8. The Wahb Fire in the vicinity of Cache Creek in the northeast corner of the park currently has no closures associated with it.
Grand Teton National Park
Jenny Lake Ranger Station is closed for the season. Backcountry permits will be available only at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose and the Colter Bay Visitor Center.
The first of several storm systems hit the mountain range earlier this week. A light layer of snow and ice now cover the mountains above 11,500 feet. Expect to find more challenging winter conditions on the Grand and other high peaks. The forecast calls for more storms in the next week; these storms have potential for significant snowfall in the mountains. If hiking or backpacking in the mountains be prepared for much wetter and colder conditions. Wayfinding at higher elevations may be more difficult as well, due to snow cover. Be prepared with maps and talk to park rangers before departing.
Be vigilant with campfires, completely putting them out until they are cold to the touch before leaving a campsite. To report smoke or fire cal 739-3301.
Area and temporary road closures: The final phase of emergency repairs related to the June 2017 washout of Gros Ventre Road has begun. Traffic will be reduced to one lane of travel. Delays will be limited to 15 minutes from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m Monday through Friday.
Bridger-Teton National Forest
Some precipitation has knocked down the moon dust and trails will be in excellent condition this fall. That said, forest roads can be very greasy with the rainstorms and take longer to dry out because temperatures have dropped. Be prepared and definitely have a four-wheel drive vehicle if you’re heading to places such as the Gros Ventre Road or Fall Creek Road. It’s hunting season now, so wear orange and be aware of your surroundings. Leash your pets and make sure they also wear orange. Grizzly bears are active this time of year, and with hunting season there is an increase in gut piles and carcasses, so be alert and carry bear spray. Also be prepared for cold nights when camping. The temperatures swing this time of year, sometimes ranging from the 30s at night to upper 70s during the day. Dress accordingly and be prepared.
Last week the Forest Service’s Jackson trail crew built a new turnpike in a boggy area on the Grizzly Lake Trail with assistance from the Backcountry Horsemen, who hauled gravel to the site. Then the crew headed far back into upper Willow Creek to construct reroutes near the massive landslide and clear trees from the trails.