Added by Chad Johnson
A few hours from Boise and about an hour from many hot springs, this is a challenging winter adventure in the backcountry. You'll have beautiful views of the mountains and sky, as well as opportunities for great nordic skiing, A/T skiing, or snowshoeing. This is an inexpensive get together for families, friends or up three couples, and dogs are welcome year-round.
This is one of many great Idaho Parks & Rec backcountry yurts. It sits on a ridge above some excellent tree skiing with views that make the hike well worth it! The wood stove will keep you warm on the coldest of nights, and the kitchen has all the utensils to make a delicious meal. Depending on the size of your pulk or pack, you can expect to spend 2 to 4 hours hiking your way in.
The adventure begins at Gold Fork Park N' Ski Lot, located in the Boise National Forest, a few hours north of Boise and a little less than one hour north of Idaho City on Idaho's Highway 21. The destination, Skyline Yurt (43.9956, -115.5931), is a decent hike, located 2.5 miles up a snowy trail. The trail is a forest service road during the summer that is periodically groomed throughout the winter for nordic skiers. If you are traveling before mid December or after mid March, you cannot expect the trail to be groomed.
This yurt makes a wonderful romantic getaway, a great place to convene for some backcountry skiing, or just an excellent place to get together with friends for a night to remember.
PARKING: The Gold Fork Park N' Ski lot is on Highway 21, about 20 miles north of Idaho City. It is located just after mile marker 59. You must purchase an Idaho Park N’ Ski permit during winter months.
THE HIKE: The trail is located across Highway 21 from the parking lot. You will see a road grade with a green gate. While walking toward that gate you should start to notice little blue diamonds that will confirm you are on the right track. These blue diamonds will guide your whole hike. From the gate, take Summit trail for about .5 miles from the highway. At this point you can go left or right and still end up at the yurt. Either way you follow the blue diamonds for about two more miles until you come upon a large 4" x 4" Yellow diamond. From there, you follow little yellow diamonds another 200 yards to the top of hill where the yurt sits. The yurt is located atop the highest point in the immediate surrounding area.
Here's what the yurts already have:
INSIDE: A futon that sleeps 2, two sets of bunk beds that sleep a total of 4, mattresses with a fitted sheet. A dining table with chairs for 6, as well as a cooking area and a stove. Cooking area has two utensils, plates, bowls, cookware, a melitta and coffee filters, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and garbage bags. There is also a fire extinguisher for your safety. Yurt has dim solar lights, as well as two propane lanterns to light your night.
OUTSIDE: An out house, fire pit, picnic table, outdoor chairs, wood pile, some wood cutting tools and a snow shovel.
- Appropriate winter clothing in which you could bear the elements overnight
- Cross country skis, or an A/T ski setup
- 2 propane tanks
- Lantern mantles
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