Pine Creek Pass
Access via: From Victor ID – Hwy ID 33, turn east onto Hwy ID 31, in the direction of Swan Valley ID. Pine Creek Pass summit is 7 miles. Large car park on south side.
The winter trail head is located at the far south-east side of the car park, where a snowmobile trail may be seen. The ski trail follows the summer National Forest service road NF253 for 5.6 miles out to the summer trailhead (marked “trailhead” on NSGS topo maps).
This ski outing can be a short as one likes, and at 2 miles out, affords beautiful views looking north-east across Teton Valley to the Tetons, and north-west and west across the Big Hole Mountains. The trail is wide and open, with room for 2 skiers side by side, dogs, and space for a snowmobile to pass, should you come across one.
The trail begins at 6780 feet in elevation, however, seems to keep good snow well into the spring. We skied the trail in April, well after the valleys were bare, yet plenty of snow on the trail. Great place for a picnic –remember that snow will soften in the spring sun, and to start your return before snow gets too mushy.
The trail follows the ridgeline south out 5.6 miles to the summer trailhead, and offers quiet space with easy skiing, gentle grade uphill outbound in a remote setting. Mid-week, there are few if any snowmobiles, yet with the benefit of the snowmobile track to avoid breaking trail. Pine Creek Pass is one of those nordic trails overlooked or unknown to most local skiers, and its access is quick and easy, even from Jackson Hole.
Summer Hike: this trail follows the summer National Forest service road NF253 for 5.6 miles out to the summer trailhead (marked “trailhead” on NSGS topo maps), and can be a nice easy walk, as well as a gravel bike or mountain bike ride on a wide road. Big yellow flowers full the fields next to the road in late spring/early summer.