Hyalite Nordic Trails

It's no secret that Hyalite is a mecca for winter recreation, and gliding on skinny skis is one of the best ways to experience the canyon's splendor. Lacing its way through forests and meadows around Hyalite Reservoir is a sprawling network of Nordic trails—nearly 40 miles' worth, about half of which are groomed by the Forest Service with help from the Bridger Ski Foundation. You can check the grooming report to see which trails have gotten a pass recently. These trails have a bit more character than the town trails or Sourdough—don't expect perfect conditions; rather, cherish the variety of substrates you may encounter.

It's choose-your-own-adventure skiing up here, with loads of options. From the reservoir parking lot, you can ski up along the west side of the reservoir to Window Rock Cabin, cross the road and head past the Maxy Cabin, then swing back along the east side of the reservoir for a 10-mile jaunt. Or, for a shorter outing, kick and glide north from this parking lot toward History Rock, where you can utilize one of several cutoff trails to shorten or lengthen the distance. If you're still looking for more, poke around the Wildhorse – Lick Creek loop, or explore the maze of trails around the Blackmore Lake Trailhead.

Trail passes aren’t required for Hyalite, but when you buy a BSF Trail Pass, you support the season’s grooming effort.

Lower Canyon

The trails below the reservoir can be accessed from the Lick Creek and History Rock parking areas. These trails generally follow wide double-track roads with flat to gentle grades. Trails on the History Rock side have minimal elevation gain and can be connected with the trails near the reservoir. Trails on the Lick Creek side have more elevation gain and can be connected with trails in the Wildhorse area.

Reservoir Area

Hyalite Reservoir has the largest parking area in the canyon. There's a trail that follows along the southwestern edge of the reservoir and connects with the upper-canyon trails. A smaller parking area across the dam, at the northeast edge of the reservoir, connects with the Wildhorse trails, which have the most elevation gain and technical sections of Hyalite's Nordic trails.

Upper Canyon

Above the reservoir, groomed trails lead up the main-fork and east-fork drainages of Hyalite Creek. These trails are the least frequently groomed in Hyalite, but also the least trafficked. They also tie in with the ungroomed, singletrack trails leading up to Hyalite and Emerald lakes, if you're looking for an alpine experience. The trail to Hyalite Lake tends to be well-traveled, but expect to be breaking trail if you're heading toward Emerald.

There are five parking areas to access these trails, depending on your intended route. The first is Lick Creek, 8.5 miles up Hyalite Canyon Rd. Another half-mile farther is History Rock Trailhead, and a mile past that is Blackmore Lake Trailhead. After another half-mile is a large parking lot at the reservoir, and across the damn is a sizable pullout. Thanks to the Forest Service and funding from Friends of Hyalite, the Hyalite Canyon road remains plowed all winter long—though driving conditions can be dicey, so take it slow.