Will my cell phone work at the yurt?
Probably not. However, there is service within 300 yards. A map
showing the location/s is posted inside the yurt.
Is the route to the yurt maintained
or marked? The mountain bike route receives little maintenance
but is on a clearly visible dirt road. The winter route can be completely
hidden by snow and is not marked. Whiteouts can make finding the
yurt or the way out that much more challenging. Map reading and
compass skills are essential. For winter visits, at least
one in the group needs to have been to the yurt before.
Can I take my dog? As an animal
lover, and one who understands pets as family, I'd love to say "yes".
However, during the winter months, we rely on melting snow for our
water. So, in consideration of subsequent guests, unless your little
buddy is trained to use an outhouse, the answer is a very apologetic
"no". During the warmer months, we also have to say "no"
due to concerns for the safety of your canine friend and that of
various wildlife. Very sorry!
Tuttle enroute to Yellowstone after a night at the Yipping
How do I get my stuff to the yurt with
This can be achieved in several different ways.
If you already have "bikepacking" bags, you know what
to do. If not, carrying your gear in a
backpack is the simplest way, requiring no specialized "bikepacking"
gear. While not ideal for a longer trip, a backpack will work fine
given the short distance to the yurt and the small amount of needed
gear. Other options are panniers, or a combination of panniers and
a smaller backpack...or a single-wheeled trailer.
What kind of bike do I need?
If your interest is simply getting to the yurt
and back, any kind of bike capable of riding on bumpy dirt roads
will work (see Tim's touring bike in the pic above). If you plan
to explore after you've arrived at the yurt, a more dedicated mountain
bike is advisable. A cross country oriented mountain bike would
What is the mountain biking like?
In addition to the standard route to and from the yurt, there are
11 more miles (one way) of two-track open for exploration. It is
a mix of old mining roads and the historic Goodales Cutoff, aspens
and open sagebrush. Some of the routes are steep requiring strong
legs, good lungs, and downhill skills. Otherwise, the riding is
non-technical and suitable for all skill levels. There are fewer
than 2 miles of single track as of now. It is technical with a steep
section going through aspens. The development of other existing
trails is being explored for additional advanced riding.
Will my "cross country" or
"nordic" skis with scales get me to the yurt?
No, not without climbing skins. However, people
who do not own skins but have these type of skis as well as snowshoes,
have used both...skiing where they could then swapping out for the
snowshoes in the steeper sections.
weekend spring trip. Bike in mid Saturday morning. Have
lunch, get acquainted with the yurt, and relax. Prepare dinner and
eat outside under the aspens while enjoying the views. Gaze at the
milky way and listen for the coyotes. Leave late Sunday morning,
taking a shortcut by traversing to a saddle which affords nice views
of the cones and buttes within the monument. Have lunch here then
ride downhill through a small valley with aspens, reconnecting to
the original route.
Ambitious weekend spring trip.
Bike in mid Saturday morning, get acquainted with the yurt and have
lunch. Hike to the nearby ridge enjoying huge views of the Craters
of the Moon and the Great Rift, Blizzard Mountain and its drainages,
and Big Southern Butte, one of the largest volcanic domes on earth.
On a clear day, look for the Raft River, Black Pine, and Sublett
mountain ranges along the Idaho/Utah border. If it's exceptionally
clear, the Tetons to the east can even be seen! Have dinner back
at the yurt then enjoy the star show and symphony of coyotes in
the outside seating area. Leave the next morning, taking a shortcut
on single track leading to a saddle with views of Grassy and Silent
Cones as well as Big Cinder Butte. Descend the steep single track
through aspens then ride up an old mining road to the ridge overlooking
Little Cottonwood and Leach Creeks, the only perennial streams in
the park. Have lunch while enjoying the excellent views of the volcanism
then descend to the route you came in on. Soak those tired muscles
in the hotsprings on the way home.
Overnight winter weekend trip.
Ski in mid Saturday morning, arriving mid afternoon. Explore the
yurt then prepare and eat dinner while sauna is warming. Relax in
the sauna. Bed down, enjoying the flames from the wood fire and
the galaxy through the skylight. On the way out late Sunday morning,
take a short detour to gain additional elevation and enjoy the views
before making some turns down to the original route.
Two night winter weekend trip.
Ski in Friday afternoon arriving in time to prepare and eat dinner.
Study the maps and make a game plan for Saturday before bedding
down. Ascend to one of the nearby ridges and enjoy the vast and
varying views of the Craters of the Moon and the Great Rift, Blizzard
Mountain and its drainages, and Big Southern Butte, one of the largest
volcanic domes on earth. On a clear day, the Raft River, Black Pine,
and Sublett mountain ranges along the Idaho/Utah border can be seen.
And if you're lucky, you might even be able to see the Tetons to
the east! When done enjoying the views, carve some turns down to
the yurt or go back up for more. If you're looking for mellower
terrain, ski the gentle slope into the flats below and explore the
Aspen groves and hills jutting out into the lava fields. Either
way, once you've made it back to the yurt for the day, browse the
journal then prepare and eat dinner while the sauna is warming.
Relax in the sauna. Sleep well. Ski out late Sunday morning carving
a few turns to the side, soaking in the hotsprings on the way home.
variety of ski terrain from cross country exploration to steep