CHECK IT OUT
Distance: 6-7 miles round trip
Difficulty: Mostly easy
Skiing time: 3-4 hours
Season: Mid-Dec. through Feb.
Maps: USGS Outlet Bay plus Chipmunk Rapids ski trial map from Priest Lake Ranger District
Info: Hill’s Resort, (208) 443-2551
SKI TOURING TRIP NOTES
Access: From Priest River, Idaho, take State Highway 57 north 22-1/2 miles. Look for trailhead parking on right just past milepost 22.
Attractions: Easily accessible trail follows jeep roads that wind through forest to soothing views of rapids along Priest River. Trail, occasionally groomed by snowmobile, has little elevation gain-loss. Starts at elev. 2,530 feet. Low point at 2,370 feet near Chipmunk Rapids.
Comments: Trail particularly attractive after fresh snow in cold weather, when steam rises from river and trees flocked in white.
Route typically groomed to touring standards on Thursday or Friday if snow accumulates during week. Usually not suitable for skating. Call Hill’s Resort for grooming update, or be prepared to break trail. Grooming helps keep skiers from straying off marked route and onto side roads.
Soon after leaving trailhead, route passes wetland known as Mission Marsh. Look for tracks of wildlife ranging from snowshoe hares, coyotes and cougars to white-tailed deer and moose. Waterfowl use area when water isn’t capped with ice.
At first junction, stay left and ski to several spots for look at Priest River. Chipmunk Rapids is at second trail junction, about 3 miles into route. Good place for snack.
Take shortcut to right and loop back for 6-mile tour. Or continue downstream along river for 1-mile extension loop that heads gradually uphill before doubling back north near a switchback.
Consider this backcountry touring. Take daypack with food, water, extra clothes, flashlight, matches and other essentials.
More info available at Priest Lake Ranger Station on Highway 57 near milepost 32-1/2, telephone (208) 443-2512.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Map: Chipmunk Rapids Ski Tour
The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN - Routes: Classic Trips in the Inland Northwest