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The Portneuf Range Yurt System
A Winter Treat...
Looking for a place to get away from the stress of city life? How about a snowshoe or backcountry ski trip to a yurt? There's no better place to sit back, relax, and take in the silent beauty of an Idaho winter.
The Portneuf Range Yurt System is made up of four mongolian yurt-style structures located in the Portneuf mountains of Southeast Idaho. These yurts are: Catamount, Inman, Jackson, and Skyline. They're for everyone -- families with children can reach the easier yurts while backcountry skiers and boarders will find delightful powder runs at the two yurts located high in the range.
If you're not familiar with a yurt, it is a beautiful, dome shaped structure with a plastic skylight for watching the stars at night. Each yurt is outfitted with bunk beds, a wood burning stove, a Coleman white gas cooking stove and lantern, pots, an axe, and fire wood.
Ideal for back country touring, Southeast Idaho is known for its exhilarating wide open powder slopes and uninhibited cross-country travel. The yurts along the Portneuf range are spaced so skiers can make yurt to yurt trips or, if desired, parties can ski into one yurt and make day trips with the yurt serving as a base camp.
The yurt system is made possible through the work of many volunteers and the cooperation between the Idaho State University Outdoor Adventure Center, Bear Lake Backcountry Skiers, Caribou National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, and private landowners.
ATTENTION!! New changes made in cooking stove and lantern
Be warned that the cooking stove and lantern at all the yurts no longer use white gas. You will need to bring Coleman 16.4 ounce propane cylinders instead of white gas this season .
Winter Hut or Yurt Trips
Use this list to make sure you don't forget anything on your next trip.
Click here for a map (.pdf) of the yurt locations and suggested routes to follow.
Difficult: This is a moderately easy yurt (intermediate) to reach. The distance and elevation gain is slightly greater than the two previously described yurts. Once again, for some skiers, this tour can be difficult, particularly in icy snow conditions. Be prepared and use good judgement. Distance, Route & Other: The route to the yurt follows a snowbound road for the first 3 miles. The last half mile is up a narrow hiking trail though heavy timber. The total distance to the yurt is 3.5 miles with a vertical rise of 1000 feet. In unusually unstable snow conditions, there are a couple of isolated snow slopes that can slide on to the road. The road is regularly machine groomed and is utilized by skiers and snowmobilers. The yurt capacity is six. You must have a Park and Ski Pass to park in this parking lot.
Inman Yurt Guide
Difficulty: Catamount is the next easiest yurts (beginner to intermediate) to ski or snowshoe to. Although easy, treat the tour with respect. Make sure you know the route well.
Distance, Route & Other: The tour into the yurt is two and a quarter miles long and is across mostly open, rolling terrain. Total vertical rise is 816 feet. The yurt holds 6 people. Use caution during times of bad visibility in the open areas of the route.
Catamount Yurt Guide
Jackson Creek Yurt
Two Different Routes to Yurt:
Option 1 Follows Jackson Creek trail to Inkom Pass then south for 1/2 mile.
Difficulty: Advanced Intermediate to Advanced
Elevation Rise and Distance: 2300 feet climb over 3 1/2 miles.
Option 2: Pebble Creek Ski Area to Inkom Pass
Difficulty: Advanced Intermediate to Advanced
Elevation Rise and Distance: 600 feet climb over 2 miles.
Avalanche Hazard: Avalanche potential exists. Crossing steep slopes is dangerous. Avalanche transceivers, shovels, probes and knowledge of safe route finding in avalanche terrain is highly recommended for this tour.
Map: USGS topographic 7.5 minute series "Bonneville Peak."
Other Information: All members of the party should have climbing skins. The need for avalanche safety gear and knowledge of how to use it can not be stressed enough. A late start could find you camped out under a tree instead of in the yurt. More folks have spent the night out trying to find this yurt than any of the other yurts in the system. Parking is free.
Jackson Yurt Guide
Main Route to Yurt: North Fork of Jackson Creek
Difficulty: Beginner to intermediate. Even though the tour is easy, it can be difficult for some individuals.
Elevation Rise and Distance: 350 feet over 1.5 miles.
Avalanche Hazard: Avalanche potential is very low.
Map: USGS topographical 7.5 minute series "Bonneville Peak."
Other Information: Access to this yurt crosses private land. Please respect the land. The landowner requests that no snowmobiles are used to access the yurt area. Skyline yurt is a larger yurt with four bunks and floor space for another four or five people. It is the most beginner friendly yurt in the system.
Skyline Yurt Guide