Swan Valley has over 400 miles of groomed snowmobile trails yet remains a virtual unknown playground for winter recreation. Two primary accesses to the snowmobile trail system, which takes riders to the upper reaches of Bonneville and Bingham Counties are Fall Creek on the West end of the valley on Snake River Road at the Swan Valley Bridge and the Palisades Dam access at the East end. Both access are just off Highway 26. The pristine trail system is home to trumpeter swans, sand hill cranes, moose, elk, white tail and mule deer, osprey, and bald eagles.
Although the trails are groomed, conditions can change quickly. For trail conditions, call Bonneville County Parks and Recreation at 208-538-7285.
Snake River Road Trail
The Snake River Road Trail runs 10.3 miles to eventually cross Calamity Point to the Palisades Dam trail head. From Calamity Point, riders can continue in a Southeast direction past the Calamity Guard Station and onto Bear Creek Road, which is a fair groomed trail. The 15.4-mile trail from Calamity Point to McCoy Creek Road, however, changes from a fair groomed trail to a “run at your own risk” trail at the intersection of Bear Creek Road and Jensen Creek Road. This segment that runs through Jensen Meadow and along Jensen Creek until it intersects McCoy Creek Road is to the West of Poker Peak and the Palisades Reservoir.
McCoy Creed Road
Upon reaching McCoy Creek Road, riders can bear to the left and continue along the reservoir and down to the Alpine, WY parking lot (11.4 miles) or head West up McCoy Creek Road for 9.1 miles to the trail head at Keenan City.
Along the way to Keenan City, riders will pass the Bald Mountain and Caribou Basin Guard Stations and Old Baldy Peak to the South.
The junction at Keenan City provides an opportunity to head Northwest on Brockman Road for 8.8 miles to the trail head that leads to Mann Road and Sawmill Canyon Road.
Dan Creek Road, King Creek, Castle Rock and Lava Creek are just a few points of interest and trails that can be accessed at that intersection, all of which are on good groomed trails.
The final 10.3 miles of Dan Creek Road that leads to Fall Creek Road as well as the 6.6 miles of Skyline Ridge Road that intersects at the Lava Creek trail head, and also leads to Fall Creek Road, both are fair groomed trails.
If riders chose to bypass Brockman Road at Keenan City and continue southwest, a good groomed trail leads to Grays Lake between the Herman trail head and the other Brockman Road junction. Another trail head 1.7 miles up the road forks off to Cranes Flat Road and Southwest for 12.1 miles to the Paradise Road trail head and a 5 mile loop around Blackfoot Reservoir.
At the Paradise Road trail head, riders can access Blackfoot Reservoir Road, and 17.9 miles later, along a good groomed trail, eventually find themselves at the Bone Store. Heading North along Blackfoot Reservoir Road from the reservoir for 11.8 miles brings riders to the trail head at the intersection of Cellars Creek Road where a left turn and a westerly heading for 18.8 miles puts a sled in the Wolverine parking lot.
Taking the other fork in the road at Cranes Flat Road trail head puts riders on Long Valley Road for 14.6 miles of a good groomed trail. At the Horse Creek trail head, riders have a variety of choices that range from continuing West toward Wolverine; heading Northwest to the Bone Store, or bearing Northeast past Pine Mountain and King Creek for 7.1 miles to a quaint warming hut at the Grays trail head, approximately 15 miles Northwest of Grays Lake.
At the hut, working Northwest leads to Dan Creek Road and on to Kepps Crossing Road where a right turn at that intersection heads sleds back to Fall Creek Road.
Skyline Ridge Road
Traveling Southeast at the hut works riders back to the Lava Creek and Sawmill Canyon Road intersection, and a 2.7 mile ride down Lava Creek intersects with Skyline Ridge Road and 6.6 miles of a fair groomed trail that again leads to the trail head of Kepps Crossing Road and Fall Creek Road where a right turn puts riders 13.8 miles from the Fall Creek parking lot.
For those who want to forego the ride along the Snake River Road and climb westerly along Fall Creek Road, the first 13.8 miles are a good groomed trail.
The trail head at that point permits a left turn onto a fair groomed trail on Skyline Ridge Road for 6.6 miles to the good groomed trail at Lava Creek trail head or bearing to the right (northwesterly) on Kepps Crossing Road for 15.4 miles on a fair groomed trail.
The Dan Creek Road trail head is 6.3 miles from the Skyline Ridge Road trail head, and riders need to realize that all of Dan Creek Road and Kepps Crossing Road and the first 6.6 miles of Skyline Ridge Road from this western access only are fair groomed trails.
Palisades Dam Trial Head
Departing from Palisades Dam trail head allows riders to head across the dam and then Northwest along the Snake River Road or to venture Southeast along Bear Creek Road and down to Alpine, WY or up McCoy Creek Road and on to Blackfoot Reservoir, Wolverine or a variety of other destinations.
Regardless of point of departure or destination, remember that trails can change status in a matter of minutes, so local inquiry for the latest conditions is very important. For trail information, call 208-538-7285.
Also, make sure friends and family are aware of your sledding destination and expected time of return, and while snowmobiling, observe all safety precautions, and, lastly, always snowmobile with another person.
Printed maps are available at Sleepy J Cabins