Specimen Creek Trail, Yellowstone National Park

West Yellowstone, Montana

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Specimen Creek to Shelf Lake is a popular ski route. Most winter visitors track out and back in a day rather than winter camp. Climbing skins and avalanche gear are necessary for some steep sections 7 miles from the trailhead and in the final mile to Shelf Lake. Skiers without such gear and expertise should turn around at the junction to Crescent Lake or before the final mile to Shelf Lake. Most of the Specimen Creek Trail is skiable without metal edged skis unless icy conditions exist. It’s that last mile into the lake that makes skiers wish for metal edges and beefy ski boots. Surface quality: Backcountry.

Specimen Creek Trail, Yellowstone National Park Professional Review and Guide

"Specimen Creek to Shelf Lake is a popular ski route. Most winter visitors track out and back in a day rather than winter camp. Climbing skins and avalanche gear are necessary for some steep sections 7 miles from the trailhead and in the final mile to Shelf Lake.

Skiers without such gear and expertise should turn around at the junction to Crescent Lake or before the final mile to Shelf Lake. Most of the Specimen Creek Trail is skiable without metal edged skis unless icy conditions exist. It’s that last mile into the lake that makes skiers wish for metal edges and beefy ski boots. Surface quality: Backcountry."

Activity Type: Cross-Country Skiing
Nearby City: West Yellowstone
Distance: 16
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: Day use
Trailhead Elevation: 6,700 feet
Top Elevation: 9,200 feet
Local Contacts: Yellowstone National Park; Avalanche advisory (406)-587-6981
Driving Directions: Directions to Specimen Creek Trail, Yellowstone National Park

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May 2018