The U.S. Forest Service’s Greys River Ranger District, in partnership with the Wyoming State Trails Program, supports a number of winter recreation opportunities, and in some places that means changes to travelers. From December 1 through April 30, wheeled motorized vehicles are not allowed on marked or groomed routes, which protects the trail surface. This includes the Greys River Road and Smiths Fork Road and all roads accessed from them, as well as the Grover-Turnerville Road and Swift Creek Road. Snowmobilers should beware that other recreationists may also be on these routes, however, including skate-skiers and dog-walkers, so keep speeds low enough to see whoever may be around the next corner, and enjoy the district’s incredible winter vistas. On Salt Pass, an area is reserved for non-motorized winter recreation on both sides of the highway, where the district grooms loop trails for skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts once accumulations are sufficient.
Several areas on the district are also designated as critical wildlife winter range, where popular large game animals, including mule deer, elk and moose, all find needed respite from deeper snow. The Star Valley Front from Swift Creek Road to the bottom of Bradshaw Canyon east of Grover is closed to all vehicles. Snowmobiles are allowed only on the designated route through the Grover Park closure area. Similarly, along the Greys River corridor, a protected wildlife area exists in the Deadman-Moose Creek area, and over-snow vehicles must remain on the designated routes through this area. Near state elk management areas just southeast of the Forest boundary outside Alpine and at Forest Park, human presence, motorized or non-motorized, is allowed only on the designated route through these areas.
For people still gathering firewood or beginning the hunt for a perfect Christmas tree, Star Valley roads that remain open after December 1 include Strawberry and Willow Creeks, Dry Creek and Cottonwood Creek. Christmas tree tags are available in Afton at Gardner’s Country Village, in Thayne at the Hitching Rail, and in Alpine at the Visitor Center (open Wednesday through Friday, 9:00-5:30 and Saturday 9:00-3:00). You can greatly reduce your impact by not traveling on wet roads or trails, even if they are legally open. A wheel track that leaves a rut creates a channel for water which can significantly degrade a road. Equestrian use on wet trails can have similar adverse effects.
For more information about winter recreation opportunities, visit the Forest Website or contact the Greys River Ranger District at 307-886-5300.