Rexburg, Idaho, is in the center of an area which offers many winter activities such skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and dog sledding. From the Tetons and Grand Targhee to Yellowstone National Park, there is a great deal to attract the outdoor enthusiast.
Grand Targhee Ski Resort
Grand Targhee is consistently ranked as one of the top 5 resorts in the USA by Ski Magazine due to its amazing amount of powdery snow every year (an average of 500 inches). Part of the Grand Teton Range, it is a short distance outside Rexburg, and offers Alpine and Nordic Skiing, plus dog sledding, sleighrides (including ones with dinner), snowboarding, and snowmobiling. There is a daily complimentary mountain tour, and all the trails are well groomed and marked.
One of the unique offerings at Grand Targhee is the SnowCat Adventure on Peaked Mountain, complete with breathtaking views of the Grand Teton. Taking a maximum of only 12 skiers, visitors will be able to enjoy a pristine wilderness covering over 600 acres and up to 20,000 vertical feet in a day.
The Teton Ice Park at the base of one of the mountains offers ice climbing lessons, and the packages include rental of all equipment.
For more information, trail maps and a guide to special events and discounts, visit their website.
Teton Valley Adventures
In nearby Teton Valley, the floor of which is an average of 6,200 feet above sea level, experienced guides runs snowmobiling expeditions. They offer popular full day tours through Yellowstone Park, Upper Mesa Falls (a spectacular horseshoe-shaped waterfall), Grassy Lake, Cave Falls, Jackpine Loop, and Big Hole Mountain. There is a tour available for all skill levels.
Single or double sleds are also available for those who wish rent and follow a map on their own personal snowmobiling adventure. Clothing rentals are available on site. For more details, visit their website.
Yellowstone National Park
A short distance north-east of Rexburg is Yellowstone National Park, including the famous Old Faithful Geyser you can set your watch by as it ejects a plume of water over 100 feet in the air. A range of activities is available, from cross-country skiing, to ranger-led winter adventures depending on the weather conditions. Only certain roads are kept open by snow plows during the winter, so check with the park before trying to drive in on your own. Snowmobile tours and snowcoach providers are your best option for enjoying the freedom of the park. Go online for the latest conditions and visit planner at their website.
The Menan Buttes
If you enjoy hiking and walking, The Menan Buttes is a popular destination about 20 minutes from downtown Rexburg. It is commonly known as R mountain because of the giant letter R painted on the side. Formed by lava, this dormant volcano makes for a great viewpoint to survey the breathtaking landscape, including the nearby Grand Tetons. The trip to the crater at the top is an all day hike best left to the warmer months. It is also a great area if you want to snowshoe. You can rent equipment in nearby Idaho Falls.
Snowmobiling Vacations in the Northwest U.S.A.
Snowmobiling affords outdoor winter adventures in many areas of the Northwest U.S.
Benefits of Snowmobiling
Accessing winter backcountry that is usually unreachable, participating in winter exercise with more speed and ease than snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, and seeing wildlife in its natural habitat are highlights of snowmobiling. Even people with mobility impairments can operate snowmobiles.
Snowmobile Types and Manufacturers
Types of snowmobiles include entry-level, utility, performance, touring and mountain. Ski-Doo, Arctic Cat, Polaris and Yamaha are well-known snowmobile manufacturers.
Snowmobiling Cautions and Safety
Since the snowmobile is a motor vehicle, its operation requires state-specific licensing and age restrictions. Safety helmets, visor or goggles, and warm clothing are essential when snowmobiling. Not riding alone, being prepared for avalanches, and avoiding frozen lakes and rivers are a few cautions to heed when snowmobiling.
Alaska Snowmobile Trails and Tours
Known locally as snowmachining, snowmobiling is a way of life in Alaska. Numerous snowmobile trails and tours are available:
- North of Anchorage, the Talkeetna Mountains and Matanuska Glacier feature innumerable trailheads, many of which were old gold mining paths.
- Hatcher Pass, near Wasilla, offers hill climbing and a variety of terrain for snowmobiling. Groomed trails, views of the Alaska Range and Hatcher Pass Lodge offer many possibilities.
- Throughout south-central Alaska, Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours offers guided and self-guiding snowmobile tours for glacier and wildlife viewing.
- Tours of Denali National Park, in Alaska’s interior, include guided, narrated views of wildlife and Mt. McKinley.
Montana Snowmobile Trails and Tours
Snowmobiling in Montana is mostly found in the western portion of the state, with some of the longest trails in America:
- Flathead Valley, Columbia Falls, Whitefish, Bigfork and Kalispell feature more than 200 miles of groomed snowmobile trails for hill climbing, powder play areas, wildlife viewing and scenic Glacier National Park.
- Helena, in the center of the state, has 245 miles of snowmobile trails in every direction within an hour’s drive of the city, leading to ghost towns, high mountain ridges and lakes.
- Bozeman and Big Sky are beginning and stop-over points on the 120-mile Big Sky Snowmobile Trail, with 5 access routes for shorter loops, Buck Creek Ridge’s play area and tours in Big Sky.
- West Yellowstone is snowmobile paradise, where snowmobiles share the town’s streets and have access to Yellowstone National Park’s 180 miles of groomed trails and 400 miles of groomed trails outside the park, with tours available.
Wyoming Snowmobile Trails and Tours
With 2,000 miles of groomed and ungroomed trails, Wyoming has diverse trail riding on quality powder:
- The Wyoming Range of western Wyoming offers 337 miles of groomed trails between Alpine and Kemmerer with deep snow, great off-trail riding and gorgeous scenery.
- The Dubois area of the North Continental Divide area has 150 miles of trails and off-trail riding, offering some of the world’s best and most scenic snowmobiling.
- Jackson Hole businesses have day-long and multi-day snowmobile tours into Yellowstone National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
- Near Laramie, Snowy Range Tours ventures into steep, deep powder for snowmobile adventure packages.
Idaho Snowmobile Trails and Tours
More than 7,200 miles of snowmobile trails are found in Idaho — more than any other western state:
- Kellogg and the Silver Valley have one of America’s largest networks of snowmobile and all-terrain trails, with more than 1,000 miles of interlinked paths. Wallace, a nearby historic town 49 miles east of Coeur d’Alene, is the hub for trail riding and one of the Northwest’s few towns allowing snowmobiles in its streets.
- Baker Creek and Wood River Recreation Area’s scenic backcountry have 120 miles of trails in the Sun Valley area near Hailey.
- In Sandpoint, northern Idaho, Selkirk Powder Company offers guided tours off the summit of Schweitzer Mountain Resort and into Priest Lakes and the Priest River area.
- In Driggs, southeastern Idaho, Teton Valley Adventures has guided tours into Yellowstone Natonal Park, Cave Falls, Mesa Falls and Big Hole Mountain range, as well as snowmobile rentals.
- Snowmobiling is an exhilarating winter outdoor activity enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities who enjoy access to wilderness and wildlife. The Northwest U.S. has a concentration of snowmobile tours and trails in Alaska, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.