January is a great time to head out cross-country skiing, especially with the snow we’re hoping to get soon in and around Baker. A good place to go is the Baker Creek area in Great Basin National Park. Drive up to the gate just before Grey Cliffs (a pit toilet is available there), then ski (or snowshoe) up the road to the Baker Creek Campground. Head down through the campground and take the trail to Grey Cliffs Campground, then back up to the road to make a nice two-mile loop. If you’re looking for something longer, head further up the road to the Baker Creek trailhead. You can take the Timber Creek trail and then head over to Pole Canyon to make a six-mile loop.
Other good places for cross-country skiing are up the Snake Creek road (not very steep) and up the Lehman Creek trail from Upper Lehman Creek to the Wheeler Peak campground (quite steep). You might see wild turkeys on these routes, and listen for mountain chickadees and nuthatches, birds that stay around all winter.
The Ely Outdoor Enthusiasts are holding the Bristlecone Birkebeiner race on January 21, which will be a cross-country ski race if there’s enough snow. Otherwise, it will be a trail run. Last year there was enough snow to ski, and it was a great event for folks of all ages.
The Sheepherders’ Party
Another event will be happening nearby the weekend before. The Sheepherders’ Party begins Friday, January 13 at the Border Inn with an open mike event, featuring stories from those in and friends of the sheep industry. Saturday, January 14 starts with a pancake breakfast, time to enjoy local attractions, a musical performance, a Basque-style family dinner, and a dance. For more information, see the Great Basin Natural Heritage Area’s website.
— Gretchen Baker
Give Gretrchen’s Desert Survivor blog a look-see! Outdoor adventures for kids and grownups all around Baker and Great Basin National Park.