Never let it be said there are no mammoth snowmobile systems in the West. If you're really into high mile rides, then check out these western options.
Trans-Montana Snowmobile Ride
The Trans-Montana Ride is great for two reasons. First you get to cover quite a bit of Big Sky Country on a snowmobile and second, you'll be doing it for a good cause.
The annual ride goes from southern Montana north to the U.S. border with Canada and benefits multiple sclerosis.
This year's ride is a six-day event which begins Jan. 19 at Raynolds Pass near West Yellowstone, MT, and ends Jan. 24 at the U.S./Canada border north of Columbia Falls. The first day the group will ride to Virginia City. The second day will be from Dillon to Butte, the third day from Basin to Lincoln, the fourth day from Lincoln to Seeley Lake, the fifth day from Seeley Lake to the Bigfork area and the sixth day from Columbia Falls to the border.
Of course, one of the primary goals is to raise money for multiple sclerosis, so riders are asked to get pledges before they go on the trip. The other fees depend on how many days riders plan to participate, whether it be all or part of the 500-mile trip.
For more information contact Ron Shortridge at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail
The Continental Divide Snow-mobile Trail (CDST) has consistently ranked in the top 5 in SnoWest Magazine's Western Guide to Snowmobiling Top 15 Trails in the West ever since the magazine started surveying its readers years ago.
It's just that good.
And right now it can still lay claim to being the longest trail system in the West. Actually, the CDST is a collection of hundreds of miles of trails-600 miles in all-that stretch from southern Wyoming all the way to Montana.
It's hard to say what the CDST is most famous for. It always scores well in scenery and boondocking. Whether you're riding in the shadows of the Tetons or sitting there gazing at the snow laden Wind River Range, the scenery is several Kodak moments strung together.
The CDST also scored high in the off-trail riding category. Many CDST regulars have their own favorite (and often almost private) areas they like to ride off-trail. Togwotee would be one such place. There is always plenty of snow and it's light and dry. Another such place is just north of Pinedale. Around Dubois is more great off-trail and boondocking riding. Grand Teton National Park is high on the list, mostly for its breathtaking scenery.
Trails along the CDST have an average elevation of 7,000 feet but side trails go up to 10,500 feet.
For more information, contact the Wind River Visitors Council, 800-645-6233; Lander Chamber of Commerce, 307-332-3892; Dubois Chamber of Commerce, 307-455-2556; or Buffalo Bills Yellowstone Country, 800-393-2639
S&W Adventure Riders has another great Colorado trip planned for early March. S&W Adventure Riders, headed up by Coloradoans Jack Welch and Jack Sheets, annually stages a big ride in Colorado.
This year's ride is slated for March 2-8 and begins in Encampment, WY, with riding going all the way to Glenwood Springs, CO.
The trip will start with a kickoff dinner in Saratoga, WY, March 2. Riding begins Monday, March 3 in Wyoming's Snowy Range and returns to Saratoga Monday night. On March 4 the group will trailer to the trailhead at Encampment where the ride to Glenwood Springs begins. The group will ride the Steamboat Lakes area, the area north of Craig, including California Park, and then move on to the Yellow Jacket trailhead and snowmobile in the Flattops to the Meeker and Rifle area. From there the group rides to Glenwood Springs. On Saturday, riders and machines will be transported back to Encampment.
For more information contact Jack Welch, 303-279-8436 or Jack Sheets, 719-593-0711.
Tok To Dawson
This very well may be the most challenging snowmobile adventure many snowmobilers ever make.
The adventure begins in Tok, AK, and goes over the Taylor and Top of the World Highways to Dawson, Yukon Territory and then back to Tok, a ride of 200 miles one way. No big deal you say? This ride is not for novices, but experienced riders only. The road is groomed to Boundary, but that's it. This is pure Alaska riding.
The ride began 10 years ago and has become so popular that ride organizers have three trips planned this year: Feb. 20-23, Feb. 27-March 2, and March 6-9. Each run is a four-day trip. The fee is $350 per person and includes breakfast in Tok before departure, three nights lodging in Dawson City, one dinner and one banquet in Dawson City, one lunch and BBQ lunch in Dawson and two gas fill ups 75 miles from Tok.
For more information, contact the Alaska Trailblazers 907-883-SNOW or www.alaskatrailblazers.com.
Great Western Trail
Although you can ride parts of the Great Western Trail, much of this system is still in the planning/dreaming stage. If and when the GWT ever becomes reality, it will stretch from the Arizona/Mexico border all the way to the Montana/Canada border and run through Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.
Many sledders have already ridden the part of the trail that goes through Utah and parts of Idaho and Wyoming.
The proposed trail follows a 4,455-mile corridor through the states mentioned and incorporates, according to the U.S. Forest Service, "stunning desert and canyon landscapes, high plateaus, open woodlands, alpine meadows and densely forested glades."
The idea behind the GWT is, again quoting the Forest Service, "rather than a single trail route, the concept of the proposed Great Western Trail incorporates braided use of existing trails and roads to create a long distance system to serve the entire trails community."
A new section of trail was recently dedicated in Arizona, so plans for the GWT continue to roll on.
For more information check out http://gwt.org.