There are many places in the West where there is a perfect mix of the right snow conditions, over-the-top scenery, varied terrain, good trails and excellent services.
But there are fewer places where all those variables work seamlessly to provide the almost perfect snowmobile trip. We say “almost” because we’re not sure we have had the “perfect” snowmobile trip yet.
Our two-day ride at Brooks Lake Lodge in western Wyoming came oh so close last February though. Actually, when we think back to that trip and try to think of what was lacking, we’re hard pressed to put a finger on it. Maybe it was that our trip finally came to an end and we had to head home.
We had fresh snow each day we rode. And while we rode at times in monster blizzards (yes, that’s with an “s”), the sun did peak out occasionally and the stunning mountain views that surrounded us were uncovered. Brooks Lake Lodge (www.brookslake.com) accommodations and food are a cut above the rest. The terrain is fun and varied and we were able to cover a lot of ground because we were able to tag along with one of Brooks Lake Lodge’s guides—Skinner Bell, who has been guiding at the lodge for the past 16 years (27 years in all) and knows the area inside and out. Even though we didn’t spend much time on the groomed trails, the little bit we did were in good shape, especially considering the recent snowfall.
Even though we never strayed very far miles-wise from the lodge, we were still able to experience lots of untouched snow and get a near 360-degree sweeping experience over the two days.
And it all started when we pulled into the parking lot just off U.S. Highway 26/287 just east of Togwotee Pass (elevation 9,659 feet). We were met there by one of Brooks Lake Lodge’s employees who carried most of our gear in a sleigh the five miles to the lodge. We trailed along on our Ski-Doo Summit. You gain about a thousand feet from the parking lot to the lodge, which sits at 9,200 feet. The road between the parking lot and lodge is closed in the winter and the only way in (or out) is via snowmobile or a tracked van.
We arrived at the lodge on Super Bowl Sunday and it was a pretty festive place during and after the game.
The lodge sits on the shores of Brooks Lake and between Brooks Mountain and The Pinnacles. What a perfect setting for a lodge and a great base camp to explore the area on snowmobile.
Monday after an amazing breakfast in the lodge’s dining hall, we brushed the several inches of new snow off our sled and headed out with Bell, crossing Brooks Lake and heading a bit north and west of the lodge. We experienced a fair amount snowfall on our way to what the locals call Proposal Point, which sits on the edge of a mountain and offers an awesome view of the lake, lodge and surrounding mountains … except that day when it was pretty much socked in. We would later return to that same spot after the clouds had lifted and indeed it a spectacular view.