Five yurts have been erected and are maintained in a cooperative venture between the Forest Service and BRORA, with regular assistance from B.R.O.R.A. members and local Boy Scout troops. The yurts are available for rental throughout the year.
Yurts are unique round tents modeled after the structures made famous by Genghis Kahn and his Mongolian hordes as they swept down the Asian Steppes to conquer most of the western world. Skiers from as far away as Europe and Asia have come to Uinta County to enjoy the one-of-a-kind experience of back-country skiing up to the yurts and spending the night in these truly unique and comfortable tents.
Four of the yurts are equipped with bunks, a propane stove (propane included), kitchen utensils and plenty of firewood to ward off the cold. Day and overnight facilities are provided for groups of 8 or less. The fifth and newest yurt is intended as a true back country experience. The Boundary Creek yurt is about 2 miles beyond Ridge Yurt, does not have a groomed trail into it and is not equipped with a propane heater. The yurt requires that you have the skills, conditioning and equipment to maximize the experience. Reservations are required for all the yurts.
Five Yurts are available:
#1 – Bear Claw, the original yurt location in the system, has a new 20 foot diameter structure and is about 1.5 miles from the North Slope Trail Head at an elevation of about 8,700 feet. The yurt is inside the motor free area and must be accessed by skiing or snowshoeing up Sage Draw. The draw is shaded and the trail can become icy especially in the late afternoon. Pine trees define the natural front yard of the Bear Claw Yurt. The yurt offers splendid views of Moffit Peak to the west.
#2 – Lily Lake is about a 3 mile ski from the trail head at 8,900 feet elevation. This yurt is snowmobile accessible as it is outside the non-motorized area. At the top of Sage Draw where the trail turns sharply to the east, the non-motorized and motorized trails intersect. It is important to exercise caution at this intersection, as non-motorized users are now sharing the trail with motorized users. The tree shrouded Lily Lake Yurt is only a short meadow and an uphill climb from this intersection.
#3 – Ridge is about five to six miles from the North Slope Road Trail Head, depending upon the route of travel. The yurt can be accessed by skiing, snowshoeing or snowmobiling. The East Fork Trail over Dead man’s Pass is a rugged, steep, challenge especially when pulling a gear laden sled. Another access route climbs up Sage Draw, past Lily Lake, through a dense part of the forest, and into a small mountain meadow. Just beyond the meadow, the trail narrows and is framed by overhanging trees. There is one last short, steep, slick section of trail that leads to the top of the ridge at 9,350 feet. The Ridge Yurt is sheltered in a natural bowl just below the ridge top. The mountain slope east of the Ridge Yurt, descending more than a thousand feet to the East Fork of the Bear River is a fine opportunity for backcountry turns. Be cognizant of snow conditions and watch for any signs of avalanches. Atop the ridge, the view to the southeast along the East Fork drainage terminates with a stunning image of Mount Beulah.
#4 – East Fork, at an elevation of 8,500 feet, is 1.5 miles from the North Slope Road Trail Head. The non-motorized trail to the yurt is a winding path on the East Fork Bench. It is a relatively easy trail that enables yurt users to haul extra goods and supplies. The yurt sits on the bench above the East Fork of the Bear River overlooking a large flat meadow below Dead man’s Pass. From the deck of the yurt there is a stunning vista of 12,400 foot Mount Beulah to the southeast. The yurt is also a great summer stay as well. The yurt is a little more than a fly cast from the East Fork of the Bear River.
#5 – Boundary Creek is the original 16 foot diameter yurt that has been relocated from the Bear Claw location. The yurt is equipped with bunks to accommodate at least 4 people, a wood burning stove with a good supply of fire wood, and a white gas cooking stove. There is no propane. This yurt is intended as a back country ski experience and requires the user to have the skills, conditioning, and equipment to get there. The yurt is located on Boundary Creek about 2 miles beyond Ridge Yurt at an elevation of 9,550. The trail from the Ridge Yurt to the Boundary Creek Yurt is not maintained or groomed. The route is marked with blue diamond symbols. After new snowfall, visitors to this yurt need to be prepared to endure the rigors of breaking trail. The open slopes above the Boundary Creek Yurt ascend to a height just shy of 11,000 feet, providing excellent backcountry skiing and snowshoeing. Avalanche sense is the best kind of common sense in this area.
Reservation fees are: Overnight $75
Since there is no staff to clean the yurts after each stay, there are general rules for care that should be followed. The B.R.O.R.A. yurt patrol checks the yurts a couple of times a week, but if you find the yurt in a condition that is inconsistent with the rules, please let either the Evanston Parks and Recreation or B.R.O.R.A. know.
For reservations contact the Evanston Recreation Center at 307.789.1770.
For additional information contact Joe Wright at 307.789.7588.
Reservation fees are: Overnight $75