Keep your cool - sled trails and tips
Due to heavy foliage too thick to navigate through, reading about the adventures of Colin and Pat exploring a new zone will have to wait until we return with a brushsaw and chainsaw. In its place: for anyone that hasn’t been sledding in Golden yet, this one is for you.
Our three main zones maintained by the Golden Snowmobile Club are: Silent Pass, Gorman Lake, and Quartz Creek.
The parking lot for Quartz creek is located 45 km west of Golden on Highway 1. New this year at Quartz is the addition of a fresh parking lot on the left, just as drivers pull in off the highway; this new space has more than doubled the available parking and is recommended for large trailers. The old parking lot is recommended for single trucks with decks. Stop and say “Hello” to Norm at the ticket shack to pick up a trail pass before proceeding to the BCA beacon checker located at the trailhead. A well groomed 14.4 km trail lead riders right up to the door of the cabin that is perfect for storing lunch and warming up by the woodstove. Head left from the door of the cabin, and the trail will take riders up to Old Cabin Valley where all types of riding can be found from beginner tree riding to intermediate rolling hills in the alpine. Heading straight out from the door will take riders up into Mega Bowl which offers beginner to intermediate tree and alpine riding. From Mega Bowl head up towards the gullies on the right to access Area 51 and Area 52; there are some longer, off camber climbs to get up to these areas that can be icy at the top and are recommended for the intermediate to advanced rider. Once in Area 51 and 52, riders will find high alpine climbs and cliff drops and natural jumps. Take note of the signs marking the Glacier National Park boundary that runs around the height of land for most of the Quartz Creek riding area; non-compliance could cost up to $25,000 in fines.
Gorman Lake can accommodate full days of exploration for the adventurous rider due to access into other drainages or is also great for a half day due to its close proximity to town if staying close to Gorman Lake is on the agenda. A combination of plenty of climbs and complex terrain makes this area recommended for advanced riders only. To access the Gorman Lake parking lot from town, head towards the ski hill and turn onto the Dogtooth Forest service road. The ticket booth is only a few hundred meters from the turn and the parking lot is only 1 km further. At the end of the lake follow the creek up towards the bottom of the climb to Lang Creek on the right and Holt Creek on the left. Once in Lang Creek riders can access Grizzly Bowl and the pass to East Quartz. Bring skis or a snowboard because there are lots of sled-assisted runs along the way. Heading further down Lang Creek towards the headwall will give the rider access to Cirque.
Silent Pass offers riding for beginner to advance abilities with perfectly spaced trees to rolling alpine to big climbs. To get to Silent Pass riding area head east from Golden towards Parson, and turn onto The Spillimacheen Forest Service Road approximately 1.5 km past the Parson store; remember to stop at the ticket shack and purchase a trail pass. Visit www.sledgolden.com for updates on the parking lot location as it is controlled by logging in the area. It is good practice to carry a radio and call out kms when there is active logging so other road users are aware of traffic. From the parking lot continue along Spllimacheen Forest Service road until a left turn onto McMurdo Creek Forest Service road. At the end of the groomed road the last km into the riding zone is a single-track trail that can be difficult early season and bumpy as the season progresses. It’s well worth it once the rider breaks out into the alpine on a sunny day after a short climb up a waterfall. Silent pass offers some of the best tree riding in the area that will test any skill level.
During times of low snowfall and warm temperatures, cooling can be an issue with snowmobiles. Scratchers can be installed to help kick snow up into the rear coolers and sliders but sometimes that isn’t enough. If high engine temperatures are observed on an icy trail, here’s a little trick to cool off: go off to the side of the trail and tip the machine on its side as if initiating a power turn, feather the throttle and the edge of the track should break the through the icy surface of the snow and get down to the dry facets that can be easy flung up into the tunnel onto the coolers.
Keep your cool