Burcham Flat to Swauger Canyon

Summary  Link to more information about summary

Difficulty 4 Intermediate-advanced
Length 13.9 miles one-way (sometimes you can drive part way on Burcham Flat Road thereby shortening the tour)
+2500, -2250 one-way
Navigation Road and map
Time Full day
Season Late December through early April
Snowmobiles Use Low
USGS Topo 7.5 series, Fales Hot Springs, Chris Flat, Mount Patterson, Mount Jackson
Start North side of Highway 395 at Burcham Flat Road, 1.5 miles west of Fales Hot Springs and 0.5 mile east of Wheeler Guard Station.
End North side of Highway 395, 1.1 miles east of Devils Gate Summit. Usually a small parking area is plowed here.

Description   Link to more information about description

This one-way tour takes you on a long, gradual climb through the foothills of the Sweetwater Mountains to an obscure pass. On its other side is an open, moderately steep, 850-foot descent, which, when snow conditions are right, is ideal for telemarking. Finally, the route gradually descends narrow, isolated Swauger Canyon to the end point.

Mileage Log   Link to more information about mileage log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Waypoint 1 to 2
Miles: 0.0 - 0.5
Elevation change:  +50

From the trailhead (1), ski east on Burcham Flat Road as it parallels the highway for 0.5 mile until you reach a road junction (2). Stay on the main road and parallel to the highway if you see a road junction.

Waypoint 2 to 3
Miles: 0.5 - 2.8
Elevation change:  +200

Turn north (left) and continue on Burcham Flat Road for 2.3 miles until you reach Burcham Creek (3). After skiing 0.4 mile you will pass a road to the southwest (left) that leads to a radio tower. Up to the creek, Burcham Flat Road has been almost perfectly level.

Waypoint 3 to 4
Miles: 2.8 - 4.5
Elevation change:  +650 

Climb steadily north on Burcham Flat Road for 1.7 miles to a road junction (4) located 0.1 mile south of a broad saddle. Due to the wide open and level terrain, you may not be able to identify the junction unless the marker post is showing above the snow. Although you must turn here, identifying the junction's exact location is not necessary.

Waypoint 4 to 5
Miles: 4.5 - 6.1
Elevation change:  +350

At the road junction or somewhere about 0.1 mile south of the broad saddle, turn east (right) and continue to ski where the road should be. Even though the road is not apparent, you can easily approximate its route. Climb gradually east and then around the south side of Peak 8660 for a total of 1.6 miles until you reach a very broad saddle (5) located to the southeast of Peak 8660.

Waypoint 5 to 6
Miles: 6.1 - 7.4
Elevation change:  +550, -100

Climb east for 1.3 miles until you reach a drainage (6). Ski far enough up the drainage to avoid the overhangs along its south side.

Waypoint 6 to 7
Miles: 7.4 - 7.8
Elevation change:  +400 

Cross the drainage and climb northeast for 0.4 mile until you reach a point east (right) of a small knob (7).

Waypoint 7 to 8
Miles: 7.8 - 8.4
Elevation change:  +0 

Traverse northeast at the same elevation for 0.6 mile through very dense woods until you reach a gully (8).

Waypoint 8 to 9
Miles: 8.4 - 8.8
Elevation change:  +300

Ascend east up the gully for 0.4 mile until you reach a pass (9).

Waypoint 9 to 10
Miles: 8.8 - 9.8
Elevation change:  -850

Ski south through some trees to the south side of the pass where the open, moderately steep, 850-foot descent lies before you. Descend for 1.0 mile until you reach more level terrain and a drainage (Swauger Creek) from the northeast intersects your route (10). Here, you must cross to the east (left) side of Swauger Creek, which continues down the canyon.

Waypoint 10 to 11
Miles: 9.8 - 11.4
Elevation change:  -550

Gradually ski south and down Swauger Canyon for 1.6 miles, picking up a road along the way, until you reach a meadow and the East Fork of Swauger Creek (11). A cabin is located in the meadow that locals call "E-Z Does It Meadow."

Waypoint 11 to 12
Miles: 11.4 - 12.0
Elevation change:  -200

Continue south on the road along the east (left) side of the meadow for 0.6 mile until you reach a second cabin (12) on your right.

Waypoint 12 to 13
Miles: 12.0- 12.6
Elevation change:  -250

Continue south on the road for another 0.6 mile until you reach Swauger Creek (13).

Waypoint 13 to 14
Miles: 12.6 - 13.9
Elevation change:  -300

Cross Swauger Creek and ski south on the road for 0.1 mile until you pass a large house on your left and then south for another 1.2 miles on the road until you reach the end point (14).


Print version of map for tour
Print version of map for tour