Where do I even begin? Our recent powder skiing trip at Lick Creek Yurt in McCall was one for the books. Lick Creek Yurt is located in the heart of the West Central Mountains tucked back in the Payette National Forest. It is a 12 miles snowcat ride to get into this yurt but it makes it ideal for bringing all the items you want for your yurt stay! We take full advantage of this by bringing gourmet food to cook, all the clothes, and ski gear.
I can’t wait to tell you all the details but first, let me tell you how to get here.
Where is Lick Creek Yurt located?
Lick Creek Yurt is located in McCall, Idaho. McCall is about a 2-hour drive from Boise, Idaho depending on road conditions and how fast you drive. It is one of my favorite scenic drives from Boise, the river, trees, and surrounding mountains make it a gorgeous drive. When you book the yurt you will be given directions on where the pickup is for the snowcat into the yurt. You will park your car in a secure, designated location during your stay at Lick Creek Yurt.
Here we are fully packed up and ready at Lick Creek Yurt.
“Access to the yurts is a 12-mile approach on a forest service road up to Lick Creek Summit. We utilize a full-size snowcat with a heated, enclosed carrier for your group and all of your gear. Transportation is from the trailhead outside of McCall to Lick Creek Summit Yurts. It includes up to approximately 75 lbs. of gear per person. The snowcat takes you within a short walk to the yurts for a gear shuttle on foot. This enables groups to focus their time on skiing untracked snow rather than carrying in all your supplies.”
What does a Yurt look like inside?
“The Lick Creek Summit Yurts are ready to go by early December and we operate until April. Come join us for a powder skiing experience you’ll never forget! Located in the heart of Idaho’s West Central Mountains, we have over 30,000 acres of untracked powder, literally, in our backyard. Located on Lick Creek Summit (elevation 6930′ ), we have two yurts, a wood-fired sauna, and an outhouse. From mellow burned tree glades to the steep and deep, you’ll find loads of vertical just out the door. We can accommodate your perfect backcountry ski trip, from a day to a week. We offer yurt rentals, full-service guided trips, and avalanche education courses.”
A yurt is a semi-permanent, circular tent, with a dome-shaped roof. The walls are made of hardy canvas and other materials to keep the weather out. Here is a shot of the inside of the smaller yurt at Lick Creek Summit. The main yurt is larger and has a community table in the center for meals. It also has a full kitchen set up that is fully stocked with everything you might need during your stay. Most yurts have wooden bunks like those shown in this photo, and some offer sleeping pads and sleeping bags.
What does a Yurt include?
Every yurt will have a wood-burning stove that is the source of heat. It’s up to you to keep these stoves going through the day and night to keep their yurt adequately heated. It takes a little practice and some patience but with time you will get down the art of fire building. I think the hardest part is making sure the fire keeps burning through the night. We have learned the hard way and woken up pretty chilly in the morning! It’s good to have an idea of which person/people will be in charge of the fire each night.
As you can see in the photo, most yurts have lines around the yurt to hang your gear to dry after being outside. This allows for the heat rising to defrost and evaporate any moisture in your gear which is essential for staying warm.
I personally bring my own sleeping bag and pillow with me. Especially on the snowcat yurts so that I know I will be warm enough and sleep well at night. That’s the added bonus of having the snowcat bring you into the yurt. Luxury living with all the items you want to bring. This is not the case always when you personally have to pack your gear into other yurts around Idaho. You can also utilize the outdoor patio area to dry your skins and ski’s on a nice sunshine day, like we had in this photo below. We loved the outdoor patio for a little sunset happy hour post-ski day. The views are unreal and it’s a must while at Lick Creek Yurt.
How To Book Lick Creek Yurt
You are able to book directly on the Payette Powder Guides website. The Lick Creek Summit Yurts are ready to go by early December and we operate until April.
On the website, you will be able to see their calendar and see which dates are open for booking. Lick Creek Yurt is also open for summer booking if winter isn’t your thing. These yurts make it so that you have a home base way back in the woods to enjoy some epic outdoor activities. So don’t cross it off your list just because you don’t love winter activities, there is definitely something for everyone.
$960 for up to 8 people / $120 for each additional person
Introductory Yurt Tour – $400 fee, required for first-time self-catered groups.
Self Leader Requirements for self-catered groups –
All self-catered yurt rental groups will be required to have a Trip Leader. The Trip leader must have a Level I Avalanche Safety Course or equivalent. Payette Powder Guides will evaluate the equivalent experience to determine if it is satisfactory.
Trip Leaders must be familiar with the terrain in the proximity of the Lick Creek Summit Yurts. If they are not they must hire a guide to give an introductory hut tour of the area.
The trip leader will ensure that one fully stocked First Aid Kit is available to the group and that at least one person in the group has First Aid/CPR Training. A Trip leader will be the contact person for PPG and will be responsible for submitting the Registration Packet (to include: payment, participant information sheets, and signed waivers) prior to the trip.
What do you do at the Yurt?
I have been waiting for this part! I am so excited to be able to chat with you about all the things you are able to do at Lick Creek Yurt. This yurt is so special because again, I know I keep saying this, but hear me out. The snowcat that takes you into this yurt allows so much freedom. A person who doesn’t ski or snowboard can totally come to the yurt and snowshoe or even just hang at the yurt. No need to be an outdoorsy person to go on winter yurt trips. Lick Creek Yurt also has an awesome sauna that makes it dreamy to sit in and warm up. I definitely am a sauna girl and used the sauna every night during our stay.
Lick Creek Yurt also has an enclosed outhouse so you are protected during winter storms. It is set up and away from the yurt to allow for privacy and distance from the yurt.
Can you guess what my favorite thing to do at the yurt is? I am sure you guessed it but skiing. I switched from snowboarding to skiing four years ago and absolutely love it. Backcountry skiing might be one of my favorite ways to ski. There is something about getting outside and hiking yourself up to your skiing destination that excites me. I also am known to love a great workout and cardio so these things go hand in hand.
This was my second time staying at Lick Creek Yurt and I absolutely loved it. It is such a special place to come and be off the grid. Yurt life allows you to disconnect to reconnect to what matters most in life. Having a good time with those you call friends. There is no better place than the backcountry, a place so quiet and set back, you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere.
Powder Skiing at Lick Creek Yurt
There are so many reasons to book a stay at Lick Creek Yurt but one of them is the location. Sitting on over 30,000 acres of land to explore, gives you access to so many epic snow spots. The yurt is also at a high elevation sitting at 6930 elevations, giving you cooler temps to keep the snow light. We lucked out and hit our yurt starting with a bluebird day, followed by a storm that brought 6+ inches of powder. The storm also dropped the temperature to single digits making it the lightest snow we skied in. We hired a Payette Powder Guide for a day to help us navigate the area and ski it safely. It is so important to be educated and knowledgeable when skiing in the backcountry.
I highly recommend investing in an Avy course, you can find information on the courses HERE. Payette Powder Guides puts on numerous avalanche courses throughout the season, be sure to check them out before booking a backcountry yurt.
Here are some awesome powder shots from our trip! Keeping it to 40-degree slopes and under since the avalanche danger was moderate. We are not a group that pushes the limits with avalanche danger. We have realized especially at Lick Creek Yurt, that there is plenty of snow to be found. So many slopes are even under 30 degrees that still offer epic terrain to ski and enjoy.
What to pack for your yurt trip
Every yurt will have different items they offer, so be sure to check before heading out. Here are a couple of lists for you to utilize for your yurt trip.
Winter Yurt Camping Packing List
- Down Sleeping Bag for low temperatures
- Ski and ski poles
- Insulated nordic ski boots or snowboarding boots
- Synthetic long underwear or sweat-wicking gear
- Waterproof ski/ snowboard pants
- Wool hat and helmet to wear while skiing/ snowboarding
- Avalance shovel, probe, and beacon
- Avalanche backpack**
- Backpack ( backpacking, backcountry skiing, etc.)
- Matches and/or Lighter
- Toothbrush & toothpaste
- Wool blend socks
- Gloves ( thin pair and thick pair) Polar fleece and waterproof is best
- Windbreaker / Waterproof jacket with hood
- Camp Shoes ( warm boots to wear outside, sandals or camp shoes to wear indoors)
- Sunglasses for both sunny and cloudy days, you want eye protection at all times
- Lip Balm with SPF
- Snacks to take while out in the wilderness (lightweight to pack with you, high in nutrients, protein, fats, and carbs)
Yurt Camping First-Aid Kit List
My husband is a sports medicine doctor and he has always packed out kit. I was able to chat with him to help create this list so that you too can have one. It is so important to keep yourself safe while in the backcountry. Be sure to pack proper clothing, and gear to keep yourself warm, and dry while recreating. Proper nutrition is also key to making sure you enjoy yourself and refuel yourself adequately. Many people don’t realize just how much energy they are expending and can get caught without enough food and water. Make sure everyone in your group has enough water for your planned outing. It is also good to make sure each person has snacks to keep them fueled until returning to the yurt.
Let’s get to the emergency kit.
- First-aid tape
- Ace bandage
- Chemical heat pack
- Anti-acid tablets
- Ibuprofen tablets
- Latex gloves
- Nail Clippers/ scissors
- Small mirror
- Swiss army knife
- Duct Tape
- Extra set of batteries
- Safety Pins
- Waterproof container for lighter or matches
- Plastic bag for heat
- Candy for low blood sugar emergencies
That’s A Wrap!
I hope you have enjoyed learning all there is to know about Lick Creek Yurt and hope you are able to book it to enjoy your own powder skiing trip here! It really is such a magical place tucked back in the mountains. Take some time for yourself to grab a group of great friends and disconnect in the backcountry! Enjoy all this yurt has to offer and more!
Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions that I could help with. I also love hearing from you and love comments about your own yurt trips so please leave one below.
Here is the Reel that I created to showcase our trip to Lick Creek Yurt! Be sure to check it out and while you are there, let’s be friends! You can find me on Instagram, Tiktok, and Pinterest. I would love to have you be a part of my community!