Poison Canyon Loop


Difficulty 3 Intermediate
Length 2.9 miles round trip
7550 feet
+1000, -1000 feet round trip
Navigation Road and map
Time Half day
Season December through mid-April
Snowmobiles Not permitted [Please report illegal use of snowmobiles in this area.]
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Tamarack
Start Round Valley Sno-Park, 0.2 mile north of Highway 4 on Highway 207 (the road to Bear Valley Mountain Resort).


The tour in Poison Canyon offers excellent touring terrain, fantastic opportunities for linking turns, panoramic vistas to the south toward of the red cliffs of the Dardanelles and beyond, and is located in an area closed to snowmobile use. The route described is a loop through the canyon, but due to the open terrain it is only one of many options to ski in the canyon. This is an ideal place to simply pick you own route to a ridge for the views or into the expanse of the main slope to telemark.

Image of vista toward Dardanelles Red banded cliffs of the Dardanelles and beyond

Although this tour is steeper than most intermediate tours, it is rated intermediate because it is short and most of the terrain has few if any trees. Feel free to pick your own route through the area, switchback up where necessary, and do kick-turns to descend where necessary. But this area is not a good choice if you a not comfortable with moderately steep terrain.

The main slope in the canyon, which descends south from the ridge formed by Poison Peak and Peak 8605, is superb for telemark practice; it is almost devoid of trees, it consolidates fast and often offers perfect corn-snow conditions.

Poison Canyon is also be the start of longer tours to destinationns such as Round Valley and Mount Reba.

Mileage Log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Miles: 0.0 - 0.1
Elevation change: +100 feet

From the trailhead (1) at the Sno-Park, ski northeast on the snow-covered road for 0.1 mile until you reach a location where you can turn and head north (left) (2).

Miles: 0.1 - 0.6
Elevation change: +350 feet

Climb north, zigzagging as required, for 0.5 mile until you reach a ridge (3). You will pass through trees as you approach the ridge. The return route will intersect the route you ski up on the south side of the trees at waypoint 8.

Miles: 0.6 - 1.1
Elevation change: +400 feet

Climb to the northeast along the ridge for 0.5 mile until you reach the ridge (4) formed by Poison Peak and Peak 8605.

Miles: 1.1 - 1.5
Elevation change: +150 feet

Traverse northeast along the ridge for 0.4 mile until you reach Peak 8605 (5). There are trees on the ridge, but you can avoid most of them by skirting to the south at the top of the open slope.

Image approaching Peak 8605 Approaching Peak 8605

Miles: 1.5 - 1.8
Elevation change: -300 feet

Descend south along a ridge for 0.3 mile until you reach a saddle (6). There is no absolute reason for descending on the ridge; you could head to the southwest, down the drainage, toward waypoint 7. But on the ridge you will get excellent views east down into Bee Gulch.

Miles: 1.8 - 2.2
Elevation change: -350 feet

Descend the drainage to the southwest, staying to the northwest of its bottom, for 0.4 mile until you reach trees (7) below which you can traverse to the west above the creek. Do not descend toward the bottom of the drainage and the creek.

Miles: 2.2 - 2.5
Elevation change: -50 feet

Traverse west below the trees for 0.3 miles until you intersect the route you ascended (8).

Miles: 2.5 - 2.9
Elevation change: -300 feet

Retrace the route for 0.4 mile back to the trailhead (1).

Elevation Profile
Elevation profile
Link to elevation profile
Link to waypoint data
Link to full page map
Link to see and submit reviews and corrections about tour