Nestled in a grove of southern Idaho’s aspen and pine trees lies the Bloomington Canyon Yurt.
The 20-foot circular-shaped dwelling is owned and operated by the Weber State University Campus Recreation Outdoor Program. It’s open for winter reservations now, and spots are expected to fill quickly.
“The yurt is really incredible to experience,” said Daniel Turner, the Campus Recreation Outdoor Program coordinator. “It sits in some of the most beautiful terrain that you can find in northern Utah or southern Idaho.”
A two hour and 10 minute drive from campus can bring you to the trail head, which leads to the secluded location of the yurt.
“Once you get to the yurt, everything that you could possibly need is there, short of your own sleeping bag, your own food and your own ski gear,” Turner said.
The yurt is fully equipped with bunks, sleeping pads, a wood burning stove, a full complement of dishes, a propane cook stove, solar-powered lights, cleaning supplies, a pit toilet and a wood shed.
“You’re outside and so alone and isolated in the wilderness,” said Ben Bauter, a Campus Recreation Outdoor Program trip leader. “But at the same time, you have all the amenities and all the comforts of camping like you’re in a cabin.”
The yurt is located about 6 miles up Bloomington Canyon in Bear Lake, Idaho. From there, a trail head marks the 7-mile groomed trail to the yurt.
Turner recommends that those visiting the yurt cross-country ski, snowshoe or ideally take a snowmobile up the trail.
Terrain surrounding the yurt lends itself to activities like skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snow shoeing, nature walking and more.
“From the first day you get there, the yurt opens you to endless skiing and snowboarding terrain,” Bauter said. “Right outside the front door is a hill that we call Red Pine, which offers amazing skiing.”
The yurt cost is $80 per night for WSU students and $110 per night for the community.
Groups planning a stay at the yurt should be experienced and knowledgeable in back country traveling.
For those who have never been yurting before, Turner recommends joining one of the Campus Recreation Outdoor Program’s group trips offered in the winter before they go it alone.
Mike Henderson, the Campus Recreation Outdoor Program assistant coordinator, says the group trips are a great way to gain some experience.
“You’re with knowledgeable guides with a lot of experience, so it’s a great option if you don’t know if you’re ready to go out on your own,” Henderson said.
Available yurt dates can be viewed at www.weber.edu/outdoor. Reservations can be made over the phone by calling 801-626-6373 or in person at the Outdoor Program located at Annex 9.
“You get to be out in the elements and see nature in a way that you really can’t do in the winter without a lot of discomfort,” Bauter said. “To have a comfy bed and a fireplace and then walk out the front door to endless trees and deep powder is amazing.”