Central Cascades Winter Recreation Council
sled dogs and mushing
Sled dogs / mushing / skijoring at Crystal Springs Sno-Park
The only sled dog trails in the state are at Crystal Springs Sno-Park. In order to have an enjoyable experience for all, we ask that all visitors to this Sno-Park respect trail courtesy and keep your dogs on leash throughout the sled dog trail system in addition to the parking areas.
Please, no dogs in Erling Stordahl. Dogs are allowed, on leash / harness only, on the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail east of Lost Lake Road crossing. These areas are signed - sometimes. See Sno-Park page for maps.
What is the Crystal Sled Dog Trail System?
This trail system consists of old logging roads, a portion of the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail and utility corridors making a great hilly, curvy sled dog trail system in the winter. The terrain is forested with some sections in the open.
In the late 1990’s mushers started to groom old skid roads to run their dogs. For the safety of all and through cooperation of State Parks, USFS and mushers a creating a “dog sled parking” area. In addition, creating a new route, now called "The Crystal Dog Trail" to avoid a plowed road. This non-motorized trail is the main sled dog access out of the Sno-Park traveling up to the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail and then east to the main sled dog trail system.
In September 2011 the USFS provided some needed culverts and mushers provided the loader/backhoe, labor and fuel to improve the Crystal Dog Trail. Since the 2015 season there is temporary permission to groom the entire sled dog trail system.
There are signs indicating sled dog use on the entire system and it is a suggested voluntary non-motorized area. Mushers are working with the snowmobile community and have their support.
Please respect all users right to be out on the trail.
Dog teams cannot stop on a dime and can be about 70' long. While these are working dogs and trained to obey the musher, they may take a few seconds to come to a stop depending on their speed, team size and snow conditions. If a team is approaching, please step to the side and give them some room. The dogs leaving the parking area are super excited and can go quite fast, please expect teams an any time on the Crystal Dog Trail - day or night.
Dog tangles can be very dangerous with potential injury if the gang lines are not tight, if you have a dog with you, please make sure it is under complete control and will not go greet the team. Teach your dog "on-by".
Sometimes it would be a good idea to tuck those long ski poles to your outside. These working dogs are happy, exuberant and athletic - just like you. Enjoy them! If you would like to join in the fun, look into Northwest Sled Dog Association club for information and activities.