In every yurt owned and managed by Idaho Parks and Recreation, there's a guest journal. If Leo Hennessy, the trail coordinator for Parks and Rec, had one piece of advice for yurt visitors, it would be to read the journals.
"People write about life-changing experiences," he told Boise Weekly back in November
. "People love [these yurts] and take care of them."
Parks and Recreation manages six yurts outside of Idaho City and on Saturday, Jan. 9, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., it's the public's chance to see them for free because the Rocky Ridge yurt and the Whispering Pines yurt will be part of the annual Idaho City Park N' Ski Area Free Ski/Snowshoe Day and Yurt Open House
The Park N' Ski area is located 17-23 miles north of Idaho City on Highway 21. There are four large, plowed parking lots with rest areas. Normally, those who park in the lot have to pay for a permit but on Saturday, visitors can park for free.
The area offers 56 miles of marked ski and snowshoe trails, 26 of which are groomed for skiing weekly.
To visit the Rocky Ridge yurt, which is located off Lower Lamar Trail, park at the Whoop-Um-Up lot and ask the host for directions to the yurt. It's a 1.5-mile ski/snowshoe in. To get to the Whispering Pines yurt, nestled in a large ponderosa pine forest, park at the Gold Fork lot and ask the host there for directions as well. Expect to ski/snowshoe 2-miles including a hill climb.
Dogs are allowed in both yurts and hot chocolate will be provided as well.
The yurts sleep six and overnight rentals range from $65 to $115. Hennessy said they are booked nearly 95 percent of the time through the winter and 60 percent of the time in the summer. They're stocked with a propane stove—although guests need to bring their own propane—solar lights and padded bunks as well as a pit toilet, fire ring and picnic table.
The Idaho City yurts are placed within easy reach of a variety of snowy activities, such as backcountry and telemark skiing, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing and skate skiing.
For more information or to make reservations, go to parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/activities/yurts