“Ski down the ridge from the top of Red Lodge Mountain to the Nichols Creek drainage.”
— Dan Skifert
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry
Nichols Creek road is closed to motorized use.
Need to Know
Stow the car at the Nichols Creek drainage where it intersects West Fork Rock Creek Road. Go right after a storm and when there's a 40"+ base at the top of RLM. Portions of the ridge top are rocky. The bottom of Nichols Creek road can be rocky and have a shallow snow pack.
This is a side country route from Red Lodge Mountain Resort to the Nichols Creek drainage. Access can be found through the backcountry access gate off of Barriers Run. Begin by following the main ridge to the southeast.
After a section of good turns through open trees, the ridgetop is fairly flat - follow the ridge out to the second large rock outcrop, then drop skiers left into the Nichols Creek drainage. Trees dropping down to Nichols Creek Road are steep and thick in spots and are about the only place on this route where you can get some good turns. You can traverse skiers left to get into more open areas, but it's often crusted due to sun exposure.
There is usually better snow on east-facing slopes, but the trees are often thicker here, too. Once you get into the main drainage bottom, Nichols Creek road is a mellow run out on an old road system that connects into the paved/plowed West Fork Rock Creek road.
History & Background
There is an old logging road along the bottom of Nichols Creek drainage. The area was most likely logged in the early 1900's for mine ties for coal mines in Red Lodge. The USFS is planning to log parts of this drainage and upgrade the roads over the next few years.