Visit these websites to discover a hut that suits your backcountry adventure.
Planning your first winter hut trip? Study the route beforehand, memorize significant terrain features and have the ability to understand and use USGS topographical maps aided by GPS.
In winter, you simply can’t count on marked trails leading to many huts. Markers verify routes, and in ideal situations you can navigate from one marker to the next, like following the dots. But white-out conditions, damaged or missing markers, and heavy snows can easily obscure the path. A continuous cut through the trees is a good sign you’re on-route. And a respectable rule of thumb is that nearly all trails follow the path of least resistance.
Naturally, many routes cross dangerous terrain. Backcountry know-how—including the use of avalanche beacons, probes and shovels and the ability to read snow loads—is a given for any winter outing. The USGS offers free navigation classes in the Denver area (call 303-202-4689); check your outdoors store of choice for an avalanche awareness class.
HUTS FOR ALL
DANCING MOOSE YURT
PERFECT FOR: novices, families
WHERE: east of Walden in the Colorado State Forest State Park, elevation 9,000 feet
GETTING THERE: Year-round access on Forest Service roads allows guests to park within a quarter-mile of Dancing Moose and follow a well-marked trail.
HUT SYSTEM: Never Summer Nordic
SLEEPS: up to nine guests
AMENITIES: modern-style yurt with wood-burning stove, propane burners for cooking, mattresses, pillows, basic furniture, firewood, cookware and utensils
PLAYTIME: Winter visitors have wide-open slopes with low avalanche danger to enjoy, while summer users can hike the Jewel Lake trail that connects with other nearby trails heading to lakes and streams known for trout fishing.
HARRY GATES HUT
PERFECT FOR: large groups, summer novices, winter adventurers
WHERE: 15 miles northeast of Aspen, elevation 9,700 feet
GETTING THERE: Summer access on Forest Service roads puts guests within one-third of a mile of the hut; winter is more arduous, requiring a minimum 6.6-mile ski/snowshoe approach with intermittent climbs.
HUT SYSTEM: 10th Mountain Division
SLEEPS: up to 16 guests
AMENITIES: large, woodsy cabin with two private upstairs bedrooms, a wood stove, propane burners for cooking, firewood, single/double bed frames with mattresses, basic furniture, cookware and utensils
PLAYTIME: Numerous summer hiking trails lead to Tellurium Park, Burnt Mountain and toward Woods Lake. Anglers can expect good fishing at nearby Crooked Creek Reservoir. In winter, the rolling terrain provides just the right dose of challenge for skiers and snowshoers.
10th MOUNTAIN DIVISION HUT TO UNCLE BUD’S HUT
PERFECT FOR: multiday trekkers
WHERE: northwest of Leadville, just east of the Continental Divide, elevation 11,380 feet
GETTING THERE: This classic route links two huts for multiday journeys, the original concept behind the 10th Mountain system. The system’s namesake hut, the 10th Mountain, serves as an entry point for accessing Uncle Bud’s and other area huts. The 10th Mountain can be reached during summer months by hiking or biking 4.4 miles on a nearby extreme four-wheel-drive road from the Crane Park Trailhead. Uncle Bud’s requires an 8-mile, four- to five-hour hike from the 10th Mountain Hut and traverses some of the best alpine landscape in Colorado. Winter access follows the same straightforward routes and poses relatively low avalanche danger. Still, carry a beacon, shovel and probe, and know how to use them.
SLEEPS: up to 16 (both huts)
AMENITIES: large cabins with two private upstairs bedrooms, a wood stove, propane burners for cooking, firewood, single/double bed frames with mattresses, basic furniture, cookware and utensils
PLAYTIME: The Colorado Trail is nearby, and the terrain surrounding both huts is excellent for winter recreation.
A consolidated online guidebook for researching and booking summer and winter hut trips through the 10th Mountain, Braun, Summit and Friends hut systems in central Colorado. Includes free downloadable topographical route maps.
Similar to huts.org, but with important information specially geared to winter hut trips.
Information and booking opportunities for year-round yurts in northern Colorado’s Never Summer Mountains.
Resources, descriptions, booking information and route details for this rustic southwest Colorado system, including 215-plus-mile summer route descriptions for mountain biking/hiking hut routes connecting Telluride and Durango to Moab, Utah.
Information and reservations for Colorado’s highest hut system of four yurt-style shelters near Lake City in central Colorado; now open for summer visitors.