If you haven’t gone on a hut trip during the winter season, you’re missing out. Hut trips provide the opportunity to see the high-country winter while spending time with your friends or family; if you choose. They also allow you to get a hard workout in while exploring backcountry skiing. Colorado has a great variety of huts for backcountry skiing, split-boarding, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing.
Plan Ahead and Prepare:
In order to complete a successful trek into the backcountry on skis, split-boards or snowshoes you need to prepare for the trip. You will need to know how to effectively read a map so you can pick the safest and most stable route to the hut. You will also want to prepare for the unexpected and pack and bring enough food, water, and clothing for a successful excursion.
Huts in Colorado are very popular, so you’ll need to plan ahead, as these huts book fast. Most huts sleep between 5-20 people. Depending on whether or not you book the entire hut for your crew, most huts allow other hut-goers to stay as well, so be ready to make some new friends! Most huts include beds, some sort of stove and water that can be produced by melting snow. Make sure to do your research prior so you are well prepared.
(If you’re not ready to take charge and plan your own hut adventure, you should consider a guided hut trip.)
Colorado’s Top Huts:
1. OPUS Hut, San Juan Mountains, CO
The OPUS Hut lies in the San Juan Mountains and is a full-service European style backcountry hut. The hut itself is powered by solar panels and has 110-volt outlets for charging your tech. It also has filtered drinking water, hot and cold tap water, and indoor composting toilets. The hut provides pillows and comforters, but visitors will want to pack their sleeping bag liners. Meals include afternoon soup, dinner, and breakfast the following morning. OPUS staff can accommodate special dietary needs as well. A-la-carte snacks, trail snacks, and appetizers are also available. In the winter months of November- April there is no access to the road so prepare to Ski/Hike 3.5 miles and 1,800 vertical feet into the hut.
2. Never Summer Nordic Yurts/ Cabins, Gould, CO
If you’re looking for the ultimate backcountry experience you should consider renting a yurt from Never Summer Nordic. Their yurts are located on a line of old roads and trails for skiing, hiking and mountain biking of all ability levels. The best yurts for backcountry skiing are the ” Montgomery Pass Yurt” and the ” North Fork Canadian Yurt”. Montgomery Pass yurt offers more intermediate and advanced skiing options while the North Fork Canadian Yurt offers some limited skiing options and moose sightings, if you’re lucky!
3. High Lonesome Hut, Fraser, CO
Adventure seekers: this one’s for you. Located on a stunning 160-acre meadow surrounded by the Arapaho National Forest, the High Lonesome Hut is one of Colorado’s coolest huts. To get there, you’ll need to hike, mountain bike, horseback ride, snowshoe, or cross country ski up a 2.5-mile path. You can choose your own adventure on this one – as long as it doesn’t involve any motorized vehicles. This Hut features solar electricity, an indoor toilet, a shower, hot and cold running water, and beds for 12 people. The only things not included are food and sleeping bags! This spot is perfectly private while still accessible. If you’re looking for trails to explore, check out their peaceful 6-mile round trip hike to Strawberry Lake!
4. Eiseman Hut, Gore Range, CO
Just north of Vail, Colorado, the Eiseman Hut is one of the 10th Mountain Division Huts, the most extensive hut system in North America. At 11,180 feet, this hut is located at the Division’s highest elevation. It also has premium access to some amazing skiing. For more advanced skiers and mountaineers, there are plenty of challenging hikes and runs in the surrounding area. Take a challenging 7-mile hike into the rugged Gore Range. You can chill out on the sun deck after a long day of skiing and enjoy some spectacular views of the mountains. Comfortably sleeping 16, this hut is the perfect place to bring friends and family together!
5. Opa’s Taylor Hut, Elk Mountain Range, CO
Seven miles from Ashcroft, Opa’s Taylor Hut lies at the center of the Braun Hut system, which is also affiliated with the 10th Mountain Division Huts. Opa’s Taylor Hut is recommended for more advanced backcountry skiers and mountaineers, as the approaches can be challenging. Renowned for having the best views of the Division, this hut sits south of Taylor Pass with an outlook of the Taylor River Valley. This premium hut has room for 8 people with 3 bedrooms and extra daybeds. This hut boasts amazing skiing in every direction, just be wary of avalanches – the terrain can be treacherous.