Just because you waited too long to book that popular backcountry cabin, doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.
It’s hard to think about a hut trip when it’s barely Halloween. However, the truth is that if you’re just warming up to the idea of getting a group together for a weekend in the snow—especially if you’re hoping to get into one of the more popular 10th Mountain Division Huts—you might already be out of luck. But, those aren’t the only options in our great mountainous state. If you want to get a last-minute hut trip in, check out these great backcountry digs.
Weston Pass Hut
This 20-person hut sitting at nearly 12,000 feet outside Leadville is at the epicenter of untapped backcountry potential. The winter approach is on the longer end—just under 7 miles one way with 2,250 feet of climbing—but the deep wilderness setting means hut guests are likely to have the peaks on either side of the pass to themselves. Look to the hillside west of the hut for everything from mellow, open bowls to perfectly spaced glades. Best of all, the hut, which opened in 2015, is still a relative newcomer and unaffiliated with any big booking systems so reservations are easy to snatch up, even later in the season.
Seedhouse Guard Station
The U.S. Forest Service is one of the biggest operators of Colorado huts that nobody knows about. Take the Seedhouse Guard Station, just north of Steamboat Springs en route to the Zirkel Wilderness. The tiny four-person cabin may be minimal but it’s comfortable and puts skiers within spitting distance of powder turns through the ghostly burned slopes of Little Agnes Mountain and tours up the North Fork Elk Creek. But don’t stop at Seedhouse: Browse the myriad of options on recreation.gov for little-used winter escapes.
Pass Creek Yurt
The six-person Pass Creek Yurt is another system-of-one shelter. Tucked into a hillside at 10,287 feet in the Wolf Creek backcountry outside Pagosa Springs, the yurt is a basecamp for a diverse plethora of backcountry skiing, including tours along the yurt’s access road and the hillsides to the south.
Hinesdale Haute Route
On the eastern side of the San Juans, the Hinesdale Haute Route touts its status as the highest-elevation hut system in the state. Linking together its two backcountry yurts in a multi-day out-and-back trip is a must-do tour with plenty of options for skiing the scenic alpine country along the way. If you reach out to the operators ahead of time, they’ll shuttle your gear to the huts, keeping your bag light and your focus on the turns.