Colorado Mountain Huts: A Backcountry Stay


Colorado is home to an extensive network of backcountry cabins, offering outdoor enthusiasts a unique way to experience the state’s stunning natural beauty. These mountain huts provide a cozy refuge for hikers, skiers, and adventurers seeking to immerse themselves in the rugged wilderness.


  • Colorado's mountain huts offer a one-of-a-kind backcountry experience, combining outdoor adventures with comfortable backcountry hut accommodations.
  • The hut systems cater to various activities, including ski mountaineering, hut-to-hut skiing, hiking, and mountain biking.
  • Many huts feature amenities like solar-powered lights, wood-burning stoves, indoor toilets, and even saunas, ensuring a comfortable stay in remote locations.

Destination Overview

The Colorado Mountain Huts system is a network of backcountry cabins scattered throughout the state’s most scenic and remote areas. These huts provide a base for exploring the Rocky Mountains’ breathtaking landscapes, from the iconic Maroon Bells to the rugged San Juan Mountains.

One of the most renowned Colorado hut systems is the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association, named after the WWII ski troops who trained in Colorado’s challenging terrain. This non-profit organization manages over 30 huts, including the Alfred A. Braun Hut System in Summit County and the iconic Francie’s Cabin, Janet’s Cabin, and Sisters Cabin in the Aspen area.

Backcountry Cabins and Accommodations

The backcountry cabins in Colorado offer a range of amenities, from rustic and minimalist to surprisingly luxurious. Many huts feature solar-powered lights, wood-burning stoves for warmth, and indoor toilets, ensuring a comfortable stay even in the most remote locations.

Some huts, like those in the San Juan Hut Systems, even boast saunas, allowing guests to relax and rejuvenate after a day of outdoor adventures. These cabins are designed to provide a sustainable and eco-friendly way to experience the mountains, minimizing the environmental impact while maximizing the enjoyment of nature.

Ski Mountaineering and Hut-to-Hut Skiing

Colorado’s mountain huts are a mecca for ski mountaineering and hut-to-hut skiing enthusiasts. The state’s diverse terrain, from the San Juan Mountains’ powdery slopes to the Sneffels Traverse’s challenging routes, offers endless opportunities for backcountry skiing adventures.

Hut-to-hut skiing allows skiers to embark on multi-day trips, traversing from one cozy cabin to the next without needing heavy camping gear. Popular routes include the Aspen-to-Crested Butte traverse and the Sneffels Traverse, connecting Telluride, Ridgway, and Ouray towns.

Iconic Locations and Trails

Colorado’s mountain huts are near some of the state’s most iconic destinations and trails. The Arapaho National Forest surrounds the High Lonesome Hut, and the Broome Hut is near Winter Park.

The Aspen area, renowned for its world-class skiing and stunning scenery, is home to several huts, including the historic Francie’s Cabin and Janet’s Cabin. Nearby, the Maroon Bells, with their distinctive red-hued peaks, offer breathtaking vistas and challenging hiking trails.

In Rocky Mountain National Park, the backcountry cabins provide access to the park’s rugged wilderness, allowing visitors to explore its pristine landscapes and abundant wildlife.

Wellness and Relaxation Amenities

While mountain huts cater to outdoor adventurers, they also offer opportunities for wellness and relaxation. Select huts, such as those in the San Juan Hut Systems, feature saunas, providing a rejuvenating experience after hiking or skiing.

These amenities allow guests to unwind and recharge in the serene backcountry setting, enhancing the overall experience of disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability

The Colorado Mountain Huts system is committed to environmental stewardship and sustainable practices. Many huts are designed to minimize their ecological footprint, utilizing solar power, composting toilets, and other eco-friendly technologies.

Additionally, the hut associations work closely with land management agencies and local communities to ensure the preservation of the natural environment and promote responsible tourism practices. By embracing sustainability, these huts offer a way to experience the great outdoors while minimizing the impact on the fragile ecosystems they inhabit.

Adventure and Activities Beyond Skiing

While skiing and ski mountaineering are undoubtedly popular activities in Colorado’s mountain huts, the region offers a wealth of other outdoor pursuits. During the warmer months, hikers can embark on multi-day treks, traversing scenic trails and taking in the stunning vistas.

Mountain bikers can also use the hut-to-hut system, tackling challenging routes like the Durango-to-Moab trail, which connects Colorado to Utah. The Colorado Mountain Huts provide a playground for outdoor enthusiasts with diverse activities catering to different seasons and interests.


How do I book a stay at a Colorado Mountain Hut?

Most hut systems have online booking platforms or reservation systems. Planning and booking well in advance is recommended, especially for popular huts and peak seasons.

What should I pack for a hut-to-hut adventure?

Pack lightweight, warm clothing layers, sturdy hiking or skiing gear, and essential backcountry safety equipment. Many huts provide basic amenities, but you must bring food and a sleeping bag.

Are the huts accessible year-round?

While some huts are open year-round, others may have seasonal closures due to weather conditions or maintenance. It’s best to check their operating schedules with the specific hut system.

Can I bring my dog to the huts?

Pet policies vary among hut systems, so checking the specific rules before bringing your furry friend along is essential. Some huts may allow dogs, while others may have restrictions or additional fees.

What safety precautions should I take when visiting the huts?

Always check weather conditions, avalanche forecasts, and trail reports before embarking on your adventure. Carry appropriate safety gear, such as avalanche beacons and first-aid kits, and ensure you have the necessary skills and experience for the activities you plan to undertake.


About the author

Ransom Patterson

My expertise in Colorado life extends beyond just residing here; it’s also about living actively within the community. I spend my time cycling through Denver’s trails, experimenting with local cuisines, and immersing myself in the local music scene. These activities give me a unique perspective on the cultural and outdoor offerings of Colorado. This hands-on approach allows me to provide insider tips and personal recommendations that resonate with both locals and visitors alike.