The Mountain Huts of Colorado


Colorado boasts over 50 backcountry huts and yurts, offering a unique way to experience the state’s stunning mountain landscapes. These huts provide a cozy basecamp for a variety of outdoor activities, from hiking and mountain biking in the summer to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.


  • Mountain huts in Colorado offer a unique and immersive way to experience the state's backcountry.
  • Huts provide access to a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and snowshoeing.
  • Proper planning, including reservations, gear preparation, and safety considerations, is essential for a successful hut trip.

Exploring the Variety of Mountain Huts in Colorado

Colorado’s mountain huts range from basic shelters to fully-serviced lodges, catering to various preferences and skill levels. Some popular hut systems include:

  • 10th Mountain Division Huts: A network of 34 huts in the Colorado Rockies
  • San Juan Huts: Five rustic huts that are part of the San Juan Hut System connecting Telluride and Ouray
  • Summit Huts: Four huts located in the Summit County area

These huts are scattered throughout the state’s mountain ranges and are available for use primarily in the winter months, with some offering summer access.

Activities Near Mountain Huts

Mountain huts serve as a gateway to a multitude of outdoor adventures:

  • Hiking: Huts are located near the expansive Rocky Mountain trail system, leading to scenic vistas and alpine lakes.
  • Mountain biking: Some huts near popular mountain biking trails offer challenging rides through stunning terrain.
  • Winter sports: Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are the primary means of accessing huts in the winter, with many huts situated near backcountry ski routes.

Planning Your Hut Trip

To ensure a successful hut trip, consider the following steps:

1. Make reservations well in advance, especially for popular huts and peak seasons.

2. Gather necessary gear and supplies, including appropriate clothing, sleeping bags, food, and water filtration systems.

3. Familiarize yourself with backcountry safety practices, such as avalanche awareness and navigation skills.

Family and Group Trips

Many mountain huts are well-suited for families and large groups, offering opportunities for bonding and shared experiences. When planning a group trip:

  • Choose a hut with amenities and activities suitable for all ages and skill levels, such as the Continental Divide Cabin.
  • Engage children in educational opportunities, such as learning about local ecology and outdoor skills by exploring a nearby trail.
  • Coordinate group dynamics, including meal planning and gear distribution, to ensure a smooth trip.

Solo and Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

For those seeking solitude or a more secluded experience, consider:

  • Lesser-known huts or yurts in remote areas, such as the Opus Hut or the Emma Yurt.
  • Planning trips during shoulder seasons or midweek to avoid crowds.
  • Developing self-sufficiency skills and emergency preparedness for solo adventures.

Seasonal Considerations and Weather Preparedness

Colorado’s mountain weather can be unpredictable, so it’s essential to:

  • Research seasonal accessibility and conditions for your chosen hut.
  • Pack appropriate gear for the season, including warm layers for winter and sun protection for summer.
  • Stay informed about weather forecasts and adjust plans accordingly.

Impact of Mountain Huts on Local Ecology and Economy

Mountain huts play a role in the local ecology and economy:

  • Huts have an ecological footprint, so visitors should practice Leave No Trace principles.
  • Hut trips support local economies through tourism and job creation.
  • Many hut systems engage in conservation efforts, such as renewable energy projects and habitat protection.


What should I pack for a summer hut trip in Colorado?

Essential items include sturdy hiking shoes, layered clothing, sun protection, a sleeping bag, food, and water filtration supplies.

Are there any mountain huts in Colorado that are accessible to beginners?

Yes, some huts, like the 10th Mountain Division’s Shrine Mountain Inn, are easily accessible and suitable for beginners.

What are the best mountain huts for winter sports in Colorado?

The 10th Mountain Division Huts, Alfred A Braun Hut System, and Summit Huts offer excellent backcountry skiing and snowshoeing access.

How do I ensure my safety while staying in a remote mountain hut?

Familiarize yourself with backcountry safety practices, carry appropriate gear, and inform others of your itinerary.

Can I bring my pet to a mountain hut in Colorado?

Most huts do not allow pets, so it’s best to leave them at home or find alternative accommodations.


About the author

James Ranson

I’m an editor, traveler, and fan of the great outdoors. I’ve been to all 48 continental US states, and my drives through Colorado’s rugged peaks and snowy forests (not to mention whiskey tastings in Denver!) still stand out in my memories. I’m excited to use my ten years of editing experience to develop engaging and informative guides and articles that enhance the outdoor experiences of both Colorado residents and visitors. Whether a piece is about exploring the best ski resorts, uncovering scenic trails for hiking, or finding the most inspiring drives through the Colorado Rockies, my aim is to provide comprehensive and accessible content that encourages adventure and exploration.