Colorado’s Rocky Mountains attract year-round outdoor enthusiasts who come to enjoy the unbeatable scenery, world-class skiing and endless hiking trails. For those looking to stay a few nights in the wilderness, camping is not the only option.
Scattered among the Colorado mountains are some wonderful secluded getaways including private alpine lodges, old mining cabins, and a system of backcountry ski huts. Treat yourself to a long weekend in the mountains and leave the tent at home.
Though they may lack the comforts of a charming B&B, these year-round accommodations are full of character and history, and provide a great opportunity to cross paths and share stories with some other adventurous folks. Here are some of the best Colorado mountain getaways and when to bunk in them.
Francie’s Cabin is a proper log cabin built in 1994 and sleeps up to 20 people, making it a great family getaway. The location is easily accessible from the trail to Crystal Lake and there are a number of excellent hikes, biking trails and fishing opportunities nearby. You can access the cabin from a four-wheel-drive road that starts at the base of Breckenridge Ski Resort, or take the 1.8-mile hike from the Spruce Creek Trailhead. It’s a perfect place to stay during the Autumn months when it may be too cold to camp. And you can’t beat the wood-burning sauna.
Located on Weston Pass road between Fairplay and Leadville is the Weston Pass Hut, a four-bedroom cabin that sits above timberline at an impressive elevation of 11,950 feet. The cabin has wonderful views of the Mosquito Range and a few fourteeners out in the distance. Driving Weston Pass in the fall is perfect for die-hard leafers, plus there is dirt road access to the hut before the pass closes for the winter.
The historic Columbine Cabins sit at the base of Hahn’s Peak among the thick aspen forests of Northern Colorado. The property is a privately owned collection of cabins that date back to the late 1800s, when they served as a mining camp. The rustic cabins still have their historic feel, but also offer the luxuries of a general store and sauna. Come in September when the trees are in full color and enjoy some trout fishing on the nearby Hahn’s Peak Lake.
The 10th Mountain Division Huts are a system of ski cabins that date back to the 1940s when soldiers trained at Camp Hale near the town of Red Cliff. Today the existing huts are heavily used by backcountry skiers to take advantage of the cross-country trails and untouched snow. The Shrine Mountain Inn consists of three of these cabins, which can be rented by the bed or by the room. These huts are an easy 2.75 miles from the summit of Vail Pass, where skiers can tour on to other cabins or take a long run down to Vail or Copper Mountain resorts.
Berthoud Pass is one of the closest backcountry skiing destinations to the Denver metro area. It isn’t uncommon to see groups of skiers popping out of the trees in knee-deep powder as the ski traffic crawls by after a big storm. On the western side of the pass, there’s a small parking area and a steep one-mile trail that takes you up to Broome Hut. Nightly guests must hike or skin their way up the 800 feet of elevation to the modern lodge, where two private rooms and two bunk rooms house fanatic skiers itching for some big backcountry turns.
The Tomichi Lodge offers access to hundreds of acres of backcountry skiing and snowmobiling in Colorado’s Sawatch Mountains. The lodge has four private bunk rooms and a loft, centered around the communal sitting and dining room. Situated almost two miles above sea level, there are two wood stoves to keep the lodge warm during the winter, when the doorways can become buried by feet of fresh snow. This remote getaway is located near Monarch Pass between Gunnison and Salida, where snowmobiles may be necessary for winter access.
Many of Colorado’s most impressive alpine lakes are in the San Juan Mountains in the Southwest corner of the state. Near the town of Telluride is a secluded mountain lodge called the OPUS hut, where guests get access to high-alpine trails leadings to 13,000-foot peaks and the iconic Columbine Lake. This backpacker’s hut operates with a European flare and provides breakfast, afternoon soup and dinner. Per European standards, there’s also an on-site bar with wine, beer and cider.
Archer’s Poudre River Resort is a mom-and-pop rustic resort located along Cameron Pass in Northern Colorado. Guests can take advantage of the on-site country store, fire pits, yard games or private river access to soak in the Poudre River. Archer’s is a fun and affordable option for rafters or fly-fisherman looking for a great weekend getaway.
The Polar Star Inn is one of the closest accommodations to the remote Holy Cross Wilderness Area. The cabin sits at 11,000 feet just below New York Mountain and can be accessed within quarter mile of a dirt road in the summer months. Staying at the Polar Star gives close access to many of the Holy Cross area’s peaks and stunning backcountry lakes. There are beds for 19 people, so bring the whole family out for a weekend of delightful wildflower hikes.
Regardless of the season, the need to hike or ski to a remote mountain cabin adds to the allure of your lodging and adds a special dimension to your trip into the Colorado wilderness. For an unforgettable night out in the Colorado wilderness, make plans to reach one of these remote cabins on your next trek.
Originally written by RootsRated for Kelty.
Featured image provided by Pierce Martin