Old Man Winter has arrived once again in the mountains. As snowflakes continue to fall and trails disappear under a growing blanket of white, opportunities to don skis and snowshoes to access the wintry wilderness are upon us.
Given the waning daylight hours and frigid temps typical for the season, wintertime adventures often take place as shorter day trip excursions. This need not always be the case. Thanks to a network of winter-based sleeping huts and their operators, winter huts offer outdoor enthusiasts relatively comfortable shelter with access to stunning remote backcountry locations that are ripe for wintertime recreational pursuits. While some huts are more luxurious than others, amenities typically include shelter and warmth (many contain heating stoves; some even come equipped with saunas), sleeping bunks or padding, kitchen essentials and cooking stoves, all of which equates to less gear that needs to be schlepped in.
Owned and operated by a mix of both public and private operators, winter hut reservations typically open months in advance, and reservation lotteries are available for some. And for those less interested in undergoing the human-powered work to get themselves and supplies into the huts, some private operators offer snowmobile transport for people, provisions and gear.
To keep you feeling warm and cozy in this chilly winter season, we've pulled together a list of 10 of our favorite winter huts below. If you'll be making a trip to a hut this winter, or for any future visits, make sure to check with each hut operator's website for a list of the amenities provided so you'll know exactly what you need to bring and what you can leave behind. Details for each hut can be found by clicking into each of the huts listed below.
Sunrise from Hidden Lake Lookout. Photo by Outdoor Project Contributor Benjamin Krause.
Brew Lake Hut: Sea-to-Sky Corridor, British Columbia. Operated by the University of British Columbia's Varsity Outdoors Club.
- Hidden Lake Lookout: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington. Operated by the U.S. Forest Service.
- Tilly Jane A-Frame: Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon. Operated by Oregon Nordic Club.
- Barlow Ridge Hut: Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon. Operated by Cascade Huts.
Three Creek Lake Yurts in the heart of Central Oregon's Cascade Mountains. Photo by Outdoor Project Contributor Benjamin Krause.
Three Creek Lake/Tam McArthur Rim Yurts: Deschutes National Forest, Oregon. Operated by Three Sisters Backcountry.
- Williams Peak Hut: Sawtooth National Forest, Idaho. Operated by Sawtooth Mountain Guides.
- Pioneer Yurt: Sawtooth National Forest, Idaho. Operated by Sun Valley Trekking.
Pear Lake Ski Hut in California's Sequoia National Park. Photo by Outdoor Project Team Member Aron Bosworth.
- 10th Mountain Division Ski Huts: Vail Pass, Colorado. Operated by 10th Mountain Division Hut Association and other private owners.
- Peter Grubb Ski Hut: Donner Pass, California. Operated by the Sierra Club.
- Pear Lake Ski Hut: Sequoia National Park, California. Operated by Sequoia Parks Conservancy.