Looking for a unique way to enjoy an overnight in the great outdoors (perhaps outside the confines of a nylon tent)? One of Colorado's quintessential wilderness experiences is a night in a backcountry hut. These free-standing dwellings — often a simple cabin, home or yurt that is only accessible via trail — are the ultimate in off-the-grid comfort.
Enjoying the rustic adventure of a backcountry hut is not limited to one season. In winter, cross-country skiers and snowshoe trekkers seek their solitude and warmth after a full day of traversing the mountains. Once the snow melts, hikers and mountain bikers use these facilities as a cozier substitute for wilderness camping. Regardless of the season, Grand County's wilderness huts and yurts are ideal for bonding with friends and family after a gorgeous day of wilderness travel. Here's a quick roundup of your options in Grand County.
Opened to the public in 2012, the Broome Hut on the west side of Berthoud Pass is the first in a new series of huts being built and maintained in the backcountry of Grand County. Situated at 11,350 feet at treeline in the Second Creek Basin, the Broome Hut offers 1,800-square-feet of space to backcountry skiers and hikers and can accommodate up to 16 people. It's spacious deck angles toward the impressive Second Creek Headwall, a beautiful sight at sunrise when the first rays of daylight illuminate its rocky face. Amenities include a kitchen, kitchen utensils and cookware.
Situated on the forested slopes of Lonesome Peak northeast of Tabernash, the High Lonesome Hut offers a warm and comfortable refuge for skiers, snowshoe trekkers, hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. The hut includes running water for showers, flush toilets, a kitchen for cooking meals, and if you want to go light, there is even a gear-transport service for an additional fee. At night, visitors can warm themselves by the wood-burning fireplace or gaze up in wonder at a dizzying array of stars. The hut can accommodate up to 12 people.
YMCA of the Rockies' Snow Mountain Ranch has played host to families, large groups and outdoor lovers for generations. In summer and winter, visitors can reserve one of the ranch's 12 yurts, which are separated from the rest of the property in an aspen-laden "yurt village" (but still within walking distance of the zipline, archery, pool and tennis court facilities). Each yurt can accommodate six people and they include a queen-size bed, a bunkbed and bed linens in summer.