With the onset of snow comes the opening of winter backcountry huts all across the US. Whether you want to snowshoe, cross-country ski, or backcountry ski, there are a lot of reasons to plan an epic adventure to a backcountry hut this winter.
From the adventure it takes to get there to untracked snow and incredible mountain scenery, overnighting at a cozy backcountry hut is an awesome way to enjoy all that winter has to offer with friends or family.
From Vermont to California, our backcountry hut round-up focuses on huts located on America’s beautiful public lands and are accessible for both snowshoers and skiers.
Plan your next winter ski or snowshoe adventure with this roundup of the best backcountry huts across the US.
It is your responsibility to be aware of avalanche risks and to have the tools and knowledge you need to safely travel in the backcountry. If you don’t have any experience with winter backcountry travel, we’ve included a few huts that offer backcountry guides to show you the way.
12 Best Backcountry Huts Across the US
1. Clair Tappaan Lodge Huts
- Location: Lake Tahoe, California
- Number of huts: 4 huts
- Hut occupancy: 12-15 people depending on the hut
- Hut accessibility & difficulty level: All huts are a short trek from easily accessible parking areas. You can even loop Benson Hut & Bradley Hut together for a three-day, two-night epic adventure. You should be familiar with the area and have winter wilderness survival skills.
- Reservations: Hut reservations can only be made over the phone by calling 530-426-3632. For more information visit their website.
If you’ve hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, these 4 year-round huts will sound familiar as they are right off the PCT. The Peter Grubb Hut, Ludlow Hut, Benson Hut, and Bradley Hut are located just a short drive from Truckee and Tahoe City in California. All huts include a sleeping loft, wood stove, and outhouse.
Each hut requires only a single day to get to, making them perfect for a one or two-night getaway. In winter, the huts offer easy access to exceptional backcountry skiing routes right out the front door.
2. Bear River Yurts
- Location: Uinta County, Utah
- Number of huts: 6 yurts
- Hut occupancy: 4-12 people
- Hut accessibility & difficulty level: Five of the yurts are easy to access along well-marked and maintained trails. The distance of the approaches range from 1.5 to 6 miles. The 5th yurt is an additional 2 miles further into the backcountry on an ungroomed trail.
- Reservations: Reservations are first-come, first-serve and can be reserved starting the first Monday in October. You can check yurt availablity and make reservations online here.
The Bear River Outdoor Recreation Alliance (BRORA) operates 6 yurts in Uinta County for backcountry skiers, cross-country skiers, and snowshoers. BRORA’s mission is to assist in the promotion, development, and maintenance of outdoor recreation and access in Uinta county, an effort you support when you rent one of their yurts.
The yurts are equipped with bunk beds, a propane stove (propane included), kitchen utensils, and plenty of firewood to keep you warm and toasty throughout the night. The yurts also provide easy access to some of Utah’s finest backcountry terrain.
3. Bryant Camp
- Location: Bolton Valley, Vermont
- Number of huts: 1 camp
- Hut occupancy: 8 people
- Hut accessibility & difficulty level: Bryant camp is accessed via Bolton Valley Resort’s network of cross-country ski & snowshoe trails. There is an easy one-mile jaunt from the Bolton Sports Center that leads right to the hut, making it a great hut for beginners.
- Reservations: The fee to rent Bryant Camp is $97 on the weekends or $77 during the week. Reservations can be made online.
Located in Mt. Mansfield State Forest, Bryant Camp was originally built in the 1930s and was recently restored for backcountry and overnight use. The Camp is operated by the Green Mountain Club and offers rustic accommodations in the backwoods of Bolton Valley.
Byrant Camp is equipped with a sleeping loft (no beds or mattresses, so bring your sleeping pad and sleeping bag), a wood stove, and plenty of firewood to keep you warm. It’s surrounded by dozens of miles of cross-country skiing, backcountry skiing, lift-accessed skiing, and snowshoeing terrain.
The Green Mountain Club also operates the Hadsel-Mares Camp in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.
4. Hinsdale Haute Route Huts
- Location: Hinsdale County, Colorado
- Number of huts: 1 yurt
- Hut occupancy: 8 people
- Hut accessibility & difficulty level: The Jon Wilson Yurt is a short 1.25-mile trek from HWY 149 making it great for beginners or families with children.
- Reservations: It is $110 per night to reserve the Jon Wilson Yurt. Reservations can be made online.
The Hinsdale Haute Route Huts currently offers one backcountry yurt option – the Jon Wilson Yurt. There are two additional yurts, the Colorado Trail Friends Yurt and the Rambouillet Yurt, that are in the process of being re-established for winter use as of 2021. If you’ve hiked the Continental Divide Trail or the Colorado Trail, you’ve likely heard of these huts as they are right on the trail.
The Jon Wilson Yurt is perfect for family-friendly outings since it’s located just a short distance off the highway and accessing the hut is pretty straightforward and easy. The yurt is also dog-friendly!
5. Mount Tahoma Trails Huts & Yurts
- Location: Near Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington
- Number of huts: 4 huts
- Hut occupancy: 6-14 people depending on the hut
- Hut accessibility & difficulty level: Copper Creek Hut is the only hut accessible to beginners. This hut can be reached by a gentle uphill 5.5 mile hike along the Rainier Vista Trail through the forest. The other four huts require anywhere from 4-6.5 miles of strenous uphill hiking to access, so be sure to read the descriptions before reserving.
- Reservations: All the huts are available for day visitors to drop-in from 7am to 7pm. They can also be reserved for overnight stays. More information can be found on their website.
Experience 360 views of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, and Mt. St. Helens with these backcountry huts. It’s pretty hard to beat that when it comes to backcountry winter scenery! The huts can be visited during the day by the public or rented overnight. A porter service is available to haul your gear up the huts for an additional donation.
6. Mountaineering Club of Alaska Huts
- Location: Chugach and Talkeetna Mountains, Alaska
- Number of huts: 8 huts
- Hut occupancy: 7-10 people depending on the hut
- Hut accessibility & difficulty level: The GPS coordinates of each hut and detailed directions can be found on the club’s website. According to the website, “All of the huts are located above the treeline, often right next to glaciers, and are most often used for climbing nearby peaks, glacier traverses, and for skiing and hiking trips. All of the Chugach huts require glacier travel skills to reach and two of the seven huts can be reached by fixed-wing aircraft.”
- Reservations: The huts do not require any reservations and are free to stay in. It’s important to note they have no beds but can be used overnight, so don’t forget to bring your sleeping pad and bag!
These simple backcountry huts are designed for the more advanced and skilled winter traveler. The Mountaineering Club of Alaska maintains 8 huts that can be found across the Chugach and Talkeetna Mountains. Each hut is equipped with cooking stoves, lanterns, and a few other essentials for the mountains
If you’re new to backcountry hiking and camping, consider visiting these huts in the summer instead.
7. Southwest Nordic Center
- Location: Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico & San Juan Mountains, Colorado
- Number of huts: 5 yurts
- Hut occupancy: 6-10 people depending on the hut
- Hut accessibility & difficulty level: Informative PDFs are available online to help you learn about each individual hut before reserving. Four of the yurts are located in southern Colorado and are accessible via well-marked trails, making these great for beginners. The fifth yurt is located two miles from the Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico.
- Reservations: Reservations can be made online. Due to COVID, SNC is only accepting reservations for two nights or more.
The Southwest Nordic Center (SNC) operates four yurts near the southeastern end of the San Juan Wilderness in Colorado and one yurt in the Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico.
People don’t often associate New Mexico with skiing, but the Taos Ski Valley has world-class terrain and options for all levels. The Bull of the Woods Yurt is just two miles from Taos Ski Valley and offers some of the best alpine views in the state.
You can even reserve “Yurt to Yurt” trips through the SNC or “triple Yurt-to-Yurt-to-Yurt” trips for an exciting long weekend.
8. Sun Valley Yurt System
- Location: Sun Valley, Idaho
- Number of huts: 6 huts
- Hut occupancy: 10-14 people depending on the hut
- Hut accessibility & difficulty level: The huts are accessible via beginner or strenuous trails that range from 1.5 miles to 10 miles. For the more advanced routes, if your group is new to the area, you’re required to “Rent a Guide” to accompany your group on day 1.
- Reservations: Reservations can be made online.
Sun Valley Trekking operates 6 different backcountry huts in the Sawtooth, Smoky, and Pioneer Mountains near Sun Valley, Idaho. They have options for all levels and interests, including beginners and families with kids. What makes the Sun Valley Trekking huts unique is some of them have their own saunas and hot tubs – a luxurious way to end a cold day in the snow!
9. Pear Lake Hut
CLOSED FOR THE 2021-2022 season due to the KNP Fire Complex
- Location: Sequoia National Park, California
- Number of huts: 1 cabin
- Hut occupancy: 10 people
- Hut accessibility & difficulty level: The trail to the Pear Lake Cabin begins in Wolverton Meadow and ascends 6 steep miles to Pear Lake. Since the cabin is in Sequoia National Park, you will need a wilderness permit for all overnight trips. The trail is marked as advanced for backcountry skiers/snowshoers.
- Reservations: The Pear Lake Hut is $50 per person per night. Advanced reservations are required and can be made through the Sequia Parks Conservency website.
Sitting alongside Pear Lake in Sequoia National Park at 9,200 feet is Pear Lake Cabin. The cabin is managed by the Sequoia Parks Conservancy and is available for rent from mid-December to April. Keep in mind that it is a steep 6-mile hike or skin up to the cabin.
10. Idaho City Backcountry Yurts
- Location: Boise National Forest, Idaho
- Number of huts: 6 yurts
- Hut occupancy: 6 sleep comfortably, but 9 people are allowed for additional fees
- Hut accessibility & difficulty level: Each of the huts is accessible by a groomed 2-3 mile ski or snowshoe trek.
- Reservations: Yurts are $115 per night. Reservations can be made online. If you’re traveling from November 15th through April 30th you also need to purchase a valid Park N Ski parking pass to display in your vehicle.
The Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation operates the “Idaho City Backcountry Yurts” system that encompasses 6 yurts that are all about 1.5 hours north of Boise, ID in the Boise National Forest. If you aren’t a big fan of snow and winter, all six of the yurts are available year-round.
Most of the yurts are also dog-friendly, with the exception of Banner Ridge and Elkhorn yurts, which are off-limits to dogs from Dec. 1st to April 15th.
11. Baxter State Park Huts
- Location: Baxter State Park, Maine
- Number of huts: 7 bunkhouses and 8 cabins
- Hut occupancy: 4-10 people depending on bunkhouse or cabin (for the 2021-2022 season bunkhouses are only being reserved on a single-party basis).
- Hut accessibility & difficulty level: Baxter State Park roads are not plowed in the winter. The treks to most huts are a full day’s journey and should only be attempted by individuals familiar with the territory. There are companies that offer guided winter tours in the park if you are a beginner looking to gain skills and expertise.
- Reservations: Winter camping in Baxter State Park is permitted by reservation-only from December 1st through March 31st. You can make winter camping reservations in person at Baxter State Park Office or by email after November 1st. Reservations must be made at least 7 days in advance of your trip. More information on winter camping reservations can be found here.
Baxter State Park is the home to Mount Katahdin and is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. The Park operates 7 “bunkhouses” during the winter as well as 4 cabins at Daicey Pond and 4 cabins at Kidney Pond.
Winter campers in Baxter State Park can experience extremely harsh weather, so you must be prepared for all conditions.
12. Yellowstone Expeditions Yurt Camp
- Location: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
- Number of huts: Not specified
- Hut occupancy: 2 people
- Hut accessibility & difficulty level: Transportation for all trips is provided from West Yellowstone into the park. You’ll tour the park on your first day and then explore the park. Trips can be tailored to meet all levels, beginner to advanced.
- Reservations: You can pick from a 4-day, 5-day or 8-day excursion. Rates are available online.
If summer crowds are keeping you away from Yellowstone National Park, consider visiting in the winter. Yellowstone Expeditions operate a “Yurt Camp” in the park that includes private heated yurts.
You’ll spend your days trekking across snow-covered meadows, relaxing in hot springs, viewing wildlife, cross-country skiing the rim of Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon, or backcountry skiing some of the nearby slopes.