10th Mountain Division Huts in Winter
For a unique winter adventure, try a back-country hut trip in the scenic Rocky Mountains, complete with cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, panoramic views and a cozy cabin.
The most extensive ski hut system in Colorado surrounds Leadville, stretching from Aspen to Vail. Managed by the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association, the network incorporates 34 cabins and more than 350 miles of back-country trails, providing adventure seekers with a variety of wintertime possibilities that range from one-hut vacations to extensive hut-to-hut journeys. Terrain varies from beginner to expert and includes something for everyone in between.
The name “10th Mountain” commemorates the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army, which trained at Camp Hale near Leadville during World War II. In fact, many of the huts and cabins are named after members of the 10th Mountain Division and were funded by their friends and families.
Leadville serves as the perfect base town for backcountry trips to the 10th Mountain huts, as travelers can stock up on food, supplies and warm gear before trekking into the mountains. Eleven of the 10th Mountain properties are located near Leadville, with Ski Cooper and Chicago Ridge and the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse and Nordic Center all nearby.
Here’s a breakdown of the huts near Leadville:
• Vance's Cabin is located roughly 10 miles north of Leadville on a timbered mountainside near Tennessee Pass. At 10,980 feet in elevation, it sleeps 16 with six beds upstairs and 10 bunk beds in a communal area downstairs.
• Point Breeze Cabin (shown above) serves
• The 10th Mountain Division Hut is nestled high in the mountains at 11,370 feet, just a few miles east of the Continental Divide. The hut sleeps up to 16 with a variety of private bedrooms and common areas.
• The Continental Divide Cabin (above, right) boasts more than 15 miles of beginner to intermediate cross-country ski trails nearby. Situated at 10,500 feet near the Point Breeze Cabin, it sleeps eight.
• Jackal Hut is located . The hut is 15 miles north of Leadville and sleeps up to 16.
• Janet's Cabin sits next to Copper Mountain Ski Resort at 11,610 feet, perfect for both novice and expert skiers. Sleeps up to 20 during the winter.
• The Fowler/Hilliard Hut is located on U.S. Forest Service land roughly six miles west of Vail Pass. The hut sleeps 16 and sits at an elevation of 11,500 feet.
• Uncle Bud’s Hut boasts panoramic views of the 14,421-foot Mount Massive and is easily accessible from a trailhead at Turquoise Lake. The hut sleeps up to 16 and is located at 11,380 feet in elevation.
• Skinner Hut i
• Sangree’s Hut is nestled at 11,650 feet, 10 miles north of Leadville and just southeast of the Cooper Hill ski area. Sleeping up to 16, it is also home to the Alpine Resource Center.
• Betty Bear Hut is a perfect destination for intermediate back-country skiers, surrounded by a variety of terrain. The hut sits at 11,100 feet between Leadville and Aspen and sleeps up to 16.The average route to reach a hut is between six and seven miles, with roughly 1,500 to 2,500 feet of elevation gain on a trailhead beginning at 8,000 feet or higher. Standard gear includes warm clothing, skis with metal edges, climbing skins, back-country poles, topographic maps and heavy leather or plastic boots. For beginners or those seeking a catered excursion, a number of outfitters provide guided trips that include everything from knowledgeable instructors to gear rentals and transportation services.
At the 10th Mountain properties, standard amenities include wood burning stoves for heating and cooking, firewood and starter paper, matches, propane burners, photovoltaic lighting, cooking and eating utensils, toilet paper, mattresses and pillows. Guests need to bring their own sleeping bags, food and personal and emergency gear. For water, hut users melt snow in the winter and collect from streams in the summer; guests are responsible for purifying their own drinking water. For a list of the specific amenities at each property, check out 10th Mountain’s Hut Amenities Chart.
Prior to embarking on a back-country winter trip, it is also recommended to visit the , which posts up-to-date avalanche information. If you are interested in improving your backcountry skills, 10th Mountain, Summit Huts and many other organizations sponsor workshops each winter.
Summer hut trips are also a good way to experience the Colorado backcountry. Information is courtesy of the 10th Mountain Division Huts Association. Click here for maps.