A hut to hut system is a network of huts, cabins, or yurts connected by trails that may be used for hiking, biking, snow skiing, and snowshoeing. Hut systems vary widely in the types of facilities they provide. They may be small, single-room structures that can sleep six to eight people on the floor or a network of cabins built around a central dining room and common area. Some hut systems serve prepared food in a large dining room, while others provide nothing but basic cooking gear. What all hut to hut systems have in common, however, is that they allow guests to travel between scenic outdoor locations with a minimal amount of gear and logistics, thereby maximizing the experience relative to getting to a destination, schlepping gear, and setting it up. Here are the top eight hut to hut systems in the U.S. along with links to their websites where you can find out more about these networks in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, New Hampshire and Maine.
San Juan Huts – Hut to Hut in Colorado
Based in Ridgeway, Colorado. The San Juan Hut System is a network of 16 small huts that sleep up to eight people in bunk beds. It extends from the high mountains around Ouray, Telluride, and Durango, and descends for hundreds of miles toward Moab, Utah. Huts are located in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, Gunnison, San Juan, and Manti-La Sal National Forests. The huts support hut to hut backcountry skiing, nordic trails, alpine climbing and snowshoeing, backcountry mountain biking trails, trail running, backcountry camping and alpine hiking.
- Food Each hut is stocked with food and firewood for a wood stove
- Sleeping Accommodations Bunk beds that sleep up to 8 people
Read more about San Juan Hut System
Read a Brown’s Guides interview with Kelly Ryan the manager of San Juan Hut System and the daughter of the hut system’s creator Joe Ryan
10th Mountain Division Hut Association – Colorado
Tenth Mountain Division Hut Association has its headquarters in Aspen, Colorado. They provide an opportunity for hut to hut backcountry skiing, mountain biking, or hiking with a hut to hut system of 34 huts connected along 350 miles of suggested routes. This is serious backcountry travel; the average route is six to seven miles long with an average 2,000-foot climb from an 8,000-foot trailhead. Someone in each self-guided group must have leadership, route finding, avalanche awareness, and first aid skills. Nine outfitters are authorized to guide on the hut-to-hut system, four winter, and five summer. They are Aspen Alpine Guides, Aspen Expeditions, Paragon Guides, Irwin Guides and Colorado Backcountry Guide Service, for winter. Summer guides are Aspen Alpine Guides, Paragon Guides, The World Outdoors, and Timberline Bike Tours.
- Plumbing No running water. Water comes from snowmelt or nearby springs and streams.
Read more about the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association
Never Summer Nordic – Colorado
Never Summer Nordic remote backcountry yurts are in secluded locations within Colorado’s State Forest State Park east of Walden, Colorado. Spread across the North Park Area of the nearly 71,000-acre park in the Medicine Bow Range of the Rocky Mountains, the hut to hut system includes eleven yurts and two huts. All eleven yurts are below the tree line, and the two huts are above the tree line. They are nestled along a system of old roads and trails great for skiing, hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking; they also make good bases for mountaineering and alpine lake fishing.
- Food Yurts / Huts are equipped with kitchen gear, propane cooktops, and propane
- Sleeping Accommodations Single and double sleeping cushions, pillows and cases are provided. Pack in your own bedding
- Plumbing No running water. Pack in water, filter water from streams or melt snow for drinking water in winter
- Heat No electricity. Yurts / Huts are equipped with a wood burning stove and provided firewood
Read more about Never Summer Nordic
Cascade Huts – Hut to Hut in Oregon
Cascade Huts is a system of five small huts in Oregon’s Mount Hood National Forest. Each hut has a kitchen area with a propane stove and lamps. A propane heater is provided in winter. Each hut is supplied with pots, pans, and kitchen utensils.
- Sleeping Accommodations Bunk beds with sleeping bags and pads are provided. Guests bring their own sleeping bag liner.
- Plumbing There is an outhouse at each hut location
Read more about Cascade Huts
Rendezvous Huts – Washington
Rendezvous Huts consists of five huts in the Methow Valley on the eastern flanks of the North Cascades mountains of Washington. The huts are located at approximately 5-mile intervals along 21 miles of groomed ski trails connecting Cub Creek to Mazama. Ski the trail system from one end to the other or ski loops on interconnecting trails. Bike and hike on single track and forest service roads May 15 to October 31, weather permitting.
- Food Huts are equipped with kitchen gear
- Sleeping Accommodations Single and double sleeping cushions are provided
- Plumbing No running water. Pack in water or melt snow for drinking water.
Read more about Rendezvous Huts
Sun Valley Trekking – Hut to Hut in Idaho
These six huts and yurts in Idaho comprise one of the oldest hut systems in North America. The huts are located in mountain terrain ideal for mountaineering and backcountry skiing. Some of the huts are Mongolian-style round yurts and some are western-style wall tents. Each hut has a wood stove with a supply of cut firewood, propane stove for cooking, kitchen supplies, and bunk beds with mattresses. Each hut has an outhouse plus a wood-fired sauna or hot tub.
Read more about Sun Valley Trekking Huts and Yurts
Maine Huts and Trails – Maine
Secreted away in the deep backcountry of northwestern Maine, Maine Huts and Trails is a network of four eco-lodges. This remote network of off-the-grid huts lets adventurous explorers hike, bike, paddle and ski from the headwaters of the Dead River to the foothills of Sugarloaf Mountain year-round. The huts are powered entirely by green energy, and each outpost consists of a main lodge surrounded by shared bunkhouses. On-site staff at each lodge provide guest services, including food preparation. Huts also feature full plumbing and heating amenities.
- Food Dinner, breakfast, and a trail lunch are included with overnight stays.The huts are stocked with baked goods daily.
- Sleeping Accommodations Guests stay in shared bunk rooms with a variety of bunk configurations.
- Plumbing Every hut is equipped with hot showers and toilets.
Read more about Maine Huts and Trails
AMC High Mountain Huts – New Hampshire
Travel hut to hut across 52 miles of New Hampshire’s White Mountain’s
forest and peaks. Ten AMC Huts are located along the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountains. All huts have full-service June through September (specific dates vary by location). Three huts are open all year round with limited service. Shuttle service is available from all major trailheads with advanced reservations.
- Food Home cooked dinner and breakfast
- Sleeping Accommodations A bunk with a pillow and three wool blankets.
- Plumbing Cold running water. Composting or waterless toilets
Read More about AMC High Mountain Huts
See a 1:40 video showing examples of some of the hut-to-hut systems in the U.S.