What’s the Deal With Those Backcountry Huts?

What’s the Deal With Those Backcountry Huts?

What’s the Deal With Those Backcountry Huts?


You’ve heard of them and maybe you’ve even seen one up close. Backcountry huts are an interesting feature of the outdoors. Found few and far between, having the opportunity to hang out in a backcountry hut or even spend a night in one is truly an awesome experience.

But, what’s the deal with them? How do you go about finding one and what are you supposed to do once you get there?

We’re here to answer all your backcountry hut questions. Check it out!

backcountry huts

The Different Types of Backcountry Huts

There are all different kinds of backcountry huts out there, and they aren’t all like a traditional style “hut.” There are also lodges and yurts, ski huts, cabins, or anything that can virtually be viewed as a place to get some warmth and coziness in the middle of the freezing backcountry. Some are really fancy, and some just have the basic necessities. But, it’s up to you how you want to use one of these places when and if you come across one. Of course, you can also plan your backcountry trip around where these huts are located.

What are the differences?

Depending on what kind of amenities you’re looking for, choose your backcountry hut carefully. While some huts have gas and running water with proper insulation in the walls, others are less luxurious. Yurts, on the other hand, are typically a bit more comfortable, with stoves and solid protection from storms.

backcountry huts

Hut Hopping

Sometimes, you’ll find a hut randomly placed in the middle of the wilderness. Other times, there’s more of a structure behind it. Linked shelters, which are a system of organized huts, yurts, or another type of lodge spread out over one hiking area. This means you can plan your hiking itinerary entirely around huts, which happen to be strategically placed for your convenience. Sometimes, you’ll need to reserve these huts before you go. Other times, you can just kind of show up, and hope it’s not already packed out.

Hut hopping is an incredible way to see the winter backcountry. Whether you go by snowshoes, skis, or somehow on foot (if the terrain isn’t too covered with snow), it’s really amazing.

Where to Hut Hop

So, you’re really into the idea of planning this whole hut hopping trip. Great! There’s really no better way to experience the backcountry this time of the year. But, if you’re still not sure where you can plan this kind of experience, then we’re here to help! You can also look online at United States Forest Service to see what’s available in your area.

Some popular hut hopping destinations/authorities include:

  • Teton Backcountry Guides, Idaho to Wyoming
  • San Juan Huts, Colorado
  • 10th Mountain Division Hut System, Colorado
  • The Appalachian Mountain Club (The AT), Virginia to Maine
  • Montana Backcountry Alliance, Montana
  • Mountaineering Club of Alaska, Alaska

Well-Known Huts

If you’d rather just get to the exciting part and head straight to a cool hut, that’s fine, too. These are well-known backcountry huts in North America:

  • Bell Lake Yurt, Montana
  • Coyote Yurt, Idaho
  • Owl Yurt, Oregon
  • Ridgeway Hut, Colorado
  • Fowler-Hilliard Hut, Colorado

Remember, some of these places get booked up long before the winter. However, if you just want to stay in a yurt or hut without worrying about the hiking part, then take a look at airbnb. Here, you might find inspiration for other ideas.

backcountry huts

What To Do When You Arrive

So, you know which backcountry huts you’re going to visit. But, what to do when you arrive? The first thing you should know, although it may be a given, is that these huts are NOT hotels. There will not be a maid coming to clean up after you and your gang, so make sure you leave the place immaculate when you leave.

Clean up any food that may attract animals, and make sure there is firewood for the next group to use. There’s nothing wrong with leaving little treats like canned goods, but make sure you store it and label it with the date you left it. Also, like you would at a campsite, be mindful of your bathroom business.

Of course, if there are other hikers there, mingle and make friends. The outdoors is all about making memories and new experiences, and you really never know who you’ll meet at a backcountry hut!

Ready to start on your hut hopping extravaganza? Let us know how it goes!

hanalarock I'm Hana- a freelance travel writer and teacher who currently lives in South Korea. I'm originally from New York, but have spent the last two years traveling and living abroad. My first time hiking in the US was when I traveled around the country as a teenager. Though, my first adult backpacking trip was a year ago, when I hiked from Thailand down to Singapore for a month. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in the future. Visit my site for more information.