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Lodging: Colorado > Colorado Backcountry Huts

Quick Facts

San Juan Hut System

Advanced Terrain: Mt. Sneffels Range
Capacity: 8 individuals People
Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced depending on site
Elevation: varies between 9,400 and 11,000
Number of Sites: 5 shelters
Reservation Contact: 970.728.6935 San Juan Hut System
Reservation Status: Required
Usage: Moderate
Vehicle Accessibility: varies The huts are accessible only by cross-country skiis or snowshoes during winter months.

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

San Juan Hut System
Copyright: Brian Litz - San Juan Hut System
San Juan Hut System
The San Juan Hut System is owned and operated by Joe Ryan and Mike Turrin out of Telluride, Colorado. There are five huts in the system that lie on the northern slope of the Mt. Sneffels Range of the San Juan Mountains. Trails and forest service roads connect the five cabins that lead through the backcountry between Ouray and Telluride, Colorado.

The cabins are of wood construction and accommodate up to eight people. (If your group is smaller that eight individuals expect the hut to be filled by other groups.) Amenities include padded bunks, a wood stove, propane cooking stove, lamp, kitchen and cooking utensils, fire wood and an outhouse. Water is available through melting snow.

The terrain surrounding the winter San Juan Hut System is rugged and reaches heights of 14,000 feet. The route is designed for intermediate skiers, but beginners and experts will find appropriate terrain within the system. The huts range in elevation from 9,300 - 11,000 feet with novice level approaches and inter-hut travel at the intermediate level.

Directions from Ridgway: Access to the eastern huts in the San Juan winter system can be gain from Colorado Road 5.

Directions from Highway 62: Access to the North Pole Hut, Blue Lakes Hut and Ridgway Hut can be gained via Highway 62. To the North Pole Hut turn southward on to Colorado Road 9, which is West Dallas Creek Road, to reach the winter trailhead. Colorado Road 7, which is east of road 9, will provide access to the Blue Lakes and Ridgway Huts.

Directions from Highway 145: Approximately eight miles northwest of Telluride on Highway 145 turn northward on to Forest Road 639. Follow this to Forest Road 638 and turn westward. Follow this to the winter trailhead for the Last Dollar Hut.

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Cross-country Skiing San Juan Hut System (winter)
ICON Lodging San Juan Backcountry Skiing Hut System
ICON Backcountry Skiing San Juan Hut System (winter)
ICON Viewing Scenery San Juan Hut System (winter)

Related Activities
Alfred A. Braun Hut System - The Alfred A. Braun system of huts was the first to be established in Colorado shortly after World War II. These sites are recommended for intermediate and advanced backcountry skiers only.

Friends Hut, Elkton Cabins, Forrest Queen Cabin - Five backcountry cabins are accessible from the Crested Butte area. The backcountry in this region is particularly prone to avalanches, due to the steepness of the terrain.

Hinsdale Haute Route - This yurt system lies south of Lake City in the Gunnison and Rio Grande National Forests. It provides opportunities for beginner, intermediate and advanced backcountry skiers.

Never Summer Yurts - This hut system is open through all seasons for biking, backpacking, snowshoeing and skiing. It lies within Colorado State Forest State Park.

San Juan Hut System - This route lead 206 miles from Telluride, Colorado, to Moab, Utah, through diverse and changing terrain.

Summit Hut System - This hut association maintains four backcountry cabins (and growing) in Summit County, Colorado. Reservations can be made through the Tenth Mountain Division Hut Association in Aspen.

Tenth Mountain Division Hut System - This hut system is the most popular in the state and consists of 20 backcountry cabins. The terrain surrounding these shelters is some of the highest in the state.


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