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Uncle Bud’s Hut

“Camp” in style on this out-and-back to a 10th Mountain Division hut just north of Leadville, CO. A full kitchen, wood-stove heat, and sprawling views of 14,421-foot Mt. Massive are just a few of the amenities.

Trip Tools

This route follows the Continental Divide Trail/Colorado Trail four miles from a trailhead at the west end of Turquoise Lake at around 10,000 feet to Uncle Bud’s Hut at about 11,500 feet.¬† The path winds through pretty aspen forest for the first mile, climbing gradually as it zigzags up a ridge on the north side of the lake. The second mile takes a sharp turn for the steep, switchbacking sharply up open hillside and open spruce forest. After a brief level section, the last two miles bring a series of ups and downs (mostly ups) with a number of lovely meadows, ultimately passing Bear Lake (downhill and to the right of the trail)¬†before reaching FS 107, a dirt Forest Service road just below the hut. (You can also reach the hut in less than 3 miles by hiking or driving your 4WD up FS 104 and FS 107 from the paved lakeshore road. These roads are popular for winter access, as they are level with reasonable grades for skinning.)

The hut doesn’t appear to have a hiking trail that leads directly to it from this junction. You can either head directly uphill following the waypoint coordinates, or turn right and find the dirt road that leads to a small parking area behind the hut.

Fortunately, the road is not visible from the hut’s front windows, which instead look out on Turquoise Lake and the truly massive massif that is Mt. Massive. This endless ridgeline was covered with fall’s first snow when we visited in late September.

Included in this trip report is a mellow bushwhacking dayhike that we took from the hut. It generally parallels or follows the Colorado Trail, heading north towards another hut. We returned by climbing the ridge above the hut for splendid 270-degree views of the ranges that surround Leadville, the highest town in North America.

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