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.
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"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.

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.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 18.9

Waypoints

UNCLE BUD'S HUT

Location: 39.301365, -106.405448

TURQUOISE LAKE THD

Location: 39.264367, -106.339537

This trailhead is the primary winter access for skiers heading to the hut.

WAYPOINT0047

Location: 39.284758, -106.446754

Head east into the woods and cross a creek to a wilderness permit station. Then follow markers for the CDT and Colorado Trail, plus blue winter trail markers high on the trees. You'll climb slowly then steeply for the first two miles. To reach this trailhead, head west from CO 24 or Leadville to CR9 and the "Turquoise Lake Thd" waypoint, then follow Turqoise Lake Rd. to the opposite (west) end of the lake.

WAYPOINT0045

Location: 39.299472, -106.417688

STRAIGHT AT 3WAY

WAYPOINT0048

Location: 39.300829, -106.407894

Cross creek and head straight up the hill to the hut.

WAYPOINT0050

Location: 39.316075, -106.406554

Join the CT/CDT for this section out and back to the lunch spot.

LUNCH

Location: 39.322566, -106.413344

Pretty picnic spot just off the trail overlooking a lake and meadow, with wraparound views of Galena Peak and other mountains.

WAYPOINT0052

Location: 39.3146, -106.40641

Leave the trail to begin cross-country climb up the ridge for big view.

WAYPOINT0053

Location: 39.311538, -106.407436

270 VIEW ON TOP OF RIDGE OVERLOOKING THE HUT -- DEFINITELY WORTH THE CLIMB!

WAYPOINT0054

Location: 39.304093, -106.406806

OLD ROAD

View from Uncle Bud's front porch

Location: 39.301295, -106.405163

14,421-foot Mt. Massive dominates the skyline to the south of the hut. This is one of the best hut views we've enjoyed in the 10th Mountain Division network.

Inside out

Location: 39.301362, -106.405077

The view of Mt. Massive from the dining area inside the hut.

Siesta

Location: 39.32248, -106.412973

Jon and Hadley snooze after a fine repast of salami, salmon, and smoked cheese.

Steep part

Location: 39.293856, -106.438293

The tough grade is mitigated by spectacular views.

Ridgetop view

Location: 39.311457, -106.407566

Looking south and east past Turquoise Lake

Looking east

Location: 39.311191, -106.407394

The birthday boy poses, plus Leadville in the background

CDT sign

Location: 39.290867, -106.442327