Note: The pandemic has changed a lot of things about travel, and booking huts is one of them. Double-check with huts for current rules and regulations before you commit; for example, some huts now require groups to book the entire building rather than reserving it bunk-by-bunk.
Stargaze Yurt, Idaho
‘Photo by Hailey Hirst’
Poke your head out the front door of this hut for a view of the Payette River Valley set in front of the Sawtooths—or do as its name implies and wait for evening to spot constellations. To up the ante, head .3 mile west to Stargaze Point, situated another hundred feet above the yurt, where the view goes all the way around.
To get to the small shelter (sleeps six), follow the Stargaze Trail roughly 1.2 miles from the Beaver Creek Summit Park N’ Ski on ID 21. Scan for a yellow blaze and then head the final .2 mile through the pines to the yurt. Inside, find a wood-burning stove, a gas stove, and solar-powered LED lights. Since Stargaze Hut’s large deck faces east, plan an early wake-up for the sunrise over the 10,000-foot Sawtooths. After, explore the area’s 50-mile trail system; head down to West Fork Beaver Creek for an easy day trip to summer wildflowers. In winter, the avy-savvy can carve tracks into the north-facing slopes off 6,682-foot Stargaze Point.
Trailhead Beaver Creek Summit Park N’ Ski Season Year-round (snowshoe or ski in winter) Red tape The yurt is closed for repairs until the first snow of 2017; check availability with Idaho Parks & Rec. Amenities Bunks with mattresses; futons; wood-burning stove; two-burner stove (BYO propane); cookware Reservation Starting at $55/person; reserve online Contact
Mint Hut, Alaska
‘Photo by Seth K. Hughes’
Basecamp the right way: at this 1971 cabin on the edge of a bowl overlooking Alaska’s Talkeetnas. After an 8-mile approach over moss-carpeted meadows, past silver ribbons of snowmelt, and under the cabin’s namesake Mint Spires, you’re in position for any number of adventures. Link up with the Bomber Hut for a 16-miler or explore the Mint Glacier, just .5 mile from your doorstep. Or, you know, just hang at Mint; there’s a two-burner stove (BYO white gas), a composting toilet (named “Darth Vader”), and room for eight.