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California Trails

America’s Best Huts: Ostrander Ski Hut

Yosemite National Park, California

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The numbers don’t lie. Of Yosemite’s more than 5 million visitors in 2016, only 1,500—.03 percent—visited Ostrander. Join the exclusive club by spending a night in this remote 1940s stone hut, which sits in a backcountry cirque beside its namesake lake. It’s only open to the public in winter, but intrepid skiers and snowshoers who tackle the approach
can expect empty glades, big views, and full immersion in High Sierra solitude.

Get there on the Bridalveil Creek, Merced Crest, or Horizon Ridge Trails, all of which wend some 9 or 10 miles from Badger Pass to the two-story hut. (We recommend the latter for its views of Half Dome and the Clark Range.) At Ostrander, claim one of 25 bunks on the bottom floor (a hutmaster lives upstairs) and whip up a meal in the open kitchen before exploring the front yard. Tour up to 9,496-foot Horse Ridge to pick an untouched line down the bowl back to the hut. Ski hounds can pack in half a dozen laps in a day.

Ostrander Ski hut
Photo by Josh Miller/Aurora Photos

Trailhead Badger Pass Season Mid-December through March Amenities Bunks with mattresses; wood-burning stove Reservation Starting at $50/night; enter the lottery in mid-November Contact

How to Pack for Backcountry Skiing

Get to know the winter safety gear you need in your pack.

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