Huts for all seasons
About the san juan hut systems
The San Juan Hut System’s mission is to provide low-impact, human-powered, lightweight backcountry sports adventure for the independent health-conscious traveler at a practical price.
We have devoted over thirty years to creating and defining destination hut to hut skiing and mountain bike travel. In 1983, while on a climbing/skiing trip in Canada, Joe Ryan and his buddy were inspired to develop their own hut system. Joe had used the Canadian ski huts for more than a decade.
A comprehensive year-round hut system was needed in the US. That same year, Joe’s buddy was killed in an avalanche and their idea was put on hold.
A few years later, the idea was revived and put in motion. In 1987, San Juan Hut Systems was created on the north slope of the Sneffels Range in the Uncompahgre National Forest giving access to the remote Sneffells Wilderness and some of the best north aspect skiing in Colorado. Five huts were built connecting Telluride, Ridgway, and Ouray along the historic Dallas Trail system that traverses the range.
Additionally, all the huts have their own trailhead access. With these trails, you can ski hut-to-hut, or just reserve one hut to base from over several days as in the European and Canadian tradition.
Permit requirements at that time mandated that the huts be removed at the end of each ski season. No place to store the huts in the summer, and no source for income in the summer months kindled the birth of the first hut–to-hut mountain bike system. The first route, starting in Telluride, transitions through multiple climatic and geographic zones finishing in Moab, Utah. Fifteen years later saw the development of a second route traversing from Durango, Colorado to Moab, Utah.
Our winter hut system offers over 60 miles of cross country trails and access to phenomenal remote backcountry skiing. You are unlikely to cross another’s tracks. The San Juan Mountains present tremendous snow quality and first descent possibilities.
Our two 215 mile mountain bike routes provide a premium minimalist experience for the do it yourself adventurer. With the only destination hut-to-hut based system in the US, we take the weight out of bike touring by offering fully stocked huts and minimal route finding challenges.
Our most recent development is a system of hiking huts which provide hikers, hunters, and runners incredible access to remote terrain with light loads.
Click on one of the links above to begin learning more about your winter ski or summer bike adventure, and to the reservation/calendar page to begin booking the trip of your lifetime.
- Mountain Bike Hut Trips
- Backcountry Hiking Huts
- Backcountry Ski Huts
- Gravel Grinder Tour of the Canyons
- About Us
- News & Events
- Travel Resources
- Getting Here
Who's on the other end of the line?
Although you might find us on the other end of the line of a phone or computer, we live to be outside. Some of our collective adventures include: Multi thousand mile bike trips throughout US, Canada, Mexico, and Ireland; biking our own routes; innumerable miles of singletrack; ski patrolling at Telluride, Alta, Crystal Mountain, and the Cimarron Mountain Club; climbing trips throughout the US to Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Argentina; West Buttress, Rib, and Cassin Routes on Denali; the Navy Seals; horse pack trips through Argentina; running in the Hardrock 100 ultramarathon, slalom kayak races, Rando races, and the Grand Traverse; remote whitewater kayak trips across the globe; river ranger; and much more.
These hut systems are the manifestation of Joe’s dreams, determination, and hours and hours of physical toil. Spending many hours, days, and years sniffing out routes, ‘humping loads’ of lumber, propane, etc into the mountains, and countless hours driving back roads, Joe intimately knows these routes and is a wealth of knowledge.
Joe’s daughter, Kelly, grew up around and in the huts. After college she followed her father’s footsteps and spent years guiding and ski patrolling in WA, AK, CA, CO, and abroad. In 2012, after roaming the best spots on the globe for recreation, she realized you just can’t beat the San Juans and came home to help her dad run the family business.
John grew up in Southwest CO loving anything outdoors. After a 10 year hiatus out of state exploring the country, he found that everything he wanted was located in the place he grew up. "This area is just incredible!"
After spending the past 9 years living all over Colorado, Amy discovered the magic of the San Juans and is happy to call them home. When not in the office or the field, you'll find her trail running, skiing, pedaling, or in the gym.