North Pole Backcountry Ski Hut
The North Pole Hut accommodates eight people via padded bunk style beds. The hut includes a propane stove, propane lamp, wood stove, firewood, cookware, and utensils.
In the winter water is obtained by melting snow.
LocationLocated on the edge of a meadow, west of beaver ponds and below the North Face of Hayden Peak (12,987′). Great views of North Pole (12,208′), Hayden (12,987′), and S-9/Dark Horse (13,134′).
Route Miles Ascent Descent Winter Trailhead to North Pole Hut 10 2,700' 380' Last Dollar Hut to North Pole Hut 8.6 2,550' 1,550' North Pole Hut to Blue Lakes Hut 7.3 1,170' 1,700'
Dates and Prices
The North Pole hut is available for winter use from November 25th through June 1st. It costs $30/person/night (maximum of 8 people). View winter availability calendar.
Approach, 5-7 hours, Intermediate/Advanced. Drive up 2 to 3 miles up the West Dallas Road depending on road conditions (about 10 minutes form Ridgway). From where you park it is 8 to 11 miles to the hut. This is one of the longest but most visually impressive approaches to all of our Ski Huts.
Hayden Peak (12,987′) Ski, 4-7 hours, Advanced
Ski off the top of Hayden Peak (12,987′) to access multiple aspects decent possibilities, ranging from 25-35 degrees, throughout the winter.
North Buttress of Hayden Peak (12,987′), 1.5-5 hours, Moderate/Intermediate
Logging and mining trails under the north buttress of Hayden Peak provided access into this high alpine basin. This outing is also appropriate for snowshoes.
Access the Blue Lakes Hut, 4.5-7 hours, Intermediate
Approximately 7.5 miles of classic cross country trails with spectacular views of the north slopes of the Sneffels Range.
Access the Last Dollar Hut, 7-12 hours, Intermediate/Advanced
The most demanding section of trail on our Telluride to Ouray route exists on the Alder Creek Trail between Last Dollar and North Pole Huts. The difficulty is due to a 10-mile ski, challenging route finding, 8 points of significant avalanche danger, 2 of which must be dealt with great care and concern. A beautiful 10-mile traverse through aspen and spruce with many small streams, parks, and meadows through the Sneffels Wilderness area makes this challenging section of trail well worth it.
What Colorado Hut to Hut by Brian Litz has to say about the skiing at the North Pole Hut
“Of the huts in the San Juan Hut System, the North Pole Hut is the most remote. You will not see day skiers here. The cabin rests in a small, aspen-lined clearing on the western edge of a large meadow, in the shadow of a wall of towering, rocky peaks. This location, with views of the peaks to the south, is one of the most breathtaking hut sites in all of the San Juans.
The hut makes for a rustic, warm, and cozy base camp for exploring the backcountry. One approaches the hut from the northeast, via West Dallas Creek Road and the Dallas Trail along an 8-10 mile approach. Much of the difficulty in approaching the North Pole Hut lies not in the elevation gain but, rather, in the distance and the complexity of route-finding during the final 3 miles of the approach trail. This challenging stretch of trail comes at the end of what is already a long day. If you dillydally at the trailhead and get a late start, you may end up with the added factor of darkness. Reaching the hut from the Last Dollar Hut is no easier and presents its own set of challenges. For the strong, experienced route finder, though, the powdery reward lying above the hut easily outweighs the high “grunt factor” on the approach. Ski mountaineers can tackle the north ridge of Hayden Peak (under appropriate conditions), while powder hounds can explore the many ridges and slopes found below tree line. Be advised of the large avalanche bowl tucked under the cliffs on the north wall of Hayden Peak’s north ridge. These tempting slopes can be skied, but only by knowledgeable skiers. This is very serious terrain.”