Without a doubt, the Colorado Trail Friends Yurt offers superb long distance views of the San Juan Mountains.
The Colorado Trail Friends Yurt may be accessed by a couple routes with a few variations on the second route in winter.
The Camp Trail is about 6 miles and 2,500' elevation gain, with a steep ascent from the valley floor. This route is for strong experienced skiers or snowshoers only. Depending on the conditions, some avalanche potential may be present in the steeper sections requiring navigating around those areas.
The Sawmill approach passes the Jon Wilson Yurt and has some possible variations. All options begin at the Sawmill Trailhead and follow the groomed multi-use trail 3 miles and 1,710' elevation gain to Rambouillet Park.
The first option leaves the multi-use trail at Rambouillet Park and climbs directly up Antenna Peak, aka Hill 71. From there it follows the Continental Divide to the yurt in about 3 miles with a cumulative additional 1,000' elevation gain. Avalanche danger can usually be avoided by staying on the windward side of the ridge (to your right as you climb) and avoiding the leeward side. If breaking trail in deep snow, this route may not save time or energy.
The other two options continue to follow the groomed multi-use trail across Rambouillet Park (about 1.5 miles) to the trail intersection SE and below the summit of Hill 71. From that point our route follows the Colorado/Continental Divide Trail and is marked with aspen poles. The high route continues up onto the Continental Divide and follows the Divide to the Yurt. The Low Route follows the East Fork of Big Buck Creek from the point where we leave the multi-use trail. It follows that drainage until it meets the West Fork of Big Buck Creek and follows that up to the yurt. On a bluebird day the high route is spectacular. In high wind or white out conditions the low route would be the better choice but will probably require breaking trail. From the intersection to the yurt is about 2.5 miles with either route and both have about 600' of additional elevation gain.
The Colorado Trail Friends yurt is rated as an intermediate to advanced ski trip. This yurt sleeps up to 8 people. Sherpa services are available.
Summer users are frequently Continental Divide Trail or Colorado Trail hikers.
The Colorado Trail Friends Yurt was built with donations from The Colorado Trail Foundation and became functional 1995. The Hinsdale Haute Route began with this site in 1991.Book me
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