Two weekends ago, we made the trek to Southwest Colorado for a Fall Hut trip. We love Southwest Colorado SO much, I’d wanted to do some more fall leaf peeping, and I’d found this hut system earlier this summer that I wanted to try out. We booked the Blue Lakes Hut with 4 of our friends – the hut sleeps 8, but apparently we don’t have a lot of friends.
We were the last to arrive just after Midnight on Friday. We unpacked our car – you can drive up in the “summer” season – and packed into the cute but tiny space. After a long (6 hour) car ride, the people and the dogs needed some active time before falling asleep. Did I mention – we had 4 dogs in the hut! We were watching Layla’s friend Maya (the black poodle), and then our friends had each brought their dogs. We caught a few short hours of sleep before Layla and Maya were ready to go. I woke up at 6 to let them outside and was greeted by this gorgeous view, I’m pretty sure of Mt. Sneffels.
We like to get fancy with our food on hut/yurt trips, especially of the drive up variety. The hut had both a propane stove and wood stove that we could use for cooking. We started our Saturday off with some delicious breakfast burritos (sausage, potatoes, eggs, salsa… yum) as we reviewed the map for a hike for the day. We finally headed out for a hike around noon.
It was a perfect blue sky day with no concerns about weather, so we headed up to Blue Lake, about 3.5 miles each way. Truthfully I had no idea how long it was, this was just eyeballing the map, but thought it made sense to trek to the hut’s namesake. The trailhead was packed – where did all of these people come from? The hike was fairly steep for the first mile or so, which I had predicted thanks to my new map-reading skills. It was mostly forested, but every couple hundred feet you’d get a peak through the trees of the landscape below – the aspens turning, with views extending all the way to the desert.
Blue Lake, which ended up being about 4 miles in, was the perfect spot to stop for a mid-hike brew while we let the dogs swim. We hung out for a bit, took some photos, and started the hike down so we could get some pre-dinner snacking and games in!
By the time we got back to the hut, it was starting to cool off. We started up the wood stove and headed outside to do some ax throwing before the sun set. Andrew and I cooked up steaks and risotto for dinner, which in my opinion is the best part about a hut/yurt trip. Who doesn’t want to end a nice long day in the outdoors with a steak? The pups were exhausted, and after eating her dinner while laying down (seriously, it was pretty cute), Layla and the others were passed out by 6pm. We stayed up a bit later hanging out and playing games, but were asleep by 10 – everyone was recovering from the previous night.
The dogs (mainly Layla and Maya) were of course ready to go around 7am. While everyone else was sleeping, I took them out for a trail run so I could explore more trails in the area. I didn’t take my phone or camera so I have no photos, but I promise it was beautiful and well worth it. I took the Dallas trail, which would be a fairly easy hike with minimal elevation gain. After snaking through the woods a bit, you come into an open meadow, and when you turn around there are great views of Mt. Sneffels. At one point, there was an opening surrounded by evergreen trees with a row of bright yellow Aspens peaking above them.
We had a great bacon-filled breakfast before packing up and making the trek back to Denver mid-morning. Pro tip: we always take 285 to/from Denver when possible to avoid the I-70 traffic!
In summary – we would absolutely go back to this hut, or another one in the hut system! They are built so you can string them all together into a 5-day trip along the Mt. Sneffels Traverse, and it was the perfect place to spend a fall weekend as well! Next time, we would bring out own camping chairs and a table – the hut was pretty tiny and lacked both of these (it was stocked with crazy creek chairs), which made hanging out in the hut pretty hilarious, especially with our herd of dogs.