Europe’s always worn the crown when it’s come to prized hut-to-hut treks thanks to the likes of Mont Blanc, the Haute Route and Alta Via 1 in the Dolomites of Italy.
But here in the Northwest, we’ve got some pretty impressive hut-to-hut adventures of our own — adventures that find you skiing, hiking or even biking through pristine forests and past panoramic vistas on your way to rustic huts that will keep you warm, cozy and contented until you set off for the next one in the morning.
Here are three of the best hut-to-hut adventures in Washington and Oregon.
Washington’s Methow Valley is renowned for its wintertime activities and beauty: cross-country and skate skiing, fat biking, snow shoeing and more. It’s also home to a beauty of a hut-to-hut experience known as the Rendezvous Huts. Linked by groomed ski trails about five miles apart, these five rustic cabins offer the perfect evening stopovers after a day in the snow. They’re furnished, reservable and also provide access to more than 120 miles of groomed Nordic ski trails. (Bonus: You can rent the huts for spring and summer hiking or backpacking adventures, too.)
If you’re lucky, you’ll not only be able to reserve the popular Mount Tahoma Trails Association huts near Mt. Rainier for a winter escape, but you’ll also get some gargantuan views of the surrounding Cascade peaks draped in snow while you’re there. There are four huts, each of which are between 3 and 5.5 miles from their respective Sno-Park trailheads. The MTTA also grooms about 20 miles of a 50-mile trail system, giving you plenty of territory to explore. The furnished huts are open to the public from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. but only those with reservations can spend the night. They are reservable year-round.
A quick jaunt south of the Washington border will take you to the scenic slopes of Oregon’s Mt. Hood and the Cascade Huts on its southeastern flanks. The three huts, all lightly furnished and outfitted, can be accessed from the Barlow Pass Sno-Park. There is no grooming, but the huts are linked by trails and snowy backroads that wind through towering forests with jaw-dropping vistas of Hood. The owners also provide GPS tracks and waypoints to help guide your routes, which can span from 2 to 12 miles depending on your ambition for the day. In summer, the huts can be linked by hiking or mountain biking.
Image used with permission from James Harnois