Last Dollar Ski Hut
Layout: The Last Dollar Hut accommodates eight people via padded bunk style-beds. The hut includes a propane stove, propane lamp, wood stove, firewood, cookware, and utensils.
Water: In the winter, water is obtained by melting snow. In the summer, water is provided in five gallon jugs for guests arriving by self-powered means (biking, hiking, etc). If guests are parking at Last Dollar Pass, we appreciate it if they carry their own water in.
Location: The Last Dollar Hut (10,980′) sits 300 feet and 1/4 mile above Last Dollar Pass. There are direct views across the San Miguel river canyon and of the north faces of the Wilson Peaks. This hut is the furthest west, and closest to Telluride, of our Ski/Destination Huts and the first bike hut on the Northern Route. It is frequently used in conjunction with the North Pole Hut for multi-day adventures.
Route Miles Ascent Descent Telluride Trailhead to Last Dollar Hut 2.7 1,290' 60' Last Dollar Hut to North Pole Hut 8.6 2,550' 1,550'
Dates and Prices
The Last Dollar Hut is available for winter use from November 25th through June 1st, and for summer use from May 1st through November 30th. Because Last Dollar Hut is used on our Telluride to Moab Bike Route, it may not be available during summer months. It costs $30/person/night (maximum of 8 people). View winter availability and summer availability. Please call us regarding specific dates and to make a reservation.
The information provided on this page is intended to give our guests ideas on potential activities at The Last Dollar Hut, but the possibilities are endless. We provide more detailed route descriptions only for the trails accessing the hut and between huts upon booking. Please note, the times given here are estimates of the total time needed for the outing.
Approach, 2-4 hours, Moderate/Intermediate. A relatively easy three mile ski up a south facing road with views of the Wilsons, Lizard Head, and the San Miguel River Basin. Keep your eyes out for carvings in the aspen trees along the road from the late 1800′s and early 1900′s.
A total decent of 5,000 feet is often done from the Last Dollar Hut due to the layout of the relatively ‘safe’ avi-chutes nearby. Individual ski run lengths vary from 500-2,000 feet of vertical drop. The times listed below are roundtrip from the hut, but most skiers choose to ski multiple chutes. Beware, ALL THESE SHOOTS CAN AND DO SLIDE!
- Chute One, 3-4 hours, Advanced
- This is the most fragile and inherently dangerous of the Last Dollar Chutes as it is the closest to the windblown ridge with a large catchment basin overhead. When conditions are ‘safe,’ this chute provides great skiing close to the hut and can be easily tacked onto the end of the day by the most tenacious members of the group.
- Chute Two, 4-6 hours, Advanced
- This chute can be skied from the summit of Han Shan (12,311′) for a phenomenal 2,200 feet of vertical drop.
- Chute Three, 3-5 hours, Advanced
- The best portion of this chute is often done after Chute Two for an additional 600 feet of vertical drop.
- Chute Four, 3-5 hours, Advanced
- Our personal favorite of the Last Dollar chutes as it generally has the best snow and is one of the longest runs at almost 1,800 feet in beautiful wild terrain. Beware, this chute has some committing sections.
- Last Dollar Pass, South Side, .5-2 hours, Moderate-Intermediate
- Below the hut on the south side of the pass can be excellent Intermediate terrain depending on snow conditions.
- Last Dollar Pass, North Side, 1-3 hours, Moderate
- Low-angle, treed skiing can be found in old logging cuts bellow the hut.
- Access the North Pole 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. This 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 make this challenging section of trail well worth it.
What Colorado Hut to Hut, by Brian Litz has to say about the skiing at the Last Dallar Hut:
“The Last Dollar Hut is one of the first two huts built in the San Juan Hut System. The hut has one of the most spectacular panoramic vistas in the state…the view overlooking the Silverton West Group of the San Juans, the Wilson Peaks, and the La Sal Mountains in Utah.
The closest hut to Telluride, the Last Dollar Hut is a fine destination for an overnight or long weekend trip. Consequently, this is one of the most popular of the San Juan Hut System huts and more than one group often books it. Less experienced skiers can simply take in the beautiful surroundings or they can ski the more limited moderate terrain.
Experienced backcountry skiers will find an abundance of day skiing beyond the hut to the east…the far east. Skiers make the approximately one-hour climb along the ridge to above tree line and then carefully ski the avalanche chutes and slopes that plunge off the broad north face of the ridge. Many of these avalanche runs do not appear on the USGS topo maps, but they are there, they are obvious, and, under the wrong conditions, they are dangerous. Under safe conditions these 1,000-2,000 foot runs provide superb skiing for experienced, advanced skiers. Separating these gullies and chutes are thick woods with generally tight, steep, technical tree skiing.
For an even better view of southwestern Colorado, an ascent to the ridge at tree line to the east makes a nice day trip. In addition, the hut has plenty of “front yard” for just sunning and enjoying the view.”
Approach, 3-5 hours, Moderate/Intermediate
Either bike from Telluride traveling 13 miles up the single lane dirt road or park at the Last Dollar Pass and hike the 1/4 mile up the steep hill to the hut. This is the first hut on the Northern bike route from Telluride to Moab and this use is the priority of the Last Dollar Hut during the summer.
Access the North Pole Hut, 4-6 hours, Intermediate/Advanced
A beautiful 10 mile traverse on the Dallas Trail through aspen and spruce with many small streams, parks, and meadows through the Sneffles Wilderness Area.
Han Shan (12,311’), 2.5-4 hours, Intermediate
Scramble to the summit of mount Han Shan for relatively easily attained spectacular views.
Whipple Mountain (11,922′), 4-5 hours, Intermediate
Hike to the summit of Whipple Mountain for great views of Lizard Head, the San Miguel Peaks above Telluride, the Wilsons, and the Island Ranges of Utah….need we say more?
Wild-Ass-Airy-Traverse, 6-10 hours, Advanced
A ridge-line traverse to Hayden Peak (12,987′), descending to North Pole Hut. Climb upwards and eastwards on the ridge that the Last Dollar Hut sits on to Han Shan (12,311′). From the summit of Han Shan, an airy traverse lies before you on the very defined ridge that traverses directly north to the summit of Hayden Peak. This traverse should NOT be attempted on lightning days. Your route across this spiny ridge will hold more or less directly to the crest of the ridge, depending upon your comfort with this exposed traverse. It is possible and sometimes preferable to deviate to the east side of the ridge to avoid the massive exposure on the west side of the ridge. From the summit of Hayden, descend into the deep basin that lies to the east-northeast of the summit. Once in the bottom of this basin, traverse north descending to the forest. Shortly after entering the forest, look for very steep game trails down through the trees to join up with an old mining and logging road that will continue descending to the north to join up with the Dallas trail. Once at the junction with the Dallas Trail, traverse westward on the Dallas Trail to locate the hut on the north end of a meadow slightly northwest of the large beaver ponds.
The Last Dollar biking terrain is primarily on dirt/jeep roads with splendid mesa views. This terrain is appropriate for bikers with Intermediate or above fitness levels and Moderate or above technical skills.
Northern Bike Route, 3-5 hours, Moderate/Intermediate
This is the first hut on the Northern bike route from Telluride to Moab and this use is the priority of the Last Dollar Hut during the summer.
Telluride to Placeville, 2 Days, Moderate/Intermediate
The Last Dollar Hut can be used to do the two day, one night, trip from Telluride to Last Dollar Hut, and then Last Dollar Hut to Placerville for stunning mesa views.