The Blue Lakes Hut

Layout: The Blue Lakes 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, guests bring their own water or treat water from the nearby stream.  Upon request, guests can pick up five gallon jugs at our office in Ridgway before their stay.

Location: The Blue Lakes Hut (9,380′) sits 1/4 mile up hill and west of  summer trailhead for Blue Lakes and Mount Sneffels. The hut sits at the base of an old logging cut and the summit of Mount Sneffels towers above. It is frequently used in conjunction with the North Pole and Ridgway huts for multi-day adventures.

Route Miles Ascent Descent
Winter Trailhead to Blue Lakes Hut
5.2
1,180’ 0’
North Pole Hut to Blue Lakes Hut
7.2
1,500’ 1,020’
Blue Lakes Hut to Ridgway Hut 5.0 2,040’ 1,200

Dates and Prices: The Blue Lakes hut is available for winter use from November 25th through June 1st, and for summer use from May 1st through November 30th.  It costs $30/person/night (maximum of 8 people).  View winter availability and summer availability.  Please call us to make a reservation.

Activities
The  information provide on this page is intended to give our guests ideas on potential activities at The Blue Lakes  Hut, but the possibilities are endless. We provide more detailed route descriptions only for the trails accessing the hut and and between huts upon booking. Please note, the times given here are estimates for the total time needed for the outing.

Winter
Approach, 3-4 hours, Moderate.  Park about 5 miles up CR 7 depending on road conditions. The ski-in is a gentle 5.5 mile tour up a summer dirt road.

Skiing
The Blue Lakes Hut has great Nordic trails leading off in 3 directions. It is the best hut in the system for Nordic trail skiing and beginner skiers and families. There is also intermediate and advanced skiing above the hut in the alpine zone above tree line.

-Family Fun, This hut is the best hut for families as it is appropriate for young skiers and pulling kids in toboggans. Once at the hut, there is great opportunity for kids to slide around on skis or sleds.

-Access The North PoleHut, 4.5-7 hours, Intermediate. Approximately 7.5 miles of classic Nordic Trail with spectacular views of the north slopes of the Sneffels Range.

-Access the Ridgway Hut, 5-7 hours, Intermediate. A 5.5mile ski with an overall elevation gain of about 2,040 feet leads you to the top of Wilson Creek Summit/Pass. A treed 1.5 mile decent with excellent snow quality brings you to Ridgway Hut.

-Access the North Pole Hut, 4.5-7 hours, Intermediate.  A classic Nordic Trail of 7 miles with spectacular views of the north slopes of the Sneffels Range.

-Nordic Trails, any length of time is worthwhile, Moderate. The Blue Lakes Hut has great Nordic trails leading off in three directions.

-The ‘Little Matterhorn’ (12,000′), 4-6 hours, Intermediate-Advanced. Tremendous views from the summit and options to ski all three sides.

Sled Dogs
The gentle grade and wide trail make this a great sled dog route.

Ski Mountaineering
-DogLeg Chute from the Summit of Sneffels (14,150′), 7-10 hours, Expert.  Start from the Camp Bird Mine near Ouray, climb the south side of Sneffels, ski down the renowned  Dog Leg Couloir  and finish at the Blue Lakes Hut to make your day a little shorter.

What Colorado Hut to Hut, by Brian Litz has to say about Skiing Ridgway Hut:

“Blue Lakes Hut lies below Mount Sneffels on a small bench above East Dallas Creek.  One of the simplest of the San Juan huts to reach, Blue Lakes Hut is a good hut for beginners, intermediate and advance skiers.  Nice skiing is available close to the hut; the surrounding hillsides are great for telemarking; and Cocan Flats and the East Fork of Dallas Creek make fine touring areas.
Skiing from Blue Lakes Hut to the North Pole Hut or the Ridgway Hut requires much more experience and stamina than is required to reach this hut from the trail head.  The large, convoluted slopes and log cuts to the southwest of the hut are loaded with all levels and types of skiing.  Many of these runs push up to near tree line.  Feel free to explore.”

Summer
Approach,  drive 9.5 miles on CR7 to the hut.

Hiking
Blue Lakes Hut has something for everyone, from young kids to the most avid mountain adventurers.

-Blue Lakes, 3-4 hours, Moderate/Intermediate. 3.5 Miles and 1,600 feet of vertical elevation gain.

-Blaine Basin Alpine Cirque, 4-6 hours, Moderate. An enjoyable day hike up the Wilson Creek/Blaine Basin Trail to the Alpine Cirque of Blaine Basin under the 2,000’ face of Mt. Sneffels.

-For the ‘Wee-Ones, .5-2 hours, Moderate. Gentle hikes through meadows and aspen groves on old trails and mining roads to the west of the hut

-Water Play Area, 1-3 hours, Moderate. One mile up the Blue Lakes Trail a tributary stream that flows into the East Dallas Creek provides a great place for Kids to play in the water on a hot summer afternoon with big views of the rocky peaks surrounding.

-Blaine Basin Alpine Cirque, 4-5 hours, Moderate. An enjoyable day hike up the Wilson Creek/Blaine Basin Trail to the Alpine Cirque of Blain Basin under the 2,000’ face of Mt. Sneffels.

Mountaineering Mt. Sneffels (14,150′), Advanced/Expert. A circumnavigation of Mt. Sneffels, with or without a summit are done from Blue Lakes Hut. A classic big day in the mountains entails hiking the Blue Lakes Trail past all three of the lakes to the top of Blue Lakes Pass (13,100′). From the pass there are two choices to climb mount Sneffles. The Big Day Route would be to ascend the southwest ridge directly from the pass to the summit. This is easy 3rd class climbing. NOT a route for a day with lightning potential. The less exposed route to the summit descends the east side of Blue Lakes Pass into the flower laden basin above the town of Ouray. Ascent of the peak is achieved from the east up the Lavender Couloir. Descent from both of these routes travels down the Lavender Couloir, dropping into upper Blaine Basin, and takes climbers into the north side environs of Mt. Sneffels  and into the alpine cirque of Blaine Basin. Return to Blue Lakes Hut via the Wilson Creek Trail.

-North Face of Mt. Sneffels (14,150′), 6-11 hours, Expert. There are several rock/alpine variations up the north face. All require rock climbing gear and/or crampons and ice-tools, and alpine knowledge.

Peak Bagging
There is great opportunity for peak bagging of seldom visited peaks over Blue Lakes in the high remote basins above the hut such as Wolcott (13,041′), Mears(13,496′), Reconnoitter (12,980), Gilpin(13,694′), and Dallas Peak(13,809′).

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