The North Pole Hut is ….

Layout: The North Pole 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, there is a stream and beaver pond nearby and five gallon jugs at the hut to hall it in. Hut users are responsible for treating water with Iodine, Pump/Filter, or UV Scanner.

Location: Located on the edge of a meadow, west of beaver ponds and bellow the North Face of Hayden Peak (12,987′). Great views of North Pole (12,208′), Hayden(12,987′), and S-9/Dark Horse (13,134′).

Route Miles Ascent Descent
Winter Trailhead to North Pole Hut
8.0 – 9.0
2,520’ – 1,800′ 500’
Last Dollar Hut  to North Pole Hut
500’ 1,520’
North Pole Hut  to Blue Lakes Hut 7.2 1,500’ 1,020

Dates and Prices: The North Pole 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.

The  information provide on this page is intended to give our guests ideas on potential activities at The North Pole  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, 5-7 hours, Intermediate/Advanced. Drive up to 3 miles up the West Dallas Road depending on road conditions (about 10 minutes form Ridgway).  From where you park it is 8 to 11 miles to the hut. This is one of the longest but most visually impressive approaches to all of our Ski Huts.

-Hayden Peak (12,987′) Ski, 4-7 hours, Advanced. Ski off the top of Hayden Peak (12,987′) to access multiple aspects decent possibilities, ranging from 25-35 degrees, throughout the winter.

-North Buttress of Hayden Peak (12,987′), 1.5-5 hours, Moderate/Intermediate. Logging and mining trails under the north buttress of Hayden Peak provides access into this high alpine basin.  This outing is also appropriate for snowshoes.

-Access the Blue Lakes Hut, 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 Last Dollar 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. The 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 makes this challenging section of trail well worth it.

What Colorado Hut to Hut by Brian Litz has to say about the skiing at the North Pole Hut

“Of the huts in the San Juan Hut System, the North Pole Hut is the most remote.  You will not see day skiers here.  The cabin rests in a small, aspen-lined clearing on the western edge of a large meadow, in the shadow of a wall of towering, rocky peaks. This location, with views of the peaks to the south, is one of the most breathtaking hut sites in all of the San Juans.

The hut makes for a rustic, warm, and cozy base camp for exploring the backcountry.  One approaches the hut from the northeast, via West Dallas Creek Road and the Dallas Trail along an 8-10 mile approach.  Much of the difficulty in approaching the North Pole Hut lies not in the elevation gain but, rather, in the distance and the complexity of route-finding during the final 3 miles of the approach trail.  This challenging stretch of trail comes at the end of what is already a long day.  If you dillydally at the trailhead and get a late start, you may end up with the added factor of darkness.  Reaching the hut from the Last Dollar Hut is no easier and presents its own set of challenges.  For the strong, experienced route finder, though, the powdery reward lying above the hut easily outweighs the high “grunt factor” on the approach.  Ski mountaineers can tackle the north ridge of Hayden Peak (under appropriate conditions), while powder hounds can explore the many ridges and slopes found below tree line.  Be advised of the large avalanche bowl tucked under the cliffs on the north wall of Hayden Peak’s north ridge.  These tempting slopes can be skied, but only by knowledgeable skiers.  This is very serious terrain.”

Approach, 3-5 hours, Intermediate.  Park at Box Factory Park about 12 miles from Ridgway on West Dallas Creek/ CR9. Hike west on the Dallas Trail for 3.5 miles to the North Pole Hut. This is an Intermediate hike with the north faces of the Sneffels Range directly above, all towering over 13,000 feet.

-Hayden Basin, 2-5 hours, Intermediate. Intermediate hiking into the basin below the north face of Dark Horse/S-9 and Hayden peaks is a great day’s hike.

-Access the Last Dollar Hut, 4-6 hours, Intermediate/Advanced. A beautiful 10-mile traverse through aspen and spruce with many small streams, parks, and meadows through the Sneffels Wilderness Area.

-Access the Blue Lakes Hut, 3.5-5 hours, Intermediate. A spectacular 7.5 mile walk with phenomenal parks, meadows, and aspen groves.

Wildlife Viewing
-Many sightings of the resident Big Horn sheep herd are possible in the environs of the connecting ridge lines of the access described by Han Shan(12,311′), Hayden(12,987′), and Dark Horse/S-9 (13,134′) peaks.

-Hayden Peak (12,987′), 5-7 hours, Advanced. Ascend the North Ridge of Hayden Peak to the summit of and views of the Island Ranges of Utah including the La Sals, The Abajos, and the Henrys (190 miles line of sight).

-The Hayden Traverse, Traverse from the summit of Hayden (12,987′) to the summit of Dark Horse/S-9  (13,134′) with descent down “The Ramp” into the headwaters basin of West Dallas Creek underneath the towering north face of Mears Peak (13,496′).