When was the last time you slept in a hostel? Right—probably just after college when you didn’t mind sharing a bunk with a drifter who hadn’t showered in two weeks. But wouldn’t it be nice to pay those prices again on your next adventure, especially considering the inflated rates of mountain lodging? Good news: Some Colorado mountain towns offer a different breed of hostel, with clean rooms and well-kempt patrons. For much less than the cost of a night’s stay at a Holiday Inn in the ’burbs, you can crash at one of these grown-up hostel-style inns and lodges deep in the Rockies.
St. Moritz Lodge
What if we said you could stay at a Swiss chalet-style lodge minutes from downtown Aspen for $60 a night? Welcome to St. Moritz Lodge, where that price will get you a single bed in a two-person room, a bowl of cereal or a bagel in the morning, access to a heated pool and Jacuzzi, free Wi-Fi, and a view of Aspen Mountain. Sure, it’s not the Little Nell, but at a fraction of the price, who cares? stmoritzlodge.com
Price: $60 and up
Who’s there? Thirtysomething singles and couples looking to explore Aspen without blowing a paycheck on lodging.
Housed in a Victorian home that dates to the 1880s gold rush, the Fireside is just blocks from Breck’s Main Street. Part hostel, part bed-and-breakfast, the inn offers accommodations that range from a bunk in a four-person, dormitory-style room to private suites.
Bonus: Owners Nicky and Andy Harris celebrate their English roots by serving their guests afternoon tea. firesideinn.com
Price: $30 and up
Who’s there? Families and single guests looking for a homey alternative to pricey slopeside condos.
Leadville Hostel & Inn
For 14 years, owners Bill Clower and Cathy Hacking have made a point to greet each guest at their rustic 41-bed inn with a smile. Each year, the hostel attracts hundreds of explorers, who gather in the common living room in the evenings to swap adventure stories. Clower and Hacking stopped advertising years ago because they hated turning away travelers. Translation: Book a room well in advance. leadvillehostel.com
Price: $25 and up
Who’s there? Large groups of outdoor enthusiasts who rise before dawn to conquer nearby peaks.
Simple Lodge & Hostel
The aptly named Simple Lodge & Hostel offers easy access to mountain biking trails and thrilling white-water rafting runs. Both the shared and private rooms are basic and clean. Owners Jon and Julia Fritz make a point to accommodate those traveling long distances via bicycle or on foot by providing “off trail” clothes, rides to nearby trailheads, and cruiser bikes for exploring historic Salida. simplelodge.com
Price: $23 and up
Who’s there? Solo travelers interested in socializing with other adventurers after a day of hiking, rafting, or riding.
You’ll find some of the best views of Rocky Mountain National Park at this tranquil lodge, which is perched at the edge of Arapaho National Forest. Shadowcliff opened in 1976 and is popular among niche groups—think writers’ workshops or T’ai Chi practitioners—looking for a relaxing spot for a retreat. The lodge also operates a small hostel with space for about 10 people. Book a night and explore RMNP and Grand Lake. shadowcliff.org
Price: $25 and up
Who’s there? Hikers and cross-country cyclists passing through the Rockies; specialized groups on weekend retreats.