Let’s be honest: Fall and winter camping can be tricky. The ever-changing weather alone is enough to deter even an outdoorsy family from spending the night under the stars. But the newest addition to the YMCA of the Rockies’ Snow Mountain Ranch makes this adventure easier to enjoy. The two-month-old Schlessman Yurt Village is home to 12 yurts that seamlessly blend the “ah, I’m in a tent” experience with “I could really use a fridge and microwave” convenience.
Each yurt comfortably sleeps six “campers” with a queen bed and a pair of bunk beds, with room for a pack ‘n’ play—or two—for the littlest guests. A mini-fridge and microwave make for easy indoor meal prep, plus the village offers gas and charcoal grills, as well as fire pits. Clean showers (complete with hot water) and bathrooms reside near the entrance to the village, along with a communal dish-washing and water bottle-filling station.
Even though the yurt’s amenities point straight to a “glamping” experience, there’s one thing missing: indoor heat. Parents should come prepared when the September lows hover around freezing. Bed linens and pillows are in each yurt, and you’ll also need to pack sleeping bags, warm pajamas, thick socks, beanies, and a space heater to warm up inside on a chilly morning. Will your family out of bed in the morning with hot cocoa by the big, communal fireplace before a day of hiking in the yellow-hued aspens, crafting, or simply enjoying the crisp mountain air.
Look up: The clear plastic dome that makes up the yurt’s roof is a perfect view to the stars while you are reading bedtime stories.
Do this: Hit the Summer Tubing Hill before it closes for the season on October 1. Reserve a one-hour time slot for no extra cost. Kids ages three years old and up, as well as grown-ups will giggle the entire way down the Snowflex slope.
Eat Here: Sign up for the Chuckwagon Breakfast Hayride at Sombrero Stables. Hop on the haywagon pulled by a pair of draft horses for a half-hour tour to the Rowley Homestead. A chuckwagon chef awaits with pancakes, sausage, eggs, and delicious cowboy coffee.
Explore: Check out the gold mine near the Rowley Homestead. A quick, guided hike from the historic site leads you to a 100-foot-deep abandoned goldmine dug into a mountainside. Bring along a headlamp to guide your way into cave-like mine.