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Photograph by Seth K. Hughes

High-Country Hut Trips: Anna’s Cabin

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Location:
San Isabel National Forest
Hut system:
Privately owned
Nearest town:
Leadville

Although the Airbnb photos of this privately owned hut show the corrugated-steel-and-wood stunner surrounded by fluffy powder, there are two distinct advantages to visiting in the summer: one, your pup is welcome to join you; and two, you can drive your high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle all the way up the 1.8-mile forest service road. Sure, you could slog out the 1,000 feet of elevation gain on the hike in (with all the water you’ll need sloshing in your pack), but that means forgoing the comfy camping chairs and the cooler of ice-cold brews you’ll want to properly enjoy perhaps the best feature of Anna’s Cabin: the wide wraparound deck.

Perched on a hillside at 11,700 feet, the getaway—ideal for groups of friends or families with school-age kids—showcases views of the surrounding San Isabel National Forest from the inside, too, with large windows and a sliding glass door. After you’ve settled into the charming space—the main floor is made cozy with slouchy furniture, area rugs, and throw pillows, while most of the beds are a ladder-climb away in the loft—you might be tempted to curl up with a book in one of the sun-drenched armchairs. Resist, for the time being. Instead, head out the door and straight up through the pines. In roughly 15 minutes, you’ll find yourself atop Chalk Mountain with a panorama that includes Fremont Pass and the Climax molybdenum mine.

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Head back to the cabin for happy hour on the deck, where you and up to seven of your favorite traveling companions can watch for wildlife as the sun dips below distant peaks. Battery-powered lanterns strung up inside provide a gentle glow by which to prepare dinner on the four-burner propane stove before you rest up for another day of exploring—perhaps a longer trek along nearby Chicago Ridge. But if that perfect-for-reading
armchair is still calling your name, we won’t judge you if you decide to simply soak up the solitude from the comfort of your temporary home.

Photograph by Seth K. Hughes

If You Go

Accommodations: The hut sleeps eight, with one queen bed and two sets of bunks in a loft. On the main level, there’s one double sleigh bed; a well-stocked kitchen; a living-room-style space with ample seating and a wood-burning stove; a long table with a banquette; and a separate room with a composting toilet.
Your Pack List: Water (for drinking and cooking), food, headlamps, extra lanterns, sleeping bags or sheets and pillowcases, camping chairs for the deck
Getting There: Three miles south of Fremont Pass on CO 91, you’ll find a parking lot on the north side of the road. From Memorial Day to Labor Day (depending on weather conditions), you can drive a high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle along Forest Service Road 134 to Anna’s Cabin, or you can park in the lot and hike the 1.8 miles in. Stay right at the fork about a mile up. Continue until you see a sign that says “Fragile Alpine Tundra”; the cabin’s driveway comes before that sign on your right.
Book It: $250 per night on weeknights and $300 per night on weekend nights; a two-night minimum is often in effect

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