Around 484 and 424 BC, archaeologists determined that yurts first originated from the Central Asian area. They were built by Nomads as a general mobile shelter for sheep and other livestock herders. Yurts were made of various animal skins and felted wool that naturally repelled water.  Their frames were constructed of wooden, lattice-like materials. When the livestock rendered the land barren, or if weather conditions became too adverse, herders would dismantle the structures and rebuild them at more favorable locations.

Today, yurts are still used throughout all parts of the world including the Colorado back-country. While their designs may have changed little, their amenities have greatly improved. Many are still utilized for shelter in remote areas. Businesses have made an entire industry out of them; the new recreational cash cow. Grand County currently has over a dozen yurts used by hikers, skiers and nature lovers plus several, off the beaten path dwellings otherwise known as huts. We’ve outlined three of them for you below. Be sure to follow the links to their websites for detailed information.

Snow Mountain Ranch Yurts
If you enjoy the idea of sleeping outdoors but don’t like the prep or packing hassles of traditional camping, then the yurts at the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch might just be a great option for you. SMR offers a dozen yurts. Each yurt can sleep up to 6 people including pets (with restrictions and fees) and are available in summer and winter months with nearby amenities like hot showers. They are reasonably close to your automobile should you discover that “glamping” is not for you and need a quick exit. Yurts at the “Y” are permanently set on wooden platforms with heavily insulated fabric walls. In summer months linens are provided however in winter months guests must bring their own sleeping bags and other warm comforts. Visit the SMR page for more information and details on their yurts.

Broome Hut / Berthoud Pass
Soundly built at an elevation of over 11k feet in the thin, Colorado air is the Broome Hut. A fairly new building completed over seven years ago. “The Broome” is owned and operated by *Grand Huts Association, a local nonprofit whose mission is to link the back-country of Grand County with a system of eco-friendly huts for outdoor adventurists. It’s spacious with over 1800 square feet and located in the Second Creek Basin. It can accommodate up to 16 people at one time and includes a kitchen, two private sleeping rooms and two bunk rooms with six beds. Because Second Creek is a heavily traveled area, the Broome accommodates the passersby with a day-use room that’s separate from the hut.  Access requires a moderate hike up a steep, but well-marked trail. Pets are strictly prohibited. Occupancy fees are modest, and reservations are required.

The High Lone Hut is just outside of Tabernash, just four miles off County Road 84 near Meadow Creek Reservoir.  The actual dwelling is another 2.5-mile hike in. Like the Broome, the three-story hut is quite roomy and can accommodate up to a dozen hikers, bikers and other outside enthusiast. It has solar-powered electricity, running water, toilets as well as a kitchen and a wood-burning stove. HLH offers a transport service to haul gear at an additional cost. The High Lone sits on 160 of meadowed acres surrounded by the pine of Arapaho National Forest. HLH has hosted many individual groups and organizations over the years including a blind ski group from England. Visit the HLH webpage for more details including rates, reservations, and services.

*Learn more about proposed huts, yurts and trails in the backcountry of Grand County.

Tracy Navarrete