Hut Report: The Seven Utes Yurt on Cameron Pass


Hut Report: The Seven Utes Yurt on Cameron Pass

While Colorado’s Front Range is often in powder-panic gridlock when it snows—and even when it doesn’t—Cameron Pass outside of Fort Collins is a great option for backcountry skiers looking for a quieter zone. While a day trip only takes about an hour and a half from Fort Collins, the new Seven Utes Yurt gives locals and visitors a reason to stay awhile. 


The 40-foot structure is only in its second season of operation, built two years ago by Colorado Mountain School, which runs guided trips as well as avalanche courses out of the yurt. The Poudre Canyon Road splits the Medicine Bow and Never Summer Mountains, and easy access to both sides of the road from the yurt means two different mountain ranges to explore. It’s a few miles west of the top of the 10,276-foot pass, perched next to the Michigan River right under the hills that lead up to Seven Utes Mountain (11,407’). 

You could easily spend an entire trip exploring the gladed hills between Seven Utes and Braddock Peak (11,972’), popping above treeline when conditions allow. In the springtime, when the anemic snowpack finally solidifies, the steep rocky walls of the Nokhu Crags (12,484’) are a ski mountaineer’s paradise. The zone’s walled-in couloirs have earned the nickname “Little Alaska,” with an abundance of steep lines that can be linked up in a day from the yurt. 

It’s not a coincidence that the tree skiing above the yurt is so good. It’s one of the most recently logged areas in Colorado, which means perfectly spaced hallways to link together long, sustained pitches of steep and low-angle pow runs. At the end of the day, a quick descent back to the yurt gives you plenty of time to gather by the woodstove, boil water for hot toddies, and cook up a big meal in the fully stocked kitchen. The spacious communal area is multi-functional, meaning folding tables and chairs at dinner can be replaced by rollaway cots for sleeping, and cozy nooks around the perimeter of the yurt are perfect for kicking back and watching the snow fall. 

Trip planning:

The Seven Utes Yurt is just 4 miles west of the Cameron Pass summit, an hour and a half from Fort Collins or two and a half hours from Denver. Skiers have a few options for visiting the yurt. You can book the entire 16-person yurt (there’s a two-night minimum at $700/night), enroll in a yurt-based avalanche course run by Colorado Mountain School, or sign up for a guided trip with set dates. Since you can’t book just a few beds in the yurt, it’s best for small parties to sign up for a guided trip or a course. 

A fully equipped kitchen (with a fridge!) means guests only have to pack groceries, and 16 rollaway cots (incredibly comfortable) let you set up your bed (sleeping bag and pillow not included) wherever you want in the main open room. 

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