Hipcamp host Holy Cross R.,
Hosted by

Your wilderness adventure awaits, complete with modern mountain accommodations. Ready for adventure, elopement, anniversaries, and more. The trek in can be challenging, but the reward is well worth it. Believed to be the highest Hipcamp cabin in the world. 

If you are booking for winter ski or snowshoe hut adventures (Nov 15 to May 25 especially) please read more detai

Read more...

Your wilderness adventure awaits, complete with modern mountain accommodations. Ready for adventure, elopement, anniversaries, and more. The trek in can be challenging, but the reward is well worth it. Believed to be the highest Hipcamp cabin in the world. 

If you are booking for winter ski or snowshoe hut adventures (Nov 15 to May 25 especially) please read more details below as the trip in is longer over snow and when the USFS gate is closed.

Regardless of season, adventure is guaranteed, but please read this about access so you are educated about our wilderness travel options in all seasons: In summer, most guests will want to hike about 2.5 miles (or more depending on the choice of trails) to the site, as the hike is beautiful, and the drive is best reserved for motorbikes, atvs, or 4wd jeeps with big tires, lockers, and winches. 

In winter (Nov 20th - May 21st), access is by over-snow vehicles such as snowmobiles (with proper experience), backcountry skis (with proper experience), snowshoes, or some combination. Expect 10.5 - 11+ miles of over-snow transport Guests booking around the start / end dates of the season can check with host about current conditions as these are USFS guidelines and depend on conditions. 

El Refugio is your place to stay in comfort in the middle of Holy Cross Wilderness. Scandinavian design meets Colorado nature. El Refugio is a one room cabin with full bed for two and extra mattresses for a couple others. Property accommodates 3 inside (with sleeping bags for 3 as well - bring your own liners). If you are bringing a 3rd person who doesn’t want to share the double bed, please remember a sleeping pad for them. Perfect alternative to Summit or 10th mountain division huts and yurts that book out years in advance — we regularly open up new dates and can accommodate smaller groups. Large variety of excellent backcountry ski routes, fly fishing lakes, hiking trails, and climbing just out the door. Leave No Trace style property blends the best of conservation and comfort; your LNT practices help us keep hosting awesome people.

Please remember food, water, and sleeping bag liners if you want to use our bags, wag bags (for use with the gray folding NRS toilet, located under the table), firewood/ starter (see notes below), and either your own small stove or jetboil/MSR/snowpeak fuel for the small 1-burner stove (preferable; in the kitchen bin). Pots and pans and utensils and such are available for your use. A solar shower is also available.

There is a small, very efficient wood burning stove inside the original cabin for emergency and winter use (please bring 6" length logs if you'd like to use this) and there is a fire pit/ring outside (please bring 8-16" length logs if you'd like to use this) on the ledge overlooking Holy Cross City and the mountains. Check local fire bans (Eagle County and White River National Forest) before burning!

Expect to have no cell service along the way so if you're using Google Maps, we would suggest downloading the area map to your phone before taking off. A printed topo map is an excellent item for your pack as well.

There are several different routes you can take when getting to the cabin, which you will pass in this order as you go along the 703/ Homestake road and you'll see outlined in detail further below. Please research these when planning your trip:

1. Hike in from the start of Holy Cross City Road (road 759) (3.7 miles, 39.403140, -106.443517)

2. Hike in from Fancy Pass Trailhead (~4.4 miles, 39.390546, -106.470555)

3. EASIEST ROUTE: Hike in from intersection of 727 and 759 (2.5 miles, for getting here you should have 5-8+” clearance and AWD, as the 727 road is a somewhat tricky drive and not appropriate for most compact rental sedans), 39.409698, -106.455588)

Note: For winter the best route is on Homestake Reservoir Road (road 703) for about 7-7.5 miles from the closure to the 759 Holy Cross City jeep road and then up to Holy Cross City

Directions:

1. Off highway 24, take Homestead Reservoir Road (road 703).

2. Drive about 7.8 miles and take a right onto Missouri Creek Road (road 704). Note: before Missouri Creek Road, your GPS may try to take you to the right up Holy Cross City Road (road 759). Unless you have a high clearance, off-road vehicle, we would not turn here. However, you can hike in from this point. Please check signs regarding current parking restrictions if you choose this option.

3. Drive 2.2 miles and take a right on Fancy Creek Road (road 727). For this road you may want a good Colorado trailhead vehicle like a Subaru, unless you are used to driving your lower-clearance vehicle on narrow and at time challenging forest roads. Note: you'll pass Fancy Pass Trailhead which is another hiking route you can take to the cabin.

4. Drive 1.8 miles and you'll reach an opening where you can park your vehicle.

5. Head up the 759 jeep road to the cabin. Further directions and GPS coordinates provided at booking.

Winter (Nov 20 - May 20, approx, check USFS website for exact): Plan on the road being unplowed about 1/4 mile off of HWY 24, so plan on 7-7.5 miles flat (depending on where you can park) on the 703 road and then 3.5-4 miles up (depending on what quick shortcuts you are familiar with) on the Road 759 (right turn off of 703) over snow by snowmobile, snowshoes, touring skis, etc. We do our best to keep a skin/ snowshoe track up maintained but not always possible after new snow. Parking is often available at start of 703 road well before the bridge, or off of 24. Please heed all warning signs. 

Note: if you would like exclusive guest use of the full property, please be sure to rent all sites/ buildings. 

Lodging provided
Cabin
1 site
Up to 3 guests per site
Short walk
4WD Required
No wheelchair access
Essentials
Campfires allowed
Toilet available
Pets allowed
Amenities
Kitchen available
Showers available
Picnic table available
No potable water
No wifi
Pack it out
  • Check in: After 3PM
  • Check out: Before 11AM
  • Cancellation policy: Super Strict (30 Days)
  • On arrival: Go straight to camp
  • Minimum nights: 1 night
  • Accepts bookings: 18 months out
  • Weeknight discount: 33% off

Activities

Offered on the Host's property or nearby.

Biking
Boating
Fishing
Hiking
Horseback riding
Paddling
Off-roading (OHV)
Climbing
Snow sports
Swimming
Whitewater paddling
Wildlife watching

Terrain

Natural features you'll find at Aspen / Vail Backcountry Ski Hut in Colorado.

Beach
Forest
Lake
Canyon
Mountainous
Field
River, stream, or...
Swimming hole
Waterfall
Wetlands
Driveway

Places to see near Holy Cross Refugio Backcountry Huts

64 Reviews

This listing has no reviews yet.
If you stayed here and have some insider info for us, let us know!
Hipcamper Danielle

Gorgeous views!

Danielle S.
recommends this listing.
August 1st, 2022

The gorgeous views and solitude of little blue are well worth the climb! Although we brought all our own gear, the cabin was well-stocked with cooking utensils, sleeping bags and various items left behind by others. We loved our time here and will definitely be making a trip back again someday.

Aspen / Vail Backcountry Ski HutCampfire with a view. Stream above cabin- great for filtering drinking water. Beautiful views!
Hipcamper Bridget
Bridget H.
recommends this listing.
July 29th, 2022

So much fun! Mosquitos pretty bad right now but other than that had a great stay!!! Such a cozy little cabin in a beautiful place. Highly recommend! I used Gaia app to find the cabin via the Fancy Lake Trail and had no issues finding it. Happy camping!

Aspen / Vail Backcountry Ski HutAspen / Vail Backcountry Ski Hut
Hipcamper Shealyn
Shealyn B.
recommends this listing.
July 25th, 2022

This was the most beautiful and fun place to stay! The sunrise was so insane and the hut had everything you could need and was so cozy. I will definitely be back here with my friends :)

Aspen / Vail Backcountry Ski HutAspen / Vail Backcountry Ski HutAspen / Vail Backcountry Ski HutAspen / Vail Backcountry Ski Hut
Hipcamper Holy Cross
Response from Holy Cross, the Host, on July 28th, 2022

Thanks, Shaelyn!

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Hipcamper Elizabeth
Elizabeth S.
recommends this listing.
July 5th, 2022

Truly spectacular! We had a fantastic experience. Loved going to Cleveland Lake. The cabin is cozy and has incredible views.

Aspen / Vail Backcountry Ski HutAspen / Vail Backcountry Ski HutCleveland lake with our 8 year old mountaineer…
Hipcamper Holy Cross
Response from Holy Cross, the Host, on July 5th, 2022

Hi Elizabeth, Thanks for the great pix!

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Hipcamper Anastassiya

Best time ever!

Anastassiya M.
recommends this listing.
June 8th, 2022

Before I start, I have to say TOPO MAP is a must, if you hike in snow. Honestly, we had the best time and adventure ever. This trail and area had everything you need for a perfect adventure: snow, ice, lakes, streams, rock scrambling, rock climbing. There are plenty of water streams on the trail and near the hut - so I would not recommend carrying any more than 2 L. We started the trail by hiking to the Holly Cross City from the road#729. After we crossed the main and largest river after mile 1,5, the trail was covered in snow. Snow shoes were not necessary, but the traction devices with micro spikes might be helpful. Our shoes were soaked and wet, but we totally expected it. After the river crossing, the trail was hard to navigate, just because it was covered in snow. But again, we were expecting it, and were prepared by downloading topo map on our phones. Once you get to the Holly Cross City (2 old wooden cabins is your indication), do not go up the hill, instead take right, walk for 200 feet and look up to your left and you will see the hut. The hut itself is beautiful and cozy. It has everything you need. The host was very responsive at all times. 10 out of 10. Thank you for such an amazing time! We will be back in July!

Aspen / Vail Backcountry Ski HutAspen / Vail Backcountry Ski HutAspen / Vail Backcountry Ski HutAspen / Vail Backcountry Ski Hut
Hipcamper Holy Cross
Response from Holy Cross, the Host, on June 10th, 2022

Thanks for being awesome guests and sharing about current conditions and your experience. See you again soon!

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Hipcamper Alexa
Alexa P.
doesn't recommend this listing.
April 4th, 2022

The directions need to be written by someone who has been there recently. To say, “You’ll see no snowmobile signs” followed by “Once you make it to Holy Cross City…” was complete bs. There were HUGE chunks of directions missing, especially for winter travel. We ended up out on the trail for over 10 hours, thinking it would be 5-6 hrs. There were ZERO signs or tree markers leading to Holy Cross City from the French creek crossing. We almost slept under a tree in the middle of winter. It would have been nice to see in the directions that the cabin was in fact NOT in French creek drainage, but an entirely different drainage. Details, details. Almost died, would not recommend in winter travel. Even asking the locals of Red Cliff if they would tow us in by snowmobile, we were laughed at!! WAY too far.

Hipcamper Holy Cross
Response from Holy Cross, the Host, on April 6th, 2022

Alexa, Thanks for your detailed feedback on the directions. We unfortunately cannot make the entire route marked because it is on public land, but will take your feedback into account as we update our listing to provide directions for so many different routes in all seasons. Hope you can make it back in summer or fall when the trip is much shorter.

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Hipcamper Eric

Warm, cozy, solitude.

Eric B.
recommends this listing.
October 21st, 2021

Sooo lovely. A bundle of firewood cut into 6” pieces kept us warm all night (we plugged some holes with scarves and towels to make things tighter). Great morning hike up to Cleveland lake in more than 1 ft. of snow in some places. Nice to experience this place when jeeping isn’t as active. Should’ve brought pillowcases! Super homey little spot.

Hipcamper Laura
Laura W.
recommends this listing.
October 11th, 2021

Enjoyed our weekend stay here - although we weren't expecting the winter wonderland we woke up to Saturday morning! Next time we'd try to come when it's warmer as the wood burning stove was finicky to get going and smoked a lot (we did talk to the caretaker about this and he was going to inspect it). Would also recommend bringing your own water filter and jet boil, otherwise the cabin had tons of plates, cups, utensils, etc. Hiking to the lakes in the area was beautiful, and it was fun to meet Ben and learn more about the cabin while we were up there. Would definitely recommend for a weekend getaway.

Aspen / Vail Backcountry Ski HutAspen / Vail Backcountry Ski Hut
Hipcamper Holy Cross
Response from Holy Cross, the Host, on October 18th, 2021

Thanks, Laura, and so nice to meet you. We were able to repair the top part of the chimney so should be good for this winter! Thanks for alerting us to the issue.

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Hipcamper Alyssa
Alyssa S.
recommends this listing.
October 4th, 2021

It’s beautiful and peaceful up at the Tiny Alpine Cabin. Few things beat the serenity of watching the sunrise and set . I took my pup and he had too much fun. The hike from the car was a bit of a bear. Aside from that, the hiking was scenic and quiet, the cabin was cute and had more than I anticipated or needed. Would highly recommend to anyone who wants to get out without a tent.

SunsetSunrise

Awards

Best of 2019 Colorado
4th place
Best of 2018 Colorado
9th place

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