Hipcamp host Holy Cross R.,
Hosted by

Your wilderness adventure awaits, complete with modern mountain accommodations. Ready for adventure, elopement, anniversaries, and more. 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 guaran


Your wilderness adventure awaits, complete with modern mountain accommodations. Ready for adventure, elopement, anniversaries, and more. 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


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 a little before bridge, or off of 24.

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

Lodging provided
1 site
Up to 3 guests per site
Short walk
No wheelchair access
Campfires allowed
Toilet available
Pets allowed
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: 40% off


Offered on the Host's property or nearby.

Horseback riding
Off-roading (OHV)
Snow sports
Whitewater paddling
Wildlife watching


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

River, stream, or...
Swimming hole

Places to see near Holy Cross Refugio Tent Sites and Cabin

58 Reviews

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

Remove vote :(
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.

Hipcamper Bradley
Bradley R.
recommends this listing.
October 1st, 2021

This is an amazing spot with even better views. Host was very accommodating and helpful with directions to the cabin as well as any other questions we had.

Due to several ways to get to the cabin it did create some confusion in regards to finding a place to park as well as what the length of the hike would be. Once we found our way up to the cabin everything was great!

Highly recommend visiting this spot for anyone looking for an amazing hike and a relaxing and quiet evening. Would strongly recommend to bring a 4WD vehicle with a full tank of gas. Also make sure to give yourself plenty of time to complete the drive up as well as the hike to the cabin.

Hipcamper Aidan

Quiet stay in alpine cabin

Aidan F.
recommends this listing.
September 21st, 2021

We took the longer route to the cabin which took us past some beautiful rivers, alpine lakes and Georgie’s views. The cabin itself was situated perfectly with a great view from the front. The cabin was equipped with a bed and some extras that I assume people have just left over the years; it was all we were looking for.

Hipcamper Pyara

Anniversary bliss!

Pyara I.
recommends this listing.
September 15th, 2021

This was one of the most beautiful places we’ve been to! We celebrated our 10 year anniversary and it couldn’t have been better! The cabin was so peaceful and cozy to sleep in and the views were so breath taking. The hike up to Cleveland lake was amazing. We used google maps the whole way just to see where we were and that helped a lot! I will forever hold this special place in my heart!

Aspen / Vail Backcountry Ski HutAspen / Vail Backcountry Ski HutAspen / Vail Backcountry Ski HutAspen / Vail Backcountry Ski Hut
Hipcamper Laurel

Perfect wilderness escape

Laurel B.
recommends this listing.
September 4th, 2021

We loved our time at Holy Cross Refugio. We took the shortest hike in, and the payoff for the elevation gain was total solitude. The hut had everything we needed and more to stay cozy and warm. Location was perfect to access alpine likes and beautiful views. We will definitely be back.

Hipcamper Rebecca
Rebecca C.
recommends this listing.
August 19th, 2021

Perfect little cabin with great view and super well stocked. Had a great time!

Hipcamper Cassie

So relaxing

Cassie B.
recommends this listing.
July 15th, 2021

We had a beautiful 4-night stay at El Refugio. We took 727 to the Jeep trail and it was quite a hike for 2 Kansans. It took about 6 hours but we also each had 40 lb packs. We would love to visit again, but with lighter packs. As soon as we reached the cabin is started raining for about 30 minutes and then we were welcomed with the most beautiful rainbow. It was very quiet and relaxing. We only saw about 10 people on the trails while we were there. We were not able to find the camp stove in the cabin, but we had brought our own. I would definitely bring one during the fire bans just in case the provided one is missing. Other campers had left quite a bit of trash. There was a yellow bucket near the cabin that was full of old food wrappers. And there was quite a bit of old food and trash in the cabin that had been left. We took what trash of others that we could down, but it does need a good cleanout. That didn't deter our love for this place, we just wish people would practice more of the Leave No Trace guidelines. We saw a bunch of marmots and pikas, but not much other wildlife. Be sure to bring bug spray because the mosquitoes were swarming constantly. It was the most relaxing vacation trip we have ever taken and we enjoyed every second! Thank you to the hosts who were very communicative about any questions we had and for providing such a serene getaway. The views are incredible!


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

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