Grand County Backcountry: Trail of the Week
HIGH LONESOME HUT
Activity – Backcountry Ski or Snowshoe
Level of Difficulty – 3 (on a scale of 1-5, 1 being the easiest)
One-way Mileage – 2.30 miles inbound, 2.23 miles alternate return
One-way Touring Time – 1 _ hours inbound, 2 hours alternate return
Altitude, GPS Reading at Trailhead – 9135′, 40°01’51″N, 105°48’23″W
Altitude, GPS Reading at Hut – 9148′, 40°03’30″N, 105°48’30″W
Trail Fee Required – No
Dogs are permitted without leash
Trailhead Location – On US Hwy 40, east of Tabernash, between mile markers 224 and 225 (closer to 224), turn east on CR 83. Follow CR 83 for .4 miles to the fork. Turn left on CR 84, which turns into FDR 129. Follow CR 84 (FDR 129) for 3.9 miles to a pullout on the left and the “High Lonesome Hut” sign (1).
Tour Description – This trail crosses both public and private property. Pass around the gate beside the “High Lonesome Hut” sign and descend through the woods on the Strawberry trail to a series of meadows. The largest meadow (2) was the site of a logging operation and flume in the early 1900’s. After this meadow, head into the woods to a fork (3). The Strawberry trail continues to the left and the Spruce Meadow trail (no trail signage) is on the right, which is an optional return route. Take the left fork and begin a long steady climb. Follow the creek bed filled with willows, which is on the left. The creek bed parallels the trail and then disappears into the woods. Ascend to a fence (4), which denotes the USDA/private property boundary. This is also the high point of the inbound trail (9302′). Between the trailhead and this fence, motorized vehicles are permitted, but are infrequent and discouraged. Pass around the fence and descend through the woods to a fork (5). The Strawberry trail continues straight and Woody Hill Top is to the right. Woody Hill Top is the home of the Huck Forest mountain bike park. Continue straight to the next fork (6). The Strawberry trail continues straight and the High Lonesome Hut is to the right. Turn right and follow the trail a short distance to the hut (7). To use the hut facilities for lunch or an overnight stay, visit http://www.lonesome-hut.com or call 970-726-4099.
Return either on the inbound trail, or for a more challenging and less traveled route, pass the front of the hut and head toward the meadow. Bear right of the solar panels and cross the meadow heading slightly south east (right). Pick up the trail in the woods. Wind through the forest and follow the long steady ascent to the private property/USDA boundary fence (8), which is the high point of this alternate trail (9350′). Descend to a fork (9), where Woody Hill Top is on the right and the Spruce Meadow trail is straight. Remain straight and descend through the woods and meadows into a drainage. Continue to descend through the forest to the inbound Strawberry trail at the fork (3). Turn left and follow the inbound trail back to the trailhead (1).
Backcountry Tip of the Week – When a tour runs through private property, please be respectful and do not litter, camp, hunt, or fish. Always pack out all trash. That includes all uneaten foods, peels, and biodegradables. Provide the next skier or snowshoer with the same pristine experience you experienced. If trash is already on the trail, pick it up and keep the forest clean. Be a responsible skier or snowshoer and follow the rules of “Pack In – Pack Out” and “Leave No Trace”.
More trails and information are available in “Backcountry Skiing and Snowshoeing in Grand County, Colorado”. The book is available locally in many retail outlets, gift shops, sporting goods stores, and coffee shops or visit our website at http://backcountrybound.home.mindspring.com/. This column is a partnership with Headwaters Trails Alliance (www.headwaterstrails.com), who works to plan, build, preserve and maintain multi-use trails in Grand County.
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Local commercial rafting companies remain unsure if or for how long they’ll be able to guide trips this summer down the traditional 6-mile portion of the Blue River north of Silverthorne.