Approach in the Summer
During the summer Weston Pass Hut can be reached by either driving in from the Fairplay (Park County) side or from the Leadville (Lake County) side. If you are departing from the Front Range such as the Denver Metro Area, the shortest driving time will be via Park County. Visitors driving eastbound can access the hut from the Lake County side. For more specific driving instructions see the google map here. Google underestimates the driving time on Weston Pass, and so allocate additional time to drive from the base of the pass to the Hut.
Please be aware that access from either side of Weston Pass requires driving on unpaved roads. Generally, the road on the Park County side is well maintained and most small SUVs can easily manage the approach. The road on the Lake County side is not as well maintained and typically requires a high clearance vehicle. Vehicle access is never guaranteed, and road conditions can change on any given day.
Approach in the Winter
Getting to Weston Pass Hut in the winter is a strenuous adventure. It is strongly advised that you or someone in your party has backcountry skiing experience before embarking on this trip. From the Lake County side the trek is 6.7 miles, and the altitude gain is 2,252 feet. The altitude at the trailhead is 9,698 feet and the altitude of the hut is 11,950 feet. The map of the trek from the Lake County side can be found here. We recommend parking at the base of the canyon and near the confluence of Little Union and Big Union Creeks as indicated on the map. The grade of the trail is moderate with a constant uphill climb and a lot of weather exposure. Given the chance of windy and extreme weather, the trail may be covered in deep powder. But it is also often windblown and parts might even require carrying skis and hiking. We advise getting an early start so that you can arrive at the hut before sunset.
The hut is accessible by snowmobile and other snow vehicles. But previous experience operating these vehicles is highly advisable.
Weston Pass Hut has a maximum overnight occupancy of 20 people. Our floor plan offers four rooms (up to 4 persons/room) and additional sleeping options in the common area. We provide foam mattresses and washable coverings. The bedding options are provided on a first come first serve basis. Please be sure to arrive at the hut early if you have a preferred sleeping arrangement in mind.
Please check the forecast prior to departure. The weather on the trek to the Hut and at the site can be fickle, varying substantially day-to-day and even within a given day. Be sure to pack for extreme weather conditions regardless of the season. The climate on Weston Pass is very different from the weather in Leadville and the surrounding areas. The site has beautiful calm sunny days, but it also has cold windy days. Winds at the site can exceed 50 miles per hour, in the summer and winter time. When winds are at their peak, windchill dramatically reduces the temperature and can limit some outdoor activities like dining outside. In the summer, the temperature can range from 70°F midday to below 40°F in the evenings. Rain and hail can limit outdoor activities. Lightning also merits caution in the summer. In the winter, the temperature regularly dips well below 0°F. For winter trips, please be prepared for harsh snow conditions that can severely limit visibility.
Search and Rescue
As with any wilderness trip, there is a chance that you will need search and rescue services. If you require search and rescue services, the Lake County or Park County sheriff’s department will send out a volunteer team, and the sheriff’s department absorbs the cost of the search and rescue mission. As way to ensure that these missions are fully funded, we strongly recommend that our guests to purchase a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue card. A card can be purchased for as little as $3.00 for one year and $12.00 for five years. If you have already purchased a hunting/fishing license, or have registered a boat, snowmobile, or ATV, then you have already contributed to the fund. Anyone who needs search and rescue services will receive them regardless of whether they have purchased a card, and even non-card holders will not be held responsible for the costs of a search and rescue mission. But these missions work by relying on volunteers and funding generated by those who purchase search and rescue cards. Please do your part in keeping all outdoor enthusiasts safe by purchasing a card. More information about the card can be found here, and you can purchase a card here.
The hut does not provide water. All guests are responsible for bringing the water that they need into the hut. In the Winter, melting snow for drinking water is common practice.
Each group should be accompanied by a trip leader who has extensive backcountry experience. This trip leader should be experienced in wilderness first aid. If it is a winter trip, the leaders should also have experience in avalanche rescue and be able to evaluate snow conditions.
Booking and Liability
When a person books a trip for a group, this person must accept a Waiver and Liability Release agreement. The person who books the trip is responsible for getting every member of their group to submit a Waiver and Release agreement, and is also responsible for paying for unpaid nights of any member in the group. The person who books the trip, will agree to indemnify Leadville Backcountry, Phase II, LLC for any liability for injuries, paralysis or death to any member of his/her group who does not sign a Waiver and Release Agreement. You can access and sign the Waiver and Liability Release agreement here: https://www.smartwaiver.com/w/5670818b8cb80/web/.
Unfortunately, we are currently not allowed to host dogs at the hut.
Roof of the Hut
The roof of our hut is designed to provide natural insulation and to minimize its footprint by helping the hut blend in with its surroundings. Since the hut’s roof is covered with fragile tundra we ask that our guests help keep our hut ecologically sound by refraining from climbing onto or standing on the roof.
There is not cell phone coverage at the hut, nor is there cell phone coverage on the trek to the hut. Cell phones are great to use as cameras on your trip, but they will not serve as means of communication. Recognize that communication with emergency services and people who are not on the trip will be limited, and plan accordingly.
Emergencies and Emergency Contacts
Since there is no cell phone coverage at the hut, please make individuals who are not staying at the hut aware of your travel plans and when you expect to return. If there is an emergency, then you will need to find cell phone coverage at the base of the pass. Please write down the following numbers, distribute them to every member in your party, and to individuals who are not staying at the hut but know your travel plans.
Emergency Dispatch: 911
Lake County Sheriff’s Office: (719) 485-1249
Park County Sheriff’s Office: (719) 836-4121, Option 5
Weston Pass Hut Contact Number: (719) 293-1215