Spending a few days at a cabin surrounded by lavish backcountry powder or traveling hut-to-hut on cross country skis are awesome excursions for winter adventurers in Washington. However, when the snow flies, those hut and cabin reservations can be hard to come by.
But there’s a secret to booking a trip to one of these mountain getaways: Go in the summer instead. The trip planning will be less competitive, and the scenery and fresh mountain air will be just as wonderful.
While mountain huts in Washington are commonly thought of as winter destinations, they make for perfect summer vacations, too. Whether you want to travel hut-to-hut by mountain bike or hunker down in a cabin as a at a launch pad to some spectacular hikes, here’s how some of these popular backcountry accommodations break down.
Methow Valley’s system of Nordic paths is legendary: With 120-miles of trail, it is one of the largest cross-country ski networks in the country. Traveling cabin-to-cabin via the Rendezvous Huts is a great way to experience the whole thing. But you don’t have to wait until winter to do so – the huts are open in the summer, too, and the terrain is just as fun to explore by foot or bike.
Each hut is located at about five-mile intervals along the trails between Cub Creek and Mazama, on the east side of the North Cascades. For the full summer experience, take the Rendezvous Basin Loop: 11 miles of single-track that easily connects the five huts. Each wood-framed hut sleeps 8-10 people and is equipped with mattresses and cooking supplies. Trekking between the Rendezvous Huts is perfect for dog lovers, too: In the summer, your favorite four-legged friend is welcome to stay at any of their huts.
** Scottish Lakes High Camp**
Located on the east side of [Stevens Pass](//rootsrated.com/seattle-wa/skiing-snowboarding/stevens-pass) , in the winter the system of cabins that make up Scottish Lakes High Camp offer access to a variety of backcountry terrain for beginner, intermediate, and advanced skiers, snowboarders, and showshoers. Come summer, trade in those skis for boots, as this spot still makes for a great launching pad to explore the nearby alpine lakes and sweeping mountain vistas.
There are nine private cabins in the Scottish Lakes High Camp, with accommodations for up to 10 people. The cozy rustic cabins are equipped with a cooking setup, wood stove, and mattresses and pillows.
From your cabin, there are dozen of hikes to explore the surrounding wilderness. The 1.5-mile trail to Sunset Meadow is a family-friendly jaunt that offers a good introduction to the Chiwaukum Mountains, with stunning views of Glacier Peak and the Cascades. The 6-mile round-trip outing to Chiwaukum Lake, the largest in the area, takes you through the backcountry Alpine Lakes Wilderness to the vibrant blue water nestled beneath the peaks. Those seeking more of a challenge can go on the McWaukum Scramble, a 10-mile, round-trip trek that travels along the exhilaratingly exposed McCue Ridge.
After the day’s hike, kick back in Scottish Lakes’ main lodge. Finish the day soothing your muscles in the wood-fired sauna or taking a soak in the outdoor hot tub. The “fall season” opens on July 29, in time to see the wildflowers bloom in full force, and runs through October 11.
Mount Tahoma Trails Association
With nearly 50 miles of paths, three huts, and a yurt, the Mount Tahoma Trails Association (MTTA) offers the largest free hut-to-hut trail system in North America. While it is better known as a winter destination for Nordic skiers, the fun doesn’t stop once the snow melts: MTTS’s south district is open all summer and provides a scenic hut-to-hut adventure to bike or hike.
The 20 miles of winding trials that link the High Hut, Snow Bowl Hut, and the memorable Mongolian Yurt will take you along the slopes of the South Cascades to views of the three epic local peaks: Mount Saint Helens, Mount Adams, and, of course, Mount Rainier.
The huts and yurt are all equipped with sleeping pads and a complete kitchen. Reservations can be made online, or by calling Whittaker Mountaineering, in Ashford.