Dotting the American West from California’s High Sierra to Washington’s North Cascades to the Colorado Rockies are a small collection of backcountry huts that have stayed, inexplicably, relatively unknown. Some of these huts are deep in the wilderness, accessible only to the ultra fit and experienced—others are much closer to civilization, great for a weekend trip for almost anyone.
These huts are hidden on mountainsides, in alpine meadows, and perched on jagged ridges, with views of surrounding valleys, forests, and mountains. They are few in number—less than 100 in the entire country—and each has their own story to tell.
Built as fire lookouts, ranger cabins, and private retreats, each hut has a unique history, often been handed down from owner to owner. And every hut on this list is now open to the public. Here are nine of our favorites.