The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Mar 2011

It All Starts Here

DUNTON HOT SPRING
Colorado
TAGS: HOT SPRINGS, HELI-SKIING, BUTCH CASSIDY, GHOST TOWN
This was once a very creepy place to go: a series of 12 desolate, abandoned cabins originally built in 1885 by gold miners at 8,700 feet in the San Juan Mountains near Telluride. No more. In 1994, Christoph Henkel, founder of the Canyon Group, moved in and gave the ghost town a five-star face-lift. In summer, hurtle down hundreds of miles of nearby singletrack on a loaner Specialized full-suspension bike and fly-fish for rainbows on nine private miles of the Dolores River's West Fork. In winter, wander down to the parking lot, where Helitrax, a Telluride outfit, picks up guests for heli-ski trips in the San Juan backcountry ($1,549 per day; helitrax.com). Either way, cap the day off by soaking in natural hot springs with fourteener views. Then hit up the resort's 1895 Saloon, which features Colorado lamb and the signature of Butch Cassidy carved into the bar—he stopped by after his famous 1889 Telluride bank heist. $650 per person per night; duntonhotsprings.com

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Highland Lodge at Crawford Notch

TAGS: MOUNT WASHINGTON, GREEN BUILDING, SNOWSHOES
This 34-room eco-friendly lodge—it's built of recycled steel and heated with a biomass-burning boiler—is less about exclusive luxury than good vibes. Guests sleep in simple, comfortable rooms, share stories in front of a gaping fireplace, refine map-and-compass skills at group sessions, and eat family-style meals like roast turkey with chocolate cream pie. Then they leave—after all, the White Mountain National Forest lies just out the back door, and Mount Washington, the baddest peak in the northeast, looms overhead. Go on a group snowshoe outing, take a day hike up one of four nearby 4,000-foot Presidential peaks, or use the lodge as a departure point for a hut-to-hut trek. From $92 per person per night; outdoors.org/highland

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Tu Tu' Tun Lodge

TAGS: CHINOOK, ROGUE RIVER, SEA STACKS, LOCAL WINES
Tough to beat this location: Tu Tu' Tun, a gussied-up fishing lodge, spreads across a grassy bank on the shores of the Wild and Scenic Rogue River, just seven miles from Oregon's rugged southern coast. Book a room—they all have river views—to recover in style following a 40-mile expedition on the Rogue's famous Class III–IV whitewater stretch, just 25 miles upstream (Rogue Wilderness Adventures guides three-day trips for $770; wildrogue.com). Other options: swim off the dock, paddle the placid lower Rogue from the lodge in a sea kayak, or ramble down to the coast. A two-hour hike through old-growth Douglas fir and red cedar takes you to a secluded cove looking out on the famous Cape Sebas­tian sea stacks. Dinner is local mesquite-grilled Chinook washed down with a choice of 150 Pacific coast wines. From $135 per person per night; tututun.com

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