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The Best Backcountry Huts for Mountain Bikers

Why hike when you can ride?

Why hike when you can ride? (Courtesy 7mesh)

Why hike when you can ride?

Backcountry huts used to be the exclusive domain of skiers and backpackers, but lately, cabins from Maine to Oregon are doing their best to cater to two wheels, with perks like tuning stations, flowing singletrack, and gear shuttles.

Lost Trail Lodge

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(Courtesy Lost Trail Lodge)

Truckee, California

Located four miles deep in Truckee’s Coldstream Canyon and accessible via rugged dirt roads, Lost Trail isn’t so much a hut as it is a deluxe off-the-grid lodge, with a chef’s kitchen, four bedrooms, and Jacuzzi tubs (from $230). There’s no cell service, and electricity comes from solar panels and a generator, but there is a bike tuning station and access to stellar trails like Yogi Bear, BooBoo’s, and JP’s, each featuring purpose-built singletrack with stellar climbs and descents.

Janet’s Cabin

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(Courtesy Summit Huts)

Copper Mountain, Colorado

You’ll find this 3,000-square-foot log cabin located at 11,610 feet just east of the Continental Divide near the Copper Mountain ski area (from $38). In summer, you can ride part of the 500-mile Colorado Trail to access the cabin, which sleeps 14. It’s a demanding trail for novice cyclists but is easily tackled by more experienced mountain bikers. Plus, there’s a wood-burning sauna waiting for you to ease your saddle sores.

Cascade Huts

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(Courtesy Cascade Huts)

Mount Hood, Oregon

Want to go hut to hut on a mountain bike? These five Mount Hood cabins are connected by sections of singletrack and part of the original route of the historic Oregon Trail. Trip lengths start at three days, and the six-day Grand Tour will see you riding eight to 43 miles a day and staying in all five huts along the way (from $292 for three days). Each accommodation is equipped with bunk beds and a basic kitchen with cooking supplies and a propane stove. It’s all self-guided, so you’ll navigate your own way and carry your own gear, but detailed directions are provided.

Maine Huts and Trails

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(Courtesy Maine Huts and Trails)

Carrabassett Valley, Maine

Maine Huts and Trails is home to four solar- and hydro-powered lodges and 80 miles of singletrack that wind through Maine’s Carrabassett Valley. You can connect all four or ride in to stay a night or two in a private or shared room at the hut of your choice (from $96). Locally sourced breakfasts and dinners are included with your stay. You can also shell out a little extra for beer and wine, gear shuttles between the huts, and guided rides.

Rendezvous Huts

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(Courtesy Rendezvous Huts)

Methow Valley, Washington

A popular Nordic skiing area in winter, the Rendezvous Huts in Washington’s scenic Methow Valley, on the east side of the North Cascades, have also become a hot spot for summer bike trips (from $110). You’ll need to carry in your own gear and food, but the five huts, which sleep eight to ten people, each include a basic kitchen, bunk beds, and wood-burning stoves. The trail network—an extensive collection of varied singletrack—offers plenty of mellow trails for newer bikers.

Tyax Adventures

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(Courtesy Tyax Adventures)

South Chilcotin, British Columbia

Deep in BC’s striking South Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park, there’s a cozy wooden cabin with bunks, a wood-fire sauna, and outdoor showers. To get there, you’ll need to book this guided multiday bike trip with Tyax Adventures. Guides will lead the way, and camp hosts do all the cooking. Most of the trips start with a floatplane entry into the backcountry, where you and your bike will get dropped into a remote locale.

Filed To: Mountain Biking / Adventure / Travel / Oregon / Maine / Biking
Nicolas Henderson/Creative Commons )

San Marcos, Texas

Billed as the world’s toughest canoe race, the Texas Water Safari, held each June, is a four-day, 260-mile jaunt from the headwaters of the San Marcos River northeast of San Antonio to the small shrimping town of Seadrift on the Gulf Coast. There’s no prize money—just bragging rights for the winner. Any boat without a motor is allowed, and you’ll have to carry your own equipment and overnight gear. Food and water are provided at aid stations along the way. Entry fees start at $175 and increase as race day approaches.

The Ring

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(Courtesy Quatro Hubbard)

Strasburg, Virginia

The Ring is a 71-mile trail running race in early September along the entire length of Virginia’s rough and rocky Massanutten Trail loop. To qualify, you need to have run a 50- or 100-mile race before the event and win a spot through the lottery system. Entry is free. Complete the run and you’ll become part of the tight-knit Fellowship of the Ring and be eligible for the Reverse Ring, which entails running the trail backwards in the middle of winter.

Plaza2Peak

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(David Silver)

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Each spring, competitors gather in Santa Fe’s historic plaza with a simple goal: be the first to reach 12,308-foot Deception Peak, 17 miles and 5,000 feet of elevation gain away. Competitors run or bike the first 15 miles to the local ski area before transitioning to their waiting ski-touring setups for the final push to the top. Time stops only when they’ve skied back down to the tailgate in the resort’s parking lot, which is funded by the modest entry fee of around $25. To add to the sufferfest, some participants sign up for the Expedition category, in which they strap their skis, skins, boots, and poles to their bikes for the long ride up. Start dates vary depending on snow conditions, but look for the event page to be posted on Facebook in late March or early April.

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