Hotels Are Boring, and Your Tent Is Rickety—Stay in a Yurt Instead
Alternative lodging has one distinct advantage: putting you close to the adventure that brought you there in the first place
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When you don’t need a full-scale lodge or hotel room but want to stay in shelter that’s a little more protected and outfitted than a tent, try a teepee or yurt. Midwinter, you can find snow-covered yurts with ski-in, ski-out backcountry access and wood-burning stoves, while in warmer weather, desert or coastal teepees have surfing, biking, and hiking out your canvas-tented door. Ready to try it out? Here are seven of our favorite yurt and teepee stays around the country.
Bell Lake Yurt, Tobacco Root Mountains, Montana
You’ll snowmobile (and then ski tour) deep into Montana’s Tobacco Root Mountains to reach Bell Lake Yurt, a 20-foot-wide tent nestled in a pine and spruce forest at 10,000 feet, with views of massive couloirs and gladed powder skiing out your door. The yurt is owned and cared for by former Skiing magazine editor and mountain guide Drew Pogge. You can hire him to show you around the operation’s 14,000 acres of permitted terrain and even cook up elk stew for dinner. The yurt is cozy but rustic: you’ll sleep six deep in bunks and cook dinner over a propane camp stove. From $175 per person per day.
Whisper Ridge, Eden, Utah
Want to experience backcountry yurt skiing but don’t want to hike in? At Whisper Ridge, which opened in 2013, you and your gear will get carted via snowcat or helicopter into one of ten mountaintop yurts outfitted with queen beds, hot showers, and modern furnishings. With 120 miles of cat-accessed roads and 60,000 acres of private heli terrain, you won’t cross another track. From $875 per person per day.
Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel, Gardiner, Montana
Just a few miles from the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park—and steps from the Yellowstone River—sit the ten well-adorned teepees of the Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel. Inside, you’ll find king beds, wireless internet, and personal fireplaces, plus a separate bathhouse with heated floors and rain showers. Each morning, join your fellow teepee dwellers for freshly baked muffins and coffee. The place opens in May, but you can start booking for this summer now. From $297 per person per day.
Blue Bear Mountain Camp, Boone, North Carolina
Sure, you can rent cabins or pitch a tent at Blue Bear Mountain Camp, outside Boone, North Carolina. Or you could book the camp’s lone teepee, which opened in 2015. Inside your 22-foot teepee paradise, you’ll be treated to a queen bed, solar-powered lighting, wood floors, and hand-painted murals. Outside, there’s a rock fire pit, a grill and picnic table, and trout fishing and hiking trails through the Blue Ridge Mountains, a few minutes’ drive away. Book midwinter for off-season rates (there are even a few ski areas nearby). From $75 per person per day.
Moab Under Canvas, Moab, Utah
Midwinter and spring are good times to visit southern Utah. Temperatures are moderate, the singletrack is buff and tacky, and the national parks are deserted. At Moab Under Canvas, located on a 40-acre property seven miles from Moab, you can book a plush safari tent with a neighboring teepee to house your entire crew. A separate bathhouse teepee offers hot showers and real sinks and toilets. Outside, you’ll get views of Arches National Park. Amenities include an indoor wood-burning stove, plus hot breakfasts delivered to your tent. You can also book packages that include guided whitewater rafting, mountain biking, and more. From $89 per person per day.
Chanslor Ranch, Bodega Bay, California
Perched on a bluff overlooking northern California’s Bodega Bay, Chanslor Ranch is a 378-acre working horse ranch turned camper’s haven. You can tent or RV camp in secluded sites with no signs of fellow campers, or book one of three teepee sites with ocean views. There’s quality surfing at nearby Salmon Creek and a winding dirt trail that leads from camp to ocean. The ranch is open year-round. Fire pits are included in your stay, and hot showers are available for an extra fee. Bring your own sleeping bag. From $65 per person per night.
Cynthia’s, Death Valley, California
Located outside Death Valley National Park, near an abandoned mining village, this desert wilderness retreat has comfortably furnished teepees (with heated beds in midwinter) and restored vintage trailers that offer a night’s rest for weary travelers. Sign-ups are also available at Cynthia’s for off-roading, guided hiking, and stargazing. Bathrooms, outdoor showers, and a dining area are located in a neighboring ranch house that was built in the 1920s. From $165 per person per night.