Shrine Mountain Inn

Built in 1987 and located near Vail, Colorado, Shrine Mountain Inn is a wilderness retreat for hikers, snowshoers, skiers, mountain bikers, and snowboarders.

Shrine Mountain Inn consists of three rustic log cabins, each with fireplaces, electricity, running water and other amenities. Overlooking the heart of the Colorado Rockies, the huts offer guests a cozy romantic getaway in a unique backcountry setting.

Our Facilities
Elevation Sign

About Shrine Mountain Inn

Shrine Mountain Inn is located on 80 acres of private land surrounded by National Forest. Why this parcel of private land on Shrine Pass exists is not clear. The land was neither a homestead nor a mining claim, but instead, was purchased for cash by the Roosevelt administration in 1904, the year the White River National Forest was formed. Such a transaction was a rare occurance.

Legend has it that President Roosevelt may have set the land aside as a private hunting camp or as a political favor to someone in Washington. Some have speculated that the land was to be used as a destination for pilgrims coming to view the Mount of the Holy Cross, or perhaps as part of the old mine site northwest of the property.

Shrine Mountain is Born

Vail resident Jay Utter purchased the land in 1960 by paying the back taxes, and had many hopes and dreams for the property. Had he lived, we like to think he would be proud of Jay’s Cabin and the completion of Shrine Mountain Inn. Jay’s good friend, Chuck Anderson, is also remembered by "Chuck’s Place," which was built in his memory. Walter’s Cabin is named for another long-time Vail local, Walter Kirsch. All three loved these mountains, and Jay and Chuck are buried on the property in the Shrine Mountain Cemetery.

The present owners, Phoebe Utter Barrett, Chuck and Peggy Malloy, and Chuck and Meredith Ogilby have spent more than 40 years in the Vail Valley, and share a background of summers at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, growing up in Rockford, Illinois, or long-time friendships in Vail.

Construction of Jay’s Cabin began in the summer of 1987 and the ground was broken for Chuck’s Cabin the following year. The newest of the three, Walter’s Cabin, was built in 1997. All cabins were constructed from logs timbered near Eagle and from the Flat Tops north of Glenwood Springs.

10th Mountain Division Hut Association

While Shrine Mountain Inn is privately owned and operated, all scheduling and reservations are handled by the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association (TMDHA) of which it is part. Based in Aspen, TMDHA is a non-profit organization that manages a system of 29 backcountry huts throughout the state. They provide guests with a unique opportunity for backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, mountain biking, and snowboarding.

TMDHA is named in honor of the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division of the US Army, who trained during World War II at Camp Hale near Leadville. Visitors to Shrine Mountain Inn and the other huts share in the spirit of these individuals, especially their pursuit of excellence, self-reliance, and love of the outdoors.