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.

Wild Flower

Frequently Asked Questions

Who uses Shrine Mountain Inn?

A great variety of people use the huts. Some groups use guides, others travel on their own with family and friends. Because the huts are used communally, please show respect for the people sharing the hut with your group. If you prefer a private trip, please reserve either Walter’s, or Chuck’s upper or lower levels which sleep 6 guests, or reserve an entire hut. 10th Mountain works closely with not-for-profit groups, the young, and the elderly. For more information on 10th Mountain's support of these groups, please visit the TMDHA Website.

How long does it take to get to Shrine Mountain Inn?

Shrine Mountain Inn is located 2.5 miles from Vail Pass by road and 2.7 miles by trail. Vehicle access to Shrine Mountain Inn is possible via Shrine Pass Road in July, August, September, and most of October, and generally takes up to one-half hour by vehicle. For a list of other routes to Shrine Mountain Inn, please visit the Directions Page.

Travel time to Shrine Mountain Inn on foot, skis, or snowshoes via the road or trail vary greatly depending on the route, your personal ability, and weather conditions. A general rule is to estimate one mile per hour. On clear days, when a trail has already been broken, most groups will travel faster than this, but in low visibility or if there is no broken trail, it can take even longer.

You must evaluate your own capabilities. Strap a full pack on your back and take a test hike or ski tour. Keep in mind that route finding, water breaks, taking off or putting on layers, and adjusting gear often add considerable time to a trip.

Can I snowshoe to Shrine Mountain Inn?

Yes, traveling to the huts on snowshoes is an option. If you are not a confident backcountry skier or are new to traveling with a pack in the winter, snowshoes could be a good choice. Travel by snowshoes can be slower and more tiring than skiing, especially in deep, untracked snow. If you are not an experienced skier, however, attempting to ski with a pack in similar conditions could be even more difficult, making snowshoes a more enjoyable and efficient option.

Where can I purchase maps and guidebooks for Shrine Mountain Inn?

10th Mountain produces topographic maps specifically for hut use. They also carry a number of guidebooks specific to the 10th Mountain Hut System. These maps and guidebooks are available from their reservations office at 970-925-5775, or on the TMDHA Website.

Can I hire a guide?

Several guide services in Colorado offer trips to Shrine Mountain Inn. These businesses operate under special use permit with the US Forest Service. Hiring a guide can be a great way to experience the huts, especially if you are a first time hut user or someone looking to experience more interesting routes and challenging hut-to-hut trips. In addition to guiding you on your trip, these services can also deal with logistics such as car shuttles and meals. It is not legal to pay someone to accompany you to the hut, deliver your equipment, prepare your meals, etc., if they do not have a US Forest service permit. Please visit the TMDHA Website for a list of permitted guides.

Are snowmobiles allowed at Shrine Mountain Inn?

No, Shrine Mountain Inn is located on private land and snowmobiles are not permitted, except by authorized personnel for maintenance or emergency purposes. Additionally, Shrine Mountain Inn is surrounded by a USFS non-motorized envelope into which you cannot bring a snowmobile. This envelope boundary restricts access to the huts in a 1/8 to 1/2 mile radius.

TMDHA also strongly discourages the use of snowmobiles for access to the huts. The hut system was created for non-motorized travel and snowmobile use detracts from this unique experience.

What is the Vail Pass Fee?

The Vail Pass Fee is a use fee charged by the Forest Service for winter recreation in the Vail Pass area. This area includes all of the Shrine Mountain Inn cabins and the Fowler Hillard, Jackal, and Janet’s huts. If you are booking a winter trip to any of these huts, the fee will be charged at the time you make your reservation.

Visitors pay one fee per night of hut booking, instead of per day as area day users do. For example, if you were going to spend Friday night at Jay’s you would only have to pay once, instead of paying for Friday and Saturday. The fee is for use in the area, not for parking at Vail Pass. It does not matter which trailhead you use to access the huts in this area, or where you park your car. The fee is $6.00 per adult. Children 14 and under are free.

What do I do in case of emergency?

Self-rescue is the responsibility of your group. If a member of your group is injured on the trail or at the hut, you cannot rely on outside help. Your group must be prepared and equipped for a bivouac, rescue, evacuation, equipment repair and any other unexpected mishap. Every group should have complete first aid and repair kits. However, in the event of a serious emergency, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office should be contacted at (970) 479-2200 or by dialing 911. Please note that there are no telephones in the cabins.

Before your trip, leave the following information with a responsible friend or relative:

  • Your automobile make and license plate, the trailhead you will be parking at, and the appropriate county sheriff’s phone number.
  • Your exact travel plans, including dates, huts to be used, ski routes, and your plans in the case of an emergency.

Is transportation available to or from the Vail Pass trailhead?

Yes, a number of companies offer transportation services in the Vail Pass area. Please see the TMDHA Website for more information.

What is the check in/check out time at Shrine Mountain Inn?

Hut turn around time is 1:00 pm. Please be considerate of other hut users by not arriving before 1:00 pm, and by having the hut clean and your bags packed before 12:00 noon on the day of your departure.

Can I get a private room?

Visiting Shrine Mountain Inn is an experience in communal living, and there are often several different groups at a hut each night. When you make a reservation, you are reserving sleeping space in a hut, not specific beds or rooms. You'll choose a place to sleep or work out sleeping arrangements with the other people at the hut when you arrive. All of the cabins at Shrine Mountain Inn have a few bedrooms with more privacy, but you cannot reserve these specific rooms in advance.

Can I take my dog to Shrine Mountain Inn?

No. Dogs are not permitted on summer or winter trips to Shrine Mountain Inn, nor are they allowed in the other TMDHA huts or in the area around the huts. Since you must melt snow for water at most of the huts, dogs present a serious health hazard. In addition, TMDHA and the Forest Service are very concerned about the problem of dogs harassing wildlife. 10th Mountain and the U. S. Forest Service take this rule very seriously and they ask that hut users help them encourage compliance. Please notify 10th Mountain if a party brings a dog to any of the huts.

What do we do for water?

At most 10th Mountain huts water must be collected by melting snow in the winter, and hauling it from nearby springs and streams in the summer. Shrine Mountain Inn is an exception, however, and has potable hot and cold running water at each cabin year round.

Can we build an outdoor fire or cook out at Shrine Mountain Inn?

Each of the cabins at Shrine Mountain Inn have a propane grill available for visitor use. Additionally, Shrine Mountain Inn has several metal fire pits with grates located near each hut. Colorado summers can be very dry and the US Forest Service will issue a fire ban when conditions become dangerous. It is your responsibility to find out in advance if there is a ban in effect. Forest Service Ranger District numbers are provided on the summer information sheet sent out with all summer reservations. 10th Mountain will occasionally close the fire pits at the huts. In extreme fire conditions, additional restrictions, such as closure of the wood burning stoves inside the huts, may be in place. Please respect any closure signs.

The process of buying, delivering, cutting, splitting, and stacking wood is expensive and time consuming. With the help of hut users, the maintenance costs and environmental impacts of cutting and burning firewood can be reduced. Please help us conserve wood!

Can we hold a wedding, party, or other special event at Shrine Mountain Inn?

Yes, however, parties, weddings, or special events are allowed from July 1st to October 1st only. Please visit the Events Page for more information on our guidelines and regulations.