Abajo Mountains Trip Report: The Utah Ski Hut You’ve Probably Never Heard Of…

Jason Ringenberg | | Trip ReportTrip Report
The Bothy Wagon Hut by moonlight

In a remote mountain range hidden away in the desert of southeast Utah, there is a cozy hut perched on an impressive mountain ridgeline. Right outside the door, there are endless possibilities for powder skiing and riding. From low angle trees to 2000 foot long open bowls, it’s nearly impossible to go wrong. The best part? There’s nobody else there.

The Bothy Wagon hut by Roam Industry is a Tiny-house like structure perched at nearly 11,000 ft in the Abajo Mountains of southern Utah. If you are looking to get way out there and enjoy an authentic backcountry hut experience, this opportunity will not disappoint. Your options for obtaining the ridge location of this hut require serious expertise and knowledge in navigating winter backcountry terrain. Therefore, I would only recommend it to those with years of experience. For those that take the challenge, the rewards are far worth it.

Getting to the Wagon

The skin into the hut is long and uphill nearly the whole way. Because of this, it punishes those that bring too much. However, from the trailhead to shelter, you are provided with stunning views of the range. The scenery seems to make all the uphill toil manageable. After several hours of skinning on an old forest road, you reach a mountain pass, and everything opens up. At this point, you get an idea of what you’re getting yourself into. And it doesn’t disappoint.

Things are getting interesting…

During the next stage of the pilgrimage, there’s some meandering through a beautiful alpine forest. Eventually, the trail spits you out onto a higher mountain pass that reveals vast, incredible terrain. This is the zone the hut primarily accesses, and It’s your very own alpine playground. Minimal folks will have the time or ambition to get out this far in a day. By this point, the weight on your back almost seems like it disappears as you let your mind wander through the possibilities of the epic skiing that awaits you.

Alpine Paradise

Arriving at the Wagon

The first views of the hut are delightful. It’s on an incredible mountain ridgeline with nearly 360 views of the Abajo Range and surrounding desert landscape. Inside the shelter, there is a little woodstove with stocked firewood, a couch that folds out, and a little table that folds down into a bed. You’ll find a giant pot for stashing snow, and a smaller pot for melting it. There are a castiron skillet and a smaller skillet for cooking, as well as plates, bowls, cups, cooking utensils, and silverware. There are tubs, dish soap, sponges, and paper towels for washing up. Roam has even supplied a few extra wool blankets in case things get cold. You do need to bring your primary sleeping setup, but otherwise, the hut is stocked enough to fit the most basic needs.

All in all, the hut sleeps 4.

Interior of the Bothy Wagon Hut

Time To Find The Goods

With your basecamp all set up and accounted for, it’s time to go exploring. From the hut, you can access terrain at nearly every slope angle and almost every aspect. Open bowls, mellow tree skiing, and thousands of feet of vert are all very short skins away. On our trip, the snow blew around quite a bit, so our options were limited as far as soft snow is concerned. After hunting around and evaluating the terrain, we soon found soft powder snow on a lower-angle west facing aspect. The turns were glorious, and the views were stunning. It was exactly what we had hoped to find on this trip.

The Author Found Powder

Settling Into The Hut

Returning to the hut at the end of the day is arguably the best part. The location of the hut is situated ideally for sunset. It’s a treat to kick off your boots, put on some down booties, get the fire going, and watch the sunset over the Abajo Range and the desert of southern Utah. You can even see the canyon country of Bears Ears National Monument from the top.

Sunset views

When the sun goes down, the hut gets cozy. The lantern’s turn on, the woodburning stove cranks, and the real charm of the setting sets in. There are ample places to hang and dry out gear and plenty of sitting space to talk and hang out. Much of the night is spent melting water and preparing for the next day, as well as cooking dinner. Once you’ve gotten settled in, there are many mountain-related books to choose from in the cabin library, which we took advantage of with hot cocoa and tea in hand.

Getting cozy!

Leaving The Hut

Once your stay has come to an end, and all chores have been taken care of, its virtually one big run down to the car. I was able to do the entire thing with my splitboard in snowboard mode, albeit with minor one-foot suffering and pole wielding. It’s about an hour and a half of playful riding straight back to the car.

This trip was one of my favorite winter trips, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for an off the beaten path backcountry skiing adventure. If you’d like to reserve the hut, check-in with Roam Industry here for availability.


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