Holy Cross Refuge
Central, Colorado, United States
Find a true escape at Holy Cross Refuge. Deep in the White River National Forest of Colorado, near the 14,009-foot Mt of the Holy Cross, sits a hidden mountain gem known to very few. Holy Cross Refuge is a destination all in itself, offering views of the surrounding craggy peaks and miles of hiking and skiing just out the door. Access is difficult, but the end result is well worth the effort.
With no neighbors, the surrounding wilderness is yours to explore. The Holy Cross Wilderness, just a stone’s throw away, provides countless opportunity for downhill or touring terrain, lakes, streams, and stunning peaks. Whether your sport be climbing, hiking, skiing, fat biking or fishing, you can enjoy them in endless pristine wilderness nearly any month of the year.
The one room cabin is perfect for two to three guests seeking a wilderness retreat that is away from it all. Here you’ll find a double bed, two cook stoves, dishes and utensils, and cozy fireplace that easily heats the small cabin. Just the essentials are provided for your off-grid escape. A tent and a couple thermarests and foam pads are provided if extra guests wish to join.
Location and Access
Near: Vail, CO and Leadville, CO
Summer: Hike or drive (2. 4 miles with about 1,500 ft of elevation gain). Most passenger cars can make it to Missouri Lakes Trailhead. Leaving 4.5 miles to hike on foot. Beyond here, the 759 road access requires a 4WD vehicle with high clearance and modified for intense terrain (winch, 33 inch tires, skid plates are recommended), which will take you all the way to the cabin. The road is open and driveable mid May to mid November.
Guests may also choose to hike in the 10.5 miles. There are various scenic routes on trails guests can use to access the cabin.
Winter: 10.5 mile ski, snowshoe, fat bike or snowmobile in. The road is gated and unplowed from late Nov to mid May. Depending on the year, the trek can be made on skis during that time. Though do come prepared to do some walking if your stay is in the late fall or late spring. The access is seven miles of flat roads followed by 3.5 miles of uphill. This last uphill part of the journey has about 2,000 feet of elevation gain with some rolling sections.
NOTE: If conditions are difficult, if snow is sticky or deep, this can take longer than expected. The road is unmarked and if deep snow covers tracks, route finding can be very difficult. Backcountry navigation experience, a GPS and topo map are essential.
This beautiful mountain terrain, just adjacent to the Holy Cross Wilderness, provides endless opportunity in a very remote area for:
Hiking, Skiing (backcountry), Snowshoeing, Snowmobiling, Climbing, Fat biking, Fishing, Jeeping, Trail running
Don’t miss the beautiful Fall Creek/ Seven Sisters Lakes and Missouri/Fancy Pass Loop hikes. These trails offer spectacular views of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Excellent climbing routes can be found at Mount of the Holy Cross ridge, accessible from Seven Sisters. Cleveland and Fancy lakes both offer great fishing.
One double bed. Ideal for two. There is room for a third guest to sleep on the floor. Can sleep up to six using provided sleeping pads and tent.
Winter (Nov 1 - May 21): Mon-Fri $40, Sat & Sun $50
Summer/Fall (May 22 - Oct 31): Mon-Fri $60, Sat & Sun $70
Extra guest fee: $15 per night for every guest over two
Cleaning fee: $20
Security Deposit: $400 (this will be charged to your card at time of booking and refunded after your stay)
What you need to bring
- Food and water
- Sleeping bags (four 0-10 degree bags are provided, guests must bring liners)
- Stove fuel (JetBoil/ MSR/ Snowpeak fuel and/or green Coleman propane cylinders)
- Please bring your own camp suds but, due to the fragile environment, use in moderation.
- Topo maps of the area (SkyTerrain Vail area map, USGS Holy Cross Wilderness, or Reudi Reservoir)
- Avalanche equipment - shovels, beacons, probes
- Please plan on bringing a little of your own wood to use in the indoor fireplace. It burns 6” lengths and is very efficient.
- Over-snow travel equipment (skis, snowshoes, etc)
- Single burner SnowPeak stove (Which uses JetBoil/ MSR/ Snowpeak fuel)
- Primus two burner propane stove (which uses small green Coleman propane cylinders)
- NRS LNT toilet -- uses bags to pack out your waste (bags provided)
- Four sleeping bags (0-10 deg) are provided for guest use. Please use liners with these bags.
- A couple thermarests and sleeping pads and two person tent provided.
Trailhead and Trail Information
Summer: The 4WD road can be challenging. It is generally best to walk up road 759 from the 727/759 intersection. If you choose to access the cabin via vehicle, a specially built jeep (one with Winch, 33s, skid plates) is needed for road access via 759 road.
There are many scenic routes to the cabin, and walking ten miles of road is boring. A couple options are to hike in from Minturn/ Tigiwon Road via fall creek (long but very scenic), hike up from the 757/ 727 intersection (2.5+ miles, most stock suvs/ newer subarus/ trucks will make it), or take the spur trail off of the Fancy/ Missouri Loop (about 4.5 miles from Fancy Lake trailhead). Refer to a SkyTerrain Vail area map, USGS Holy Cross Wilderness or Reudi Reservoir to plan your ascent accordingly. Gps coordinates will be provided once booking has been confirmed. A good topo map will show even more routes.
Winter: The road will be unplowed starting about 1/2 mile off 24.The first seven miles are flat, followed by 3.5 miles uphill on road 759. Guests may access the cabin using snowmobile, snowshoes, touring skis, or fat bikes from the parking area, which is often available at start of 703 road a little before bridge.
No smoking please.
No parties or events.
The cabin may not be suitable for children under 12.
Extra guest fee: $15 per night for every guest over two
Cleaning fee: $5
Security Deposit: $400
All guests must agree to follow Leave No Trace principles. Guests should be aware of the high elevation and difficult access. Bring plenty of water, fuel, and food.
Larger groups can be approved for camping. Please provide accurate group size when inquiring.
Check-in time is 3 pm.
Check out is 12 pm.
50% refund if canceled more than seven days prior to arrival.
No refund if canceled within seven days of reservation.
Well-behaved dogs are allowed.
Wood Burning Stove
Rates and Availability
|Weeknight||Weekend Night||Weekly||Monthly||Min Stay||Max Stay|
|Standard Rate||$50 / night||$50 / night||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Summer/Fall Rates (May 22 - Oct 31 2017)May 22 2017 - Oct 31 2017||$60 / night||$70 / night||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Summer/Fall Rates (May 22 - Oct 31 2018)May 22 2018 - Oct 31 2018||$60 / night||$70 / night||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|