Tucked away at the edge of the Hunter-Frying Pan Wilderness, high above Aspen, the Benedict Huts are beautifully crafted cabins built in 1997 to honor the late Fritz Benedict and his wife, Fabi, the spiritual parents of the 10th Mountain Division Hut System. Fritz and a small group of Aspenites first conceived of the hut system in the early 1980s, modeled on European mountain refuges Fritz had seen as a Tenth Mountain Division trooper during World War II. The 10th Mountain Hut System started as a trail network and has matured into the premier hut system of the Colorado Rockies.
The Benedict Huts are adjoined by boardwalks on a remote, wooded hilltop surrounded by a vast and virtually untouched winter wilderness. Hut access is via Hunter Creek or Smuggler Mountain, where one may ski right from Aspen. For advanced ski tourers who enjoy a route-finding challenge, the Benedict Huts offer a rarely traveled link to the McNamara Hut, via Hunter Creek and Bald Knob. For outhouse aficionados, there is no finer facility than the shared commode at Benedict Huts, with its glassed-in wall fronting the dense forest wilderness.
Layout and capacity: Fritz Hut has 3 small bedrooms with double beds, 3 single beds in the main room, and 1 daybed that doubles as a couch. Capacity is 10. Fabi's has single daybeds that double as couches, a double bed in the main room, and 1 separate bedroom with a double bed. Capacity is 6 and hut must be booked by a single party.
Hut Location: The Benedict Huts are located in a vast backcountry area at 10,970' about 5 miles southeast of Aspen, Colorado. [locator map]
Dates Open: Summer: Closed. Winter: Thanksgiving through 30 April
Owned By: 10th Mountain Division Hut Association Oven: propane Sauna: No
The main winter route into the Benedict huts follows parts of the Smuggler Mountain Road. The route climbs steeply out of the Hunter Creek Valley over the first 3 miles to gain the long, gradual ridge on the top of Smuggler Mountain. The last 3 miles follows the ridge line with one short, steep climb just before the hut.
The huts can also be reached from the McNamara Hut but half of this trail passes through a Primitive Wilderness Area and we are unable to mark the trail at all. This trail is rarely traveled and should only be attempted by experienced backcountry travelers.
Winter Trail Access