The Huts > Privately Owned > Shrine Mountain Inn > Jay’s Cabin

Shrine Mountain Inn Jay’s Cabin

Shrine Mountain Inn sits high atop Vail Pass, nestled among the pines. At an elevation of 11,200+ feet, it offers spectacular views in every direction. An ideal first hut trip or weekend getaway, the standard routes in summer and winter to these cabins is just 2.7 miles. Whether you are drawn by the brilliant wildflowers of summer or the new powder of winter, Shrine Mountain Inn offers backcountry adventure and solitude for all.

Shrine Mountain Inn is comprised of three rustic log cabins: Jay’s, Chuck’s, and Walter’s. Jay’s sleeps 12 and can be booked by the space, Chuck’s and Walter’s are both divided in to an upstairs and a downstairs unit – each sleeping 6 – you must book all of the spaces in these units. The combined capacity of all 3 cabins is 36.

Jay’s Cabin is named in honor of Jay Utter, who purchased the land in 1960. Jay’s good friend, Chuck Anderson, is remembered by Chuck’s Cabin. Walter’s cabin is named in memory of 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 not only have spent more than 40 years in the Vail Valley, but most – including Jay Utter and Chuck Anderson – either shared a background of summers in Wisconsin, growing up in Illinois, or long years of friendships in Vail. Construction of Jay’s Cabin began in the summer of 1987 and 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 cut near Eagle in the Brush Creek area and the Flattops north of Glenwood Springs.

Hut Information

Owned By

Privately Owned

Open

Summer / Winter

Winter Mileage*

2.7

Closest Town

Copper Mountain

Hut Elevation

11,223'

Cumulative Elevation Gain*

615'

Layout

Main Level: 1 bedroom with a queen. Upstairs: 1 bedroom with a double bed, 1 bedroom with 2 single beds, 1 single bed in the hall. Downstairs: 5 single beds in a communal sleeping area.

*from Vail Pass Trailhead

Amenities

Heat

Wood, Propane Fireplace

Oven

Propane

Refrigeration

Yes

Water

Running

Toilet

Flush Toilet

Ada Accessible

No

Sauna

Yes

Fire Ring

Yes*

Grill

Yes

Dogs

No

Charging

120V

Gear Cart

No

* Summer only

Details

  • Firewood, starter paper, matches, axes
  • Propane for kitchen burners, oven, refrigerator, downstairs fireplace and grill on deck
  • Potable hot and cold running water in kitchen and 2 indoor bathrooms
  • Bathrooms have flush toilets and toilet paper, main level bathroom has bath, upstairs bathroom has shower
  • Wood-fired sauna available year-round, located in separate building near Chuck’s, shared by all 3 cabins
  • Firepit summer only
  • Pots, pans, potholders, dishware, cooking and eating utensils, French press, salt & pepper
  • Paper towels, dish soap, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, trash bags
  • Mattresses, pillows

Book This Hut

Capacity

12

Price

$55/person/night*
*Children 12 & Under 50% Off

Visit our Online Booking Platform to search for availability and book this hut.

Location

39.543633, -106.245003

Official 10th Mountain Division Map

CalTopo

Winter Map : Camp Hale N/S Map

View / Print

National Geographic

Map : Eagles Nest/Holy Cross

USFS

Map : White River National Forest

Trailheads/Routes

The Vail Pass area is a great place for skiers, snowshoers, snowmobilers, and other visitors to recreate in the winter. The views are spectacular, the snow is usually quite good, and the area is actively managed by the US Forest Service which generally means a better experience for all users. The most popular route for hut visitors to the Shrine Mountain Inn is via the designated non-motorized route from Vail Pass to the Shrine Mountain Inn. An alternative choice is to follow the designated multi-use route that is groomed for snowmobiles and follows the summer road platform. If using the latter, trael single file, expect and respect all users on the route. Great day trip opportunities include traveling up to Wingle Ridge, Shrine Mountain, or heading out for an out-and-back adventure on the Commando Run.

Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area Fee

This hut is located in the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area. Use of this hut during most of the winter requires payment of additional fees to the U.S. Forest service that will be charged at the time you make your reservation. This is not a parking fee; it applies regardless of which trailhead is used. The $10.00 per person per night fee is in effect from Thanksgiving through the end of April, children 15 and under are free.

Routes

Jay's Cabin from Vail Pass Trailhead/Standard Winter Route

Total Mileage

2.7

Trailhead Elevation

10,580'

Cumulative Elevation Gain

615'

Jay's Cabin from Red Cliff Trailhead

Total Mileage

8.36

Trailhead Elevation

8,809'

Cumulative Elevation Gain

2,421'

Jay's Cabin to Vail Ski Area via Commando Run (and Reverse)/Challenging Winter Route

Total Mileage

15.7

Trailhead Elevation

8,220'

Cumulative Elevation Gain

5,051'

Hut to Hut/Jay's Cabin to Fowler-Hilliard Hut

Total Mileage

6.8

Trailhead Elevation

11,223'

Cumulative Elevation Gain

1,323'

Cumulative Elevation Loss

1,016'

The main summer access to the Shrine Mountain Inn Cabins is hiking, biking or driving up Shrine Pass Road to the huts. Please note though that the Shrine Pass Road is seasonally closed until June 21st each year, regardless of conditions. For a truly challenging mountain bike ride you can also try riding up the Commando Run from Vail. There are no established summer hiking trails to this hut. Vehicle access is never guaranteed to any hut at any time.

For day hiking you can follow the trail from the huts to the top of Shrine Ridge for spectacular views of the Gore Range. Mountain bikers or hikers can also take the Commando Run down into Vail, just figure out a shuttle back to the hut before you leave.

Summer Hut Information PDF

Routes

4WD High Clearance to Shrine Mountain Inn from Vail Pass via FS Road 709 (Shrine Pass Road)

Total Mileage

2.7

Trailhead Elevation

10,580'

Cumulative Elevation Gain

615'

4WD High Clearance to Shrine Mountain Inn from Red Cliff via FS Road 709 (Shrine Pass Road)

Total Mileage

9.3

Trailhead Elevation

8,809'

Cumulative Elevation Gain

2,599'

Weather

Current Condition

Today

Slight Chance Snow Showers then Chance Showers And Thunderstorms
51˚ F

Slight Chance Snow Showers then Chance Showers And Thunderstorms

16 to 24 mph
Winds

A slight chance of snow showers before 9am, then a slight chance of rain showers between 9am and noon, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms between noon and 1pm, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms between 1pm and 4pm, then showers and thunderstorms likely. Partly sunny. High near 51, with temperatures falling to around 46 in the afternoon. South wind 16 to 24 mph, with gusts as high as 38 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Tonight

Chance T-storms
26˚ F

Chance T-storms

8 to 12 mph
Winds

A chance of thunderstorms and rain and snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 26. Southwest wind 8 to 12 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Tuesday

Slight Chance Snow Showers
40˚ F

Slight Chance Snow Showers

10 to 18 mph
Winds

A slight chance of snow showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms before 3pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 40. West wind 10 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

Tuesday Night

Mostly Cloudy then Slight Chance Snow Showers
23˚ F

Mostly Cloudy then Slight Chance Snow Showers

6 to 16 mph
Winds

A slight chance of snow showers after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 23. West southwest wind 6 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Wednesday

Slight Chance Snow Showers
42˚ F

Slight Chance Snow Showers

6 to 14 mph
Winds

A slight chance of snow showers before noon, then a slight chance of snow showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms between noon and 3pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 42. West wind 6 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

Wednesday Night

Mostly Clear
21˚ F

Mostly Clear

6 to 13 mph
Winds

Mostly clear, with a low around 21.

Thursday

Sunny
49˚ F

Sunny

6 to 13 mph
Winds

Sunny, with a high near 49.

Thursday Night

Clear
24˚ F

Clear

10 mph
Winds

Clear, with a low around 24.

Friday

Sunny
51˚ F

Sunny

8 to 12 mph
Winds

Sunny, with a high near 51.

Friday Night

Mostly Clear
26˚ F

Mostly Clear

10 mph
Winds

Mostly clear, with a low around 26.

Saturday

Sunny
53˚ F

Sunny

9 to 13 mph
Winds

Sunny, with a high near 53.

Saturday Night

Mostly Clear
27˚ F

Mostly Clear

7 to 10 mph
Winds

Mostly clear, with a low around 27.

Sunday

Sunny
51˚ F

Sunny

7 to 12 mph
Winds

Sunny, with a high near 51.

Sunday Night

Mostly Clear
27˚ F

Mostly Clear

7 to 12 mph
Winds

Mostly clear, with a low around 27.

Raw Data

Contents

Notices

Avalanche Hazard Information

Colorado is known for its avalanche prone snowpack. A number of the suggested routes to 10th Mountain Division Huts pass through or are next to terrain that may be prone to avalanches. Accordingly, pick the suggested route that most suits your group and its abilities, carry appropriate equipment, and always exercise prudent backcountry travel techniques when passing through avalanche prone terrain. Remember, avalanches can occur in forested areas and can run into forested areas from open slopes. Moreover, a number of huts booked are situated in the midst of extreme avalanche terrain. Many other huts, while located in more modest terrain, still have access routes that cross avalanche paths.

We strongly suggest that someone in every group be experienced in evaluating avalanche and snow stability hazards and practicing prudent backcountry and winter mountain travel techniques. For up to date avalanche information for all of Colorado, visit the website for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC). Another excellent resource is the Forest Service National Avalanche Center website. While this site doesn’t have local forecasts it does have a wealth of information on backcountry travel in avalanche terrain and snow science, as well as tutorials on some basic skills and snow science.

We recommend that you start checking the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) Website regularly before your trip to see how conditions are evolving. Study your maps to see what type of terrain you will be traveling through to see if there are alternative routes that might be feasible if snow stability conditions deteriorate. During most of the winter, travel to the huts, other than those in the Braun Hut System, is possible with a relatively minor degree of risk. However, if your trip falls within a period or cycle of high or extreme instability, you must make the decision of whether or not to go. The huts are always open. While deep snow, bad weather, and white-out conditions are to be anticipated on any trip, a hut credit may be issued if a trip is cancelled due to avalanche danger associated with an extreme avalanche cycle. To be considered for a hut credit, please send us a detailed letter and we will respond in writing as soon as we can. We are sorry, but hut credits can not be approved over the phone.

The following observations were collected from staff members, guides and hut users. We welcome new information. Avalanche size/destructive force is based on SWAG-Snow, Weather and Avalanche Guidelines of the American Avalanche Association

Size-Destructive Force

    • D1 Relatively harmless to humans
    • D2 Could bury or injure a person
    • D3 Could bury a car, damage a truck, destroy a wood frame house, or break a few trees
    • D4 Could destroy a railroad car, large truck, several buildings, or a substantial amount of forest.
    • D5 Could gouge the landscape, largest snow avalanches known.

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