Never Summer Yurts: Lower Montgomery Pass

This post is sponsored by Eddie Bauer and Travel+Leisure magazine.

I’m so excited to finally share our backcountry yurt adventure with y’all! The Never Summer Nordic Yurt system is located in Northern Colorado near Cameron Pass. I’ve heard about these yurts for years but instead, always opted for our traditional hut trips. However, this year we decided to live a little and branch out. We booked our trip for the weekend after Christmas. And with that, to Lower Montgomery Pass Yurt we went!


All media thanks to the crew at Caveman Collective


The interior of the yurt

Yurts are different than huts for a variety of reasons, but most notable is their size and shape. In essence, a yurt is a large teepee with a platform as a base. The Never Summer yurts hold five people ideally, and I wouldn’t advise that you pack more than that in there. Space is at a premium! Other than the beds, the small yurts hold a wood stove for heat, a single kerosene lantern for light, and a small kitchen area with a propane stove and two bins for washing dishes. It’s simple, it’s rustic, and it’s perfect for a mountain adventure.

We arrived at the trailhead late in the afternoon, but my excitement was already piqued: we saw a moose at the entrance station! I’ve never seen a moose in Colorado, so I was wild with excitement as I leaned out the car window to take a photo. Say what you will, but I’m pretty sure that our furry welcoming committee was a good luck charm for the rest of our trip.

In the winter, most people trek into the yurts via snowshoes, cross country skis, or backcountry ski gear. Our crew chose backcountry ski/snowboard gear, so we quickly loaded our packs and Pulk sled, put our skins on our skis, and began the wintry voyage to the yurt. It was 3:45 by the time Will and I left the car, so I was a tad concerned about the approaching darkness. The skin into the yurt is fairly short and easy–2.8 miles with 850 feet of elevation gain–but you never know what will happen in the backcountry. As a result, we kept a quick pace as we hightailed our way into the forest.

The first 1.8 miles is very flat and we covered the distance in no time. The last mile includes the entirety of the elevation gain, so our pace became slower as the skyline grew black. We finally reached our yurt under the cover of darkness and set about cozying in.


The yurt after dark. So cozy!

Pro tip: if you find yourself on a yurt trip and want to play a fun game, I don’t suggest our version of “How Hot Can It Get?” We stoked the fire so much that the interior temp was nearing 90 degrees….with an outside temp of -7. Yup, that’s almost a 100 degree temp difference and sleeping inside was HOT!

Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny with stunning views and powder as far as the eyes could see. The views from the deck were surreal as the untouched snow glittered in the sunshine. The temps were surprisingly cold, so I bundled up in all of the new gear that Eddie Bauer sent me for the trip. We were going skiing!

EB Collage

Featured: the Downlight StormDown Hooded Jacket, the Alchemist 40 pack, and the Kara Koram 20 StormDown sleeping bag


Featured: the Microtherm StormDown vest and the Incendiary 1/4 Zip shirt

From the yurt, we hopped on the Bockman Campground Road and began skinning towards treeline. Treeline is typically between 11,500-12,000 feet, so we had a ways to go; our yurt was situation at 9,600 feet. Regardless, we left the yurt with smiles on our face: any day with fresh snow, sunny skies and Colorado mountains is a good one!


Featured: the Heli Guide gloves

We were the only skiers out there so we broke trail in sweaty silence as we climbed towards the sky. We all traveled at different paces so we gradually split into pairs, each of us enjoying the scenery in our own way. The trees were dripping with sparkling snow and the cold wind whistled through the thick pine needles. There truly is nothing like the silence you find in the Colorado backcountry. We even braved a small river crossing on our skis as we continued our trek upwards.




After a few hours, some of the girls turned around because of the bitterly cold temperatures. I pushed forward with the guys, dying to catch the views from above the trees. However, after another 30 minutes, I had to tap out. We’d been climbing for hours, breaking trail, and battling the cold; I was tired! Naturally, Will couldn’t let me turn around solo, so we sent the guys ahead as we sat down to remove our skins from the skis and store them inside my First Ascent Alchemist pack. At least the hard work was over; it was time to sail downhill!



We spent the rest of the daylight hours playing in the snow and enjoying our time away from civilization. I left my cell phone in the car, but even if I hadn’t, it is never turned on when I’m in the backcountry. There is a simple thrill when removed from everything, where most people can’t even find you. I enjoy the peace.




However, I sometimes can’t express it with my words, which is why I’m excited to share this with you! I teamed up with the crew at Caveman Collective, a team of creatives who specialize in photography and videography. They shot this brief video of our backcountry experience; hope you enjoy it!

Can’t see the video? Click here.

If You Go: Lower Montgomery Pass Yurt

Elevation: 9,600 feet

Elevation Gain: 853 feet from car

Difficulty: Intermediate

Avalanche Danger: None


What do you think?! Did y’all like the video? Want to come on my next yurt trip?!


  • Reply Michelle January 12, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    Looks like a winter wonderland! You are just helping to add to my list of reasons of why we need to take a trip to Colorado. It looks so beautiful! Great video too! 🙂

    • Reply heather January 12, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      Have you ever been here? I feel like you would love it!

  • Reply Sara from Sweden January 12, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    I love the photos and the video. So beautiful!!

    • Reply heather January 12, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      Thanks Sara, appreciate it!

  • Reply Heather @ FITaspire January 12, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    This looks absolutely amazing! I like the smaller size of the space vs the huts. I’m looking into this for sure!

    • Reply heather January 12, 2015 at 5:01 pm

      Then you would LOVE the Never Summer yurts! They are all capped at 5-7 people, and 4 is pretty comfortable. I did another one this past weekend that I’ll be writing about in the coming weeks!

  • Reply Heidi Nicole January 12, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Ha. I’m reading this while wearing that eggplant StormDown jacket with that vest in the mail as we speak… 🙂

    Looks like fun and I’m pumped for March’s yurt trip!

    • Reply heather January 12, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      Ha, clearly you’re outfitted for the trip already! 🙂

  • Reply Debbie @ Live from La Quinta January 12, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    Oh my gosh those are beautiful pictures! Wow! Yes, I’d love to go on a yurt trip with you (though -7 sounds a little crazy to this desert girl).

    • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 6:55 am

      Haha fair enough! It was pretty chilly outside, even to me!

  • Reply Ericka @ The Sweet Life January 13, 2015 at 4:07 am

    AMAZING post. Those photos are so good. Great job girl!

    • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 6:55 am

      Thanks Ericka!

  • Reply Madeline @ FoodFitandFam January 13, 2015 at 4:18 am

    Seriously – you live in such a wonderland! Colorado is on our short list of places to move and your posts always make me want to make it #1!

    • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 6:56 am

      I may be biased but…DO IT. I love it here!

  • Reply Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb January 13, 2015 at 5:32 am

    Absolutely gorgeous! Will always does a fantastic job of photographing and you documenting with words. I especially like the nighttime photo =)

    • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 6:56 am

      That was one of my favorites too– it makes the yurt so cozy looking, despite the frigid temps!

  • Reply Amanda Brooks January 13, 2015 at 6:07 am

    Absolutely gorgeous!!! I am such a fan of snowshoeing I bet I would adore this too.

    • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 6:57 am

      Absolutely– so many people snowshoe into these backcountry yurts. I’ve done it a few times too. Maybe you’ll have to visit one day and we’ll plan a trip!

  • Reply Maureen January 13, 2015 at 6:22 am

    Holy moly, that picture of the yurt at night….GORGEOUS! I want to stay in a yurt {but not one that is 90 degrees}!

    • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 6:57 am

      Haha to be fair, I didn’t want to be in the yurt when it was that hot either!

  • Reply misszippy January 13, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Beautiful, beautiful pictures! Great adventure and you’re just the girl for it!

    • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 11:08 am

      Thanks Amanda! When are we going to get YOU out to Colorado?!

  • Reply Hayley@healthyregardshayley January 13, 2015 at 8:26 am

    Yes! Take me on a yurt trip! And cross country skiing, I love!

    And idk maybe I am going out on a limb here but I think you should stop posting so many beautiful pictures of Colorado because before we know it everyone will be making their move! (;

    • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 11:09 am

      Ha ’tis true– there are definitely more people here then when I was a kid!

  • Reply Kovas - Midwest Multisport Life January 13, 2015 at 8:29 am

    What a great trip – super inspiring video!

    • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 11:10 am

      Thanks Kovas! The guys at Caveman did a great job with the video, huh?!

  • Reply Art January 13, 2015 at 9:11 am

    This looks like a ton of fun, but it is so far from my range of experiences that I have a hard time imagining myself ever doing something like this. I have been intrigued by yurts since seeing a special on some set up as an artists retreat in South France, and also because I love the somewhat trendy simple living and tiny living movements that have been going on lately, as well. However, I don’t have the first idea what a skin for a ski is, and I’ve never had to ski to get to anywhere in my life! (an unfortunate bi-product of being raised in a city and having no family with outdoors experience whatsoever) However, I can’t say that I’m not drawn to the remoteness and the idea of disconnecting entirely. Nor can I say that I wouldn’t love to have the experience and/or ability on skis or shoes to pull of a trip of this nature. This looks pristine and so gorgeous. The idea of waking to untouched powder outside my door, no roads nearby, and adventure in my midst is why I strive to live my weekends to the fullest, and a post such as this makes it seem as though it is somehow there…if only my hands would reach in the right direction. Thanks for the posting, Heather.

    • Reply Kirsten January 13, 2015 at 10:30 am


      Everyone has to start somewhere! I recommend you join a group that does trips like this. Check out for a group in your area. It’s great to find other people with more experience, who can help you along the way. A lot of these backcountry huts can be rented in the summer too, so no need for skins, skis or snowshoes. The website for the hut system Heather used is Best wishes in your new adventure!


      • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 11:12 am

        Great idea with the Kirsten! I’ve never tried them but I’ve heard they are wonderful for meeting like-minded individuals.

      • Reply Art January 13, 2015 at 3:11 pm

        Thanks so much for the info and the ideas Kirsten!

    • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 11:12 am

      You could do this, Art! For your knowledge, a “skin” is essentially a piece of carpet that you stick to the bottom of your skis. It makes it so you can travel on the snow, but if you slide backwards, the carpet stands up almost and prevents you from sliding back down the hill. When you want to actually ski downhill, you simply remove the skins and store them in your backpack!

      Sounds like you need to make a trip to CO! If you’re ever out this way, I’d be happy to get you into an introductory backcountry experience. I’ve taken plenty of first timers and I know you’d enjoy it based on your comments over the years! 🙂

      • Reply Art January 13, 2015 at 3:15 pm

        I do need a trip to CO, and I would be ecstatic to go on a CO backcountry experience! Thank you, also, for telling me a bit about the equipment, it’s genius.

        • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 6:19 pm

          It is pretty cool, huh? Carpets for skis!

  • Reply lynne January 13, 2015 at 9:31 am

    awesome photos!!

    • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 11:13 am

      Thanks lady! (Like how I pretend that I have any responsibility for them?!) The crew at Caveman is talented!

  • Reply Jeff Hester January 13, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Beautiful photos, Heather! Makes me want to check take a cross-country skiing adventure to a yurt.

    • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 11:13 am

      Thanks Jeff! You should do it! Or, you know, maybe venture a bit to the east and come on a trip with us 🙂

  • Reply Kirsten January 13, 2015 at 10:32 am

    Thanks for sharing! We’re doing a trip to Clark Peak Yurt in March. Wish I could go now!

    • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 11:13 am

      Oh fun! Let me know how it goes??

  • Reply Wendy @ Wholistic Woman January 13, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    That looks like a FABULOUS trip! I’ve always wanted to stay in a yurt. Also, this past weekend I watched the Pretty Faces video which is about women skiiers. That and this post make me want to try some downhill this year!

    • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      Pretty Faces is awesome! If you liked that film, you should definitely stay tuned– I may or may not be working on a similar project 🙂

  • Reply Jamie King January 13, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    I would LOVE to be on this trip, looks soooo incredible!!

    • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      Thanks Jamie!

  • Reply Christine @ Love, Life, Surf January 13, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Totally speechless at this amazing adventure. And the photos and video – I mean, incredible and beautiful. This totally makes me want to take more winter adventures. Love this.

    • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 6:18 pm

      Come on out and adventure!

  • Reply mistybottles January 13, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    You live in a kind of paradise. The best of it seems that it is not cold at all like it is here today in Montreal Canada at -18C. Lol

    • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      I definitely love it here 🙂 But it actually was colder than that! -18 C is around 0 Fahrenheit, right? It was actually -10 Fahrenheit on this trip, or -23 C! I just bundled up in a lot of layers but my face was wind burned for a few days.

  • Reply Mary Anne Surcouf January 13, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    I am wondering where you are originally from, since you used “y’all”! This looks fabulous! I have been interested in yurts for a long time, just haven’t done it yet. Great story and pictures!

    • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      Hey Mary Anne! You know, it’s funny because I am actually a Colorado native, born and raised. Maybe I picked up “y’all” back when CO was all cowboys?! 🙂 Truthfully, I write the word a lot more than I say it in real life. And if you’re interested in a yurt, definitely check these out!

  • Reply Grainne January 13, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Wow, that looks beyond beautiful! A new thing to put on my bucket list.

    • Reply heather January 13, 2015 at 7:21 pm

      Do it! I’m sure you’ll love it 🙂

  • Reply Farrah January 13, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    This is so beautiful, it almost looks unreal! I’ve always wanted to visit Colorado, but unfortunately haven’t gotten past sleeping under some chairs at the Denver airport thus far (sigh). You’ve kinda sealed the deal here with those breathtakingly gorgeous pictures. <3

    • Reply heather January 14, 2015 at 7:17 am

      Oh man, and DIA is so far from EVERYTHING! 🙂 Hopefully you get a trip in soon!

  • Reply Becki @ Bites 'n Brews January 13, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    Yep. Definitely want to join!

  • Reply Genny January 15, 2015 at 1:23 am

    yeah! let’s go explore! we can’t wait to watch the sequel.

    • Reply heather January 15, 2015 at 8:42 am

      Sequel! I like the sounds of that! 🙂

  • Reply Krysten January 15, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    Can I please go adventuring with you?! Those photos are stunning!! And I want go too!

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  • Reply Konstantin March 2, 2015 at 2:25 am

    Wonderful! Winter, snow, ski… Nice pictures as well 🙂
    Yurt is pleasing too )))
    Meanwhile why is it yurt? Because of the shape? But as I know its walls should be made of wool and textile. Am I wrong? Like here:

  • Reply Emily March 12, 2018 at 11:01 am

    If I’m honest, the idea of a skiing holiday has never been at the top of my list, however these photos are breathtaking! I didn’t think the snow would actually look that crisp unless on a postcard.

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