Hut hut hike! Situated near timberline in the White River National Forest, outdoorists will find Francie’s Cabin cozied away off Peak 10 in Breckenridge, Colorado. The hut is named after Frances Bailey who died in a plane crash in 1989. Now standing in her name is a 20 person cabin connecting strangers as friends after taking a trek through the back country to top off at 11,264 feet.
As far as hut trips go, Francie’s marked as an intermediate trail, is an excellent start for beginner backpackers. About two miles up the Spruce Creek Trail head you will meet the smells of burning firewood and the doors of the warming cabin. There are six bedrooms with bunks and twin sized beds spread throughout. The large comfortable seating area, window seats with comfy pads or the upstairs library are excellent places to wind down. The view from the porch looks across several peaks. Uphill from Francie’s are steep spring skiing runs and winter backcountry tree skiing.
The beauty of a hut trip is the appeal of “toughing” it in the backcountry without packing up all the necessary gear. Inside the solar-powered cabin, you will find a wood burning stove equipped with firewood, propane cook tops, indoor composting bathrooms, twin size bunks with mattresses and pillows, cooking and eating utensils and cleaning supplies.
There is also a sauna fueled by a wood stove next door the cabin. Winter hut users will find large pots at the huts for melting snow.Which means all you really need to bring is a sleeping bag, food, and clothes to match the season.
Remember to pack out what you pack in and leave the cabin in the order you found it. The cabin is open July 1 to September 30 for summer and Thanksgiving through the first week in May. Reservations are made with the 10th Mountain Division Hut System at http://www.Huts.org or (970)-925-5775. Keep in mind huts are booked to a 20 person capacity. The price is $35 a night per person.
The Trail to Francie’s: There are a few trail options to getting to Francie’s depending on the level of difficulty you are looking for. You can either ski, or snowshoe in the winter or hike in the summer. You can take either the Crystal Creek (1.09 miles), the Spruce Creek (1.8 miles) or the Burro Trail Head (2.96 miles)
Visit http://www.huts.org/ to find out what hut suits you best.