How far is it to the huts?
The trek to Copper Creek Hut is:
- 3.2 miles with 800′ of elevation gain from upper sno-park;
- 4.3 miles with 1,070′ of elevation gain from middle sno-park (least frequently used); and
- 5.4 miles with 1,570′ of elevation gain from lower sno-park (most frequently used).
High Hut and Bruni’s Snow Bowl Hut are both approximately:
- 3.0 miles with 1,800′ of elevation gain from upper sno-park; and
- 4.0 miles with 2,400′ of elevation gain from lower sno-park.
The Yurt is an additional 2.5 miles with 400′ of elevation gain past Snow Bowl Hut.
How difficult is the hike?
You should be prepared for backcountry travel, carry the 10 essentials, and be ready to turn around if you can’t make it to the hut. Our main trails are usually groomed, but there are many days when the snow is fresh, ungroomed, and you will have to snowshoe or ski through deep snow to get to the hut. All trail users should be fit for hiking uphill in the snow for 5.0 miles or more, with a pack on.
In summer crushed rock/gravel is sometimes placed on the main trails.
What do I need to bring?
You will need your sleeping bag, personal clothing, food and the 10 essentials for backcountry travel.
Will my cell phone work?
Cell phone coverage in the area has improved since the installation of a cell phone tower near Ashford in the Fall of 2018. Nonetheless, you should not rely on your cell phone to work for emergency communication.
What parking permits do I need?
During the winter season, which typically runs from November 1 to April 30, a Washington State Parks Sno-Park Permit is required. You can purchase a $50 annual non-motorized sno-park permit; daily $25 sno-park permits can also be used.
For the rest of the season, a WA State Discover Pass is required.
Where can I buy a map or rent gear?
Stop in at Whittaker Mountaineering in Ashford for maps, great gear at good prices, and on-the-spot information. MTTA thanks you for your patronage of our strongest supporting business.
What is the water source?
In winter, you will gather snow in buckets and melt it for water. Water filters are provided, and you should filter, boil or treat your water. In summer, water collected in rain barrels at each hut is used.
Water systems with electric pumps at both Copper Creek Hut and Snow Bowl Hut have been installed. The systems pump snow melt/rain water through the sink faucets. When the system at Snow Bowl Hut does not work, you can access water from the faucet under the main stairwell.
What is provided at the huts?
MTTA provides all the cookware, utensils, dishes, dish soap, toilet paper, cleaning supplies and sleeping mats. Each hut is heated with a propane fireplace, has solar lighting and a propane range/oven.
Will I be sharing the hut with other people?
Our huts are open to the public from 7 am to 7 pm daily, so the common kitchen and dining areas may be used by day visitors. Please keep the common areas tidy so all visitors can easily share the space. For overnight stays, the huts are reservable to their individual capacity; if you are a smaller party it is likely that you will be making some new friends, particularly in peak season!
What are the toilet arrangements?
Outhouses are located outside the huts.
Can we get a ride, or get our gear hauled to the huts?
MTTA volunteers are not allowed to give rides or haul gear on the grooming machines. In normal operating conditions, we offer a Porter Service where a volunteer will haul gear for you on a pulk, for a donation to MTTA. If this service returns, we will post instructions here on how to request it.
Can I bring my dog to the hut?
Your dog is welcome on our South District trails (High Hut, Bruni’s Snow Bowl Hut and Yurt side), but dogs are not allowed in the buildings, including the mudrooms and vestibules. Please be aware that it can get bitterly cold at night, so you might consider leaving your dog with a friend or at a kennel. A number of our guests have allergies to dog dander, and rather than risk an allergic reaction in the backcountry, we ask your consideration and cooperation in leaving your dog outside.
No dogs are allowed on our North District trails (Copper Creek Hut side) because the trails cross into a wildlife preserve.
Service dogs are welcome anywhere on the trail system, including in the buildings.
Can I use a snowmobile on the trails?
The trail system is for non-motorized recreational use. Only authorized motorized equipment (grooming machines, service vehicles, etc.) are allowed beyond the gates.
Can I use a mountain bike on the trails?
Mountain bikes are allowed on the South District trails during the summer season (High Hut, Bruni’s Snow Bowl Hut and Yurt side). Keep in mind that the trails are moderately steep and in sections are covered with crushed rock and gravel, all of which can result in challenging conditions for mountain biking.
Mountain bikes cannot be used on our North District trails (Copper Creek Hut side) because the trails cross into a wildlife preserve.
Do I need a key to get in the hut?
Our facilities are not locked and are open to the public all day from 7 am to 7 pm. At night, reservation holders are the only ones allowed in the hut.
How do I find out about road and trail conditions?
We do not post current road or trail conditions on our web site. The home page has links to weather forecasts and the MTTA Twitter feed, which is updated by volunteers. You can also visit the MTTA Facebook fan group, where people who have recently visited the trails and huts readily share information.
When do reservations open for the winter season?
Each Fall we hold a Reservation Gala at the Seattle REI. Since demand for winter reservations greatly exceeds supply, reservations at Gala are made through a fundraiser lottery system: people make donations for which they receive tickets that are entered into the lottery. Tickets are drawn at random to determine the order in which reservations are made. Online reservations for the rest of the season open a few days after Gala.
Gala for the upcoming season (November 2023 to October 2024) will be held at Highline College (Seattle REI is not available this fall). A flyer with information is posted on the home page.
How do I receive the reservation permit?
Once you make a reservation, your permit/booking confirmation will be e-mailed to you at the e-mail address you entered when making the reservation. We do not send permits via regular mail. If you do not receive your permit/booking confirmation, or if you have lost it, please email us with as much information about your reservation as possible (permit/booking ID, hut and date) and we will follow up with you.
What is the refund policy?
Due to our public usage mandate with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, there are no refunds for cancellations, because presumably another party would have reserved the hut if you had not. However, if an MTTA volunteer is available, we will assist you with processing a cancellation; if we are able to fill your cancelled spots, you will receive a refund for the number of refilled spots (please use this email for cancellation requests).
What other rules do I need to observe?
MTTA volunteers and trail users practice Leave No Trace principles. Hut guests should refer to Hut Etiquette for instructions on use of our huts and yurt. Terms and Conditions contain additional information for overnight stays.
How do I contact MTTA?
You may call our Ashford office at (360) 569-2451 and reach a volunteer from 9 am to 5 pm during winter weekends only (mid December to mid April each year). You may also email us. Please keep in mind that our volunteers tend to many additional life obligations and cannot provide 24/7 customer service. The amount of time it takes us to address questions is linearly related to the agreeableness of ski and mountain recreation forecasts.
How can I support MTTA?
MTTA is run as an all volunteer organization. You can support MTTA by becoming a member, providing financial support (donate) or joining our group of volunteers. Ski Patrol volunteers oversee use of the system and trail and hut maintenance is performed with volunteer labor. Please email us if you would like to join MTTA as a volunteer.