Leave the tent behind. Among some of the world's most gorgeous peaks, your cabin for the night awaits.
HOW TO TAKE THIS TRIP...
STAY: The Appalachian Mountain Club's eight huts are open from June 3 to October 17. (Three also operate self-service in the winter for cross-country skiers and snowshoers.) You should make reservations a few months in advance by phone at 603/466-2727 or online at outdoors.org/lodging/huts. Rates start at $85 per night for AMC members and $94 per night for nonmembers, including breakfast and dinner. Yearly memberships are $50 per person. PARK: When you arrive, leave your car at the trailhead where you plan to end your hike; from there, a shuttle will deliver you to your starting point ($18 per nonmember, reservations required). PACK: The huts come equipped with pillows and blankets, but you'll need to bring a sheet or sleeping bag. Also, consider a face towel, earplugs, a headlamp (for stumbling to the bathroom in the dark), and a waterproof trail map ($10 at outdoors.org/amcstore).
OR ONE OF THESE OTHER HUT-TO-HUT OPTIONS
10th MOUNTAIN DIVISION HUTS, COLORADO Along a 350-mile stretch in the Rockies between Vail, Aspen, and Leadville, 28 rental huts are open to hikers and bikers from July to September, and to cross-country skiers from Thanksgiving to April. 970/925-5775, huts.org, from $28 per person.
LA GRANDE TRAVERSÉE TRAIL, QUEBEC Fifteen chalets offer shelter along the International Appalachian Trail in Canada's Gaspésie Provincial Park. All but four stay open year-round for hikers, backcountry skiers, and snowshoers (no mountain biking is allowed). 800/665-6527, sepaq.com/pq/gas/en, from $19.50 per person.
RENDEZVOUS HUTS, WASHINGTON Situated along some of the best cross-country skiing trails in the Methow Valley of the North Cascades, five huts are available for rent from December to March. Shuttles are available to transport skiers' gear along the route each night for $85 per trip. 509/996-8100, methownet.com/huts, from $35 per person.
*For these three trips, you must bring your own food, water, and bedding.