Vermont, my beloved home state, has a cold season that can last from October to April. In the dead of winter, it has gotten down to 50 degrees below zero. It can snow for days on end, the sun never catching a break from the clouds that keep its pitiful, but welcome, winter warmth locked away. Bodies of water become frozen; people place bets on when ice will break, and winning dates reach into May. Strangely, I’ve fallen in love with all of it.
Perhaps the biggest reason why my feelings toward winter shifted, was because I learned to embrace winter for all that you get to do. Instead of holing up inside until spring, I layered up and went out anyway. My husband and I bought snowshoes and a Vermont winter hiking guide, and every weekend we’d knock off a new mountain or winter woodland walk. I grew up skiing, and decided on a whim I wanted to try my hand at snowboarding. And despite the age-old argument between skiers and riders, I had a blast cutting my way down the mountain strapped to one board instead of two. I dusted off my old ice-skates and laced up, re-living my childhood daydream that I was, in fact, Michelle Kwan. I’ve yet to try ice-fishing, but that’s next on my list.
Maybe you’re still working on tolerating winter, or maybe you’re already in love. Regardless of where your enthusiasm lies, these winter cabins in Vermont will ignite an excitement that might even last all season long. Good thing, since it’s such a long one.
Cabins in Vermont Where You Can Embrace Winter Weather
Somewhere between snowshoe purchase and Michelle Kwan, I realized I was welcoming the ending of summer and impatiently waiting for that first heavy snowfall. There is so much to love about Vermont in the winter: the piles of snow weighing down trees make everything feel cozy. The bitter cold turns snow into glitter in such a way that it appears as if the world before you is a rainbow of icy prisms.
The winter landscape is barren, empty; when the wind blows, frozen tree branches sound like wind chimes. If you embrace it, there are countless winter activities one can enjoy only in places that see seasons like Vermont. One such activity is winter camping. Or Vermont cabin-camping, such as with these primitive huts.
A Brief History of Cabins in Vermont
These huts are a part of the Vermont Huts Association, a nonprofit organization created, in part, to connect local communities with the natural environment around them. The ultimate vision is for there to be a network of interconnected huts across Vermont for four-season enjoyment. Stone Hut, a separate hut as part of Vermont State Parks, is a rustic stone cabin built near the top of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak.
Some of these huts were built for logging, others for the building of Vermont’s Long Trail, the 273-mile trail that snakes itself down the spine of Vermont, from Canada to Massachusetts. A few of these cabins are staffed in the warmer months, but come winter, they become available to the general public for a winter getaway that’s an experience unlike any other. These huts are primitive: no running water, no heat, no insulation, no electricity.
Plan Your Trip to These 7 Winter Cabins in Vermont
Reserve your cabin through the Vermont Huts Association. This is a popular Vermont winter activity, so plan on reserving long before the first snow flies. For Stone Hut, reservations are on a lottery system.
1. Chittenden Brook Hut
Chittenden Brook Hut is situated in the Green Mountain National Forest, and is likely the least rustic cabin for rent on this list. The wooden cabin has amenities like propane heat, solar power, and a stocked kitchen. However, there is no running water, so be sure to bring your own or use snow melt. With year-round access, this cabin sleeps up to 10 guests. Rates for rental start at $110/night.
2. Bolton Lodge
Bolton Lodge is located in the backwoods of the appropriately-named Bolton Valley, about 20 miles from Burlington, Vermont. The cabin sleeps up to eight guests, and has three-season access. Be sure to wear your hiking boots, as this cabin is reached by a 1.5 mile trek. Campers should come prepared with full winter camping gear, as cross-country ski trails abound in the area (Vermont, after all, has skiing options galore). Rates are $95 per night on the weekends, and $75 per night weekdays.
3. Bryant Camp
Bryant Camp is also found in Bolton Valley, Vermont. Built around 1930, this cabin is a primitive cabin with three-season access. Campers must hike (or cross-country ski) a mile to this rustic cabin. Bring appropriate winter camping gear, as the Bolton Valley is full of winter activities, and winters can be cold in northern Vermont (be sure to find some firewood in the area, as there is a wood stove!) This is a popular rental, so those hoping to reserve should do so as soon as the reservation period begins. Rates stretch from $75 to $95 per night.
4. Hadsel Mares Camp
Hadsel Mares Camp is located in the vast “Northeast Kingdom.” This Vermont cabin sleeps up to eight guests and can be rented year-round. Offering a similarly rustic option, the hut does not have electricity, running water, or insulation, but a wood stove will keep you toasty on cold nights. Rates start at $65 per night, but for booking for seven days or more, nightly rates drop to $43/night.
5. Merck Forest and Farmland Center
Merck Forest and Farmland Center holds a collection of cabins within its own 3,162 acres of managed forest outside of Rupert, Vermont. Cabins at the farmland canter can be rented year-round. With no power and a wood stove for heating, accommodations are primitive and campers should come prepared with winter gear. Rates vary from $50 to $90 per night, depending on the cabin and season.
6. Stone Hut
Stone Hut is just outside the ski-bum town of Stowe, Vermont. Sleeping up to 12 people, this cabin was originally built in 1936 as a warming hut by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The open season for this hut runs from November-April. Come prepared for winter camping. Campers must bring all lighting, sleeping gear, and cooking gear. Layered clothing and winter sleeping bags are necessary, as there is no heat save for a wood stove (firewood is available, kindling is not). The rental rate is $225 per night.
7. Nulhegan Confluence Hut
Nulhegan Confluence Hut was built by students from the Yestermorrow Design-Build School and over 40 volunteers, and is also located in Vermont’s “Northeast Kingdom.” This cozy cabin sleeps up to six guests. With a kitchen area with propane stove top, wood stove and firewood, and a competing toilet, this rustic hut can be rented by the bed ($25 per night) or in its entirety ($75 per night).