My Dream Lodge — RMAL Built in Colorado

Post by blogger | August 24, 2018      
Red Mountain Alpine Lodge will be completed and open this December.

Colorado’s Red Mountain Alpine Lodge will be completed and open this December.

I want to build something like this myself. Meanwhile I’ll have to make do. Perhaps they’ve got a place for my sleeping bag in the wood shed.

What I like about Red Mountain Alpine Lodge (RMAL) is they’re not dinking around. Come one, come all.
— Huts that require significant hiking or skiing for access are important to backcountry culture. We have plenty of such “human powered” huts in Colorado, but we lack fully catered, easily accessed “backcountry” lodges. Red Mountain Alpine Lodge is near an all-season maintained road. The intention is to provide full-service backcountry ambiance, only without lengthy human powered access. Excellent.
— Open to all backcountry recreators. Summer jeepers and hikers, winter backcountry skis and snowshoes. Probably snowmobilers as well so long as they behave (smile). Multi cultural diversity!

The new lodge is located in an area called "Ironton," (presumably a former mining townsite) near Red Mountain Pass.

The new lodge is located in an area called “Ironton,” (presumably a former mining townsite) near Red Mountain Pass. Purple arrow and red teardrop icon indicate the location. The land is privatly owned, and like most other parcels in Colorado mining regions it originated as a mining claim. GPS: 37 54’13.56″ -107 42’22.46″ — UTM 13S 262067 mE 4198591 mN

As with most Colorado alpine backcountry accommodations, RMAL’s high elevation (11,018 feet, 3,354 meters!) could be a problem for visitors coming from lower climes (even Denver Colorado is 6,000 vertical feet lower — that’s plenty of difference for triggering altitude symptoms). I’d suggest they provide diamox and oxygen concentrators for guests, as well as limiting alcohol consumption. I’m not joking — the recent altitude seminar we attended told us that about 30% of visitors to one lofty Colorado resort experienced detrimental altitude symptoms, and that location is below 11,000 feet.

GPS for your mapping pleasure:
37 54’13.56″ -107 42’22.46″
UTM 13S 262067 mE 4198591 mN

Press release follows, condensed.

Red Mountain Alpine Lodge is the ultimate year-round backcountry accommodation for discerning clientele seeking the doorstep of Colorado’s outdoor playground. Located just north of the summit of Red Mountain Pass and fifteen minutes from the village of Silverton, the Lodge is 300 yards off Highway 550 (The Million Dollar Highway). See location on Google maps.

RMAL will remain open year-round, catering to backcountry skiers, snowboarders and snowshoers in the winter months and hikers, bikers, motorcyclists, and jeep enthusiasts during summer. The lodge is the perfect location for retreats, weddings and corporate events. The fully catered facility sleeps 18-20 people (three private rooms and loft). In addition to gourmet eats, features include a bar, showers, running water, flush toilets, wood-burning sauna, in-floor heat, wifi and a large common area where guests can unwind after a day in the spectacular San Juan Mountains.

Red Mountain Alpine Lodge is the brainchild of San Juan Mountain Guides owner Nate Disser and backcountry enthusiast and business partner Mark Iuppenlatz. In addition to owning and operating SJMG, Nate is an AMGA certified Guide who has AIARE Level 3 Avalanche Certification.

The lodge is a short walk, ski, or snowshoe from the highway, thus providing easy winter access while still feeling remote and off-grid. RMAL sits at the base of a peak known as Red Mountain #3 and serves as a basecamp for backcountry skiing ranging from high alpine basins to powder filled tree lines.



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13 Responses to “My Dream Lodge — RMAL Built in Colorado”

  1. galen W August 24th, 2018 9:06 am

    Looks cool. And yeah, whenever you see the words “discerning” and “premium”, one immediately gets suspicious that it will be the type of place that caters to the . . . well . . . but, yeah, at minimum 200 / night / person, I expect many will enjoy it. wish I could.

  2. Tim August 24th, 2018 10:00 am

    Double occupancy: $379/night….uuuuuuhhhhh, but hey breakfast and dinner is provided! 😉

  3. Joe John August 24th, 2018 10:05 am

    While I like the versatility of Louie’s trailer project, we will take a reservation at RMAL.

  4. skier6 August 24th, 2018 1:39 pm

    Note, the PR release says,
    ” catering to backcountry skiers, snowboarders and snowshoe in the winter months”

    No mention of snow mobiles in this release. Frankly, snowmobiles roaring around would kill it for me as a viable option for backcountry skiing.

  5. Lou Dawson 2 August 24th, 2018 7:58 pm

    Skier 6, I was just making an aside about snowmobile drivers, am assuming they’d be as welcome as anyone, though the lodge owners will probably not allow them to drive their sled the few hundred feet of human powered access from parking area to the lodge. Much of the Red Mountain Pass area is shared by skiers and sledders, I’m not sure what the present division is, though I’ve heard it can get crowded (have experienced that a time or two). Lou

  6. SDW August 25th, 2018 9:33 am

    Their website doesn’t make clear exactly where the lodge is, but lots of that terrain is open to snowmobiling. Seems like there’s not much conflict in the area – most users manage to co-exist. That it’s a “viable option for backcountry skiing” is an understatement.

  7. Eric Steig August 25th, 2018 1:57 pm


    These sorts of lodges are nice but I wish they’d include bunkhouse type options and a place to cook your own food. This is needed not only for those without much cash, but also those who have serious food allergies which makes staying in places like this impossible.

  8. doug August 25th, 2018 4:35 pm

    Who owns the land?

  9. Lou Dawson 2 August 25th, 2018 5:57 pm

    Bunch of private land in that area, not sure who owns the exact parcel. Easy to figure out once we know the location, using Ouray County property records/maps. Lou

  10. Lou Dawson 2 August 26th, 2018 6:14 am

    I got the GPS coords and added a Google Maps screenshot to post above.

    Lodge is at 37 54’13.56″ -107 42’22.46″

    UTM 13S 262067 mE 4198591 mN

    Open in Google Maps

    Several other rentals are available in the area, creating somewhat of a lodging district for backcountry users. It’ll be interesting to see if Ouray County wakes up to the recreation vitality of Red Mountain Pass, perhaps they’ll not notice, otherwise they’d probably create a special tax district or something equally as hideous.

    Saint Paul Lodge is a nearby backcountry accommodation that’s been in service for a long time. Another is

  11. Wes Berg August 26th, 2018 8:04 am

    Another one in that area is the Opus Hut (, which is up near the top of Ophir pass and a 3 1/2 mile ski into it in winter. I hiked by the hut yesterday and noticed some significant construction activity going on. I’m not sure what they are building, but there was a new foundation for a structure next to the hut.

  12. Lou Dawson 2 August 26th, 2018 8:13 am

    Sure Wes:

    I didn’t mention Opus as I was sticking with huts in the closer proximity to new lodge. Opus is notable because it’s fully catered and wonderfully affordable. Impressive.


  13. Crazy Horse August 27th, 2018 2:19 pm

    When is the chairlift from the parking lot going to be operative? And does it have weatherproof canopies?

    Or as I say, If you want to ski, go to BC.

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