Brian Lewis’ recent Yurt Trip is the first in our series highlighting family-friendly adventure. Yurt trips are extremely popular among backcountry enthusiasts, almost always reached by skinning or snowshoeing in the winter.  Because of this, yurt trips are not often a consideration for families because of the physically demanding and complicated logistics associated with simply *getting* to the yurt. The unique experience of a yurt trip should be an opportunity for anyone who appreciates the desolation and simplicity of staying in the backcountry, even families.

These yurts located in State Forest Park, Colorado are atypical in that they allow drive-up access. Brian’s trip report combines the importance of family and drive for adventure that is valuable, relatable, and inspiring for anyone with a family who wants the Yurt experience.

By: Addie Levinsky

Morning sunrise over the Black Bear yurt, one of the three drive-up yurts in the Never Summer Nordic System. They’re located a few hundred feet apart on private land just outside the main entrance of State Forest State Park. The building on the left is not a yurt. It’s an outhouse. It’s where you’ll go to the bathroom. Though it was one of the more spacious and pleasant yurt outhouses I’ve visited, with ample toilet paper, air freshener, and a vanilla-scented Virgin of Guadalupe candle provided for some ambiance.

👆Driving right to the front door makes these yurts ideal for families who aren’t quite ready to haul a young kid and all the necessary supplies (like a massive box of markers, crayons, and new years party hats) into the backcountry. Just remember to sweep up the mouse poop before the kids start running loose.

👉 The Sunset Yurt has already stunning views of the Medicine Bow Range, but they look even better with a fresh dusting of snow and a full moon overhead.

👇Need to chill a bottle of bubbly? Just set it outside of the Yurt; the five-degree temperature will take care of that in seconds.

👉 With 50 miles of snowshoe trails in State Forest State Park, there are a plethora of options, many of which are perfect for young explorers. Bonus points for the flawless views of the Medicine Bow Range.

👇 Feral Represent in the backcountry! 

👇 The opportunity to chop wood and pretend to be a lumberjack is one of the main reasons to do a yurt trip. Pro tip: put down the axe and go with the ridiculously burly maul – it brings out the “Game of Thrones meets lumbersexual” vibe. It’s a real hit.

👆Fact: Yurt coffee is the best coffee.


👆 Yurts are best when shared with friends. Especially if your friends also have little ones that will read to your kid while the adults drink whiskey and play inappropriate games.

👉 I’ve always said that one of life’s great pleasures is wrapping yourself in down on a sunny yurt deck while drinking your favorite post-hike booze and pretending your kid isn’t inside refusing to nap. Cheers to rosé all day!

👇 Closing out with another brilliant sunset over North Park. Until next year…

About the Author & Photographer

Brian J. Lewis
After growing up in upstate New York, I found my true home in the mountains of Colorado in 2005.  I’m a visual storyteller, a four-season adventurer, an unapologetic coffee snob, a semi-competitive trail runner, a seasoned traveller and a new dad. Through it all is a never-ending quest to document the beauty of the world – from the wilds of my Colorado backyard to the far corners of the planet.

Follow Brian at or on Instagram at @brianlewismedia.