1,500’ – 2,000’
7,000’ – 8,400’ – 7,700’ – 8,400’
(total gain: 2,100’)
N, S, E, W
Backcountry Hut Info
Built between 1947 and 1949, the Benson Hut lies as a rustic outpost perched along the weather-beaten Sierra Crest at 8,350’. Sweeping views, quality skiing, and easy access make this hut must-visit. Whereas the other huts are situated in valley floors, the Benson hut sits on top of it all. Because of this fact, the hut is less accessible to summer work crews, giving it a less developed, backwoods feel. On the main floor, there is a table, stools, woodstove, 6 fold-down bunks and kitchen space, but no solar lighting. The upper floor has room to sleep about 10. Sleeping capacity aside, the Benson hut is the least spacious of the four huts, something to consider if traveling in larger groups.
One of the greatest parts of staying at the Benson hut is skiing from your door. Rarely do backcountry skiers get to start the day skiing, rather than skinning, and the options from Benson are quality. Facing directly out the door starts a 1,200’, north facing glade, and around the corner is Anderson’s steep, east bowl. Less immediate, but still close, is also Anderson’s 2,000’ west face, part of the headwaters to the American River. The Benson hut is also the first of two huts that make up the Sugar Bowl to Squaw Valley traverse.
To get to the hut, arrange overnight parking with Sugar Bowl ahead of time, and start your journey from the top of Sugar Bowl’s Mt. Lincoln lift. Affordable, one-ride lift tickets may be purchased to ease the ascent, or skin right from the parking lot. Riding the lift to the top of Mt. Lincoln shaves 1.75 miles and 1,400’ of elevation gain off of the approach. From the top of Mt. Lincoln, the hut lies 2.75 miles away, on the ridge and at the base of block-like Anderson Peak. This is one of the easier huts to find, as the ridge leads you right to it.