I had nearly forgotten that I have brand new snowshoes, but I haven’t used them for nearly three winters. We replaced my old ones which had many miles on them, but I haven’t been traveling as much, so they sat collecting dust in the basement.
The Tennessee Pass Cookhouse excursion was a great excuse to get them out.
I’ve wanted to do this outing for years, but it’s just worked out. So, on this St. Patrick’s Day trip to Leadville, I was determined.
Dining at the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse is the ultimate Colorado outing. It involves a trek to a yurt for lunch or dinner. During the winter, the area is a snowy wonderland and in the summer, a hike through soaring evergreens. In all seasons, the trail provides glimpses of Rocky Mountain peaks.
To experience this Colorado adventure, start at the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center, located across from Ski Cooper, just 15 minutes outside of Leadville, Colorado. Check in here and then start out on your hike, snowshoe or cross country ski to Tennessee Pass Cookhouse, a yurt in the Colorado back country.
This isn’t a serious back country hike. It’s only a one-mile trek. However, at 10,500 feet above sea level at the start and the cookhouse yurt at 10,800 feet above sea level, unless you’re in amazing shape, you’ll suck air. I am not in great shape, especially when I’m two-miles above sea level, so I huffed and puffed a little, but I made it. Believe me, if I can do this trek, you can.
Honestly, getting to the yurt was fantastic. Suddenly, the view opens and the sweat is worth it. It’s like scenery from one of those Colorado postcards, except it’s real and right in front of you.
By the way, we didn’t bring Fritzi, but we could have. Dogs can come along with their owners to Tennessee Pass Cookhouse, they just aren’t allowed inside the yurt.
We unfastened our snowshoes and picked a table outside the yurt on the patio. You can eat inside, but the sun shone brightly, and while occasionally wind swept through, it was a perfect day in March.
Reservations are a requirement to dine here and entrees are chosen at that time. I had picked the chicken Philly and Ryan got the elk burger. However, we started with rewarding our snowshoe endeavor; a Minty Mountain Top for me and a Summit Coffee for Ryan. These warm and boozy drinks were perfect, especially when the wind blew.
I wasn’t sure about lunch here. After all, they’d have to snowmobile it in and all that jazz, but it was so good. The peppers on my Philly were fresh and we both appreciated the side salad that included crispy lettuce and dried cranberries. They even hit a medium cook on Ryan’s elk burger. It is all rather impressive when you think about it. Plus, to dine on this patio is to enjoy a million dollar view.
We ended the meal with a scrumptious cookie. I wasn’t going to eat more than a nibble and then had half because it was so yummy. A perfect conclusion to the meal.
We had to head home so we trekked back, but we could have spent the day exploring the trails at the Nordic Center. Lunch at the cookhouse comes with a trail pass for just $6, regularly $16 (with kids 6 and under free).
This is a one-of-a-kind outing that is so very Colorado. They serve lunch and dinner at the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse. There are also sleeping yurts available to rent.
Visit TennessePass.com/cookhouse/ for more information. Winter season ends in mid-April and Summer season starts in June. Call (719) 486.8114 to make a reservation.
Thank you to Visit Leadville for hosting us on this visit and to Tennessee Pass Cookhouse for the hospitality.