Formed by heavy volcanic activity, and then sculpted by glaciers and carved by rivers the San Juan Mountains are truly a unique and special range. Tucked in the Southwest corner of Colorado, they rise high and rugged from the desert to the West. Full of minerals, the colorful peaks boast a rich history in mining and exploration. What once were mining towns have now turned into recreational mountain towns, full of character and historical charm. Old mining roads provide access into the mountains for various activities and travel.
The hut is located high a top Ophir Pass, the OPUS offers access to some the best and backcountry skiing in the U.S. With low angle glades below and open slopes above. Venture a little further into Paradise Basin to sample some of the best chute skiing around.
Old mule trails left from the days of hardrock mining, offer adventurous explorations around the hut, many of which do not show on popular maps. Many short hiking loops leave right from the back door of the hut. There are four alpine lakes within two miles of the OPUS, and more a little further out, great for an afternoon dip or fishing. Off trail above treeline, endless meadows of alpine wildflowers beckon with peak blooms in the end of June and early August.
There are two single track descent options on the east side to Hwy 550. Following an old mule trail at treeline traversing east from the hut, you can drop down Ruby creek just east of the hut back to the Ophir Pass road. The other option is to continue east on that same single track around to the Columbine lake trail and then descend to highway 550.