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Our pick of the best back-country hiking cabins

The world’s best hiking huts

Our pick of back-country cabins 

Our pick of back-country cabins 

December/January 2017

NEW ZEALAND

The Mud Hut was originally constructed in the 19th century by Chinese gold prospectors digging water races into the hills south of Queenstown. With its stone walls, mud floor and tin roof, the cabin sits on the eastern side of the Roaring Lion hiking and biking trail, in a privately owned, 2,000-hectare conservation area. Inside are two sets of bunks and a rustic fireplace, with the long-drop loo in a separate hut outside; there is an element of roughing it involved with a stay here. But it is also romantic, with the open-air bathtub overlooking burnt-umber mountain ranges and tree-covered valleys as far as the eye can see. welcomerock.co.nz; from NZ$120 ($85) per night, based on two people sharing

ENGLAND

The 615-mile-long Monarch’s Way trail follows the route along which Charles II scuttled after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester. It’s a looping, indirect path from Worcester to Brighton by way of the West Country. The new Woodsman’s Treehouse is half a mile off the trail, on the Dorset-Devon border. Although perched high up in the trees, it is comfortable to the point of luxury: sleeping two, it has a copper bath, a wood-burning stove in the bedroom and, for cooking, a wood-fired pizza oven. There’s a shower on the balcony (fed by heated rainwater) and a sauna on the upper floor. With woodpeckers as neighbours, it is as close as you can get to sleeping in the world’s most extravagantly feathered nest. mallinson.co.uk; from £620 ($755) for a minimum two-night stay

SIBERIA

Two nights into hiking the Great Baikal Trail — a 55km-long route along the lake’s western edge, linking Listvyanka to Bolshue Goloustnoe — lies a modest wooden cabin. Sited on the shore-side boundary of Baikal’s Pribaikalsky National Park, it is perfect in summer, when the oldest, deepest lake in the world is looking its best. Be sure to book to guarantee a proper bed, complete with fresh linen. You need to carry your food, except for milk (the park warden has his own dairy herd). Next to the main hut is a well-equipped kitchen. The lake water is clean and cold, the trail beside it sweetened with the smell of cedar sap. Sometimes the way is steep – the Devil’s Bridge, cut into a high cliff, is not for the fainthearted – but it’s worth it when the sun comes out, turning the lake’s pewter surface cobalt blue. greatbaikaltrail.org; To book permits and hut: baikal@baikal-1.ru; from 400 roubles ($6) per person per night

CHILE

Walk for four hours into Tagua Tagua park – a little-visited, private reserve in the Chilean Lake District — and at the end of the trail, where giant ferns burst out from the forest floor, you’ll arrive at a cosy wooden trekking hut, Refugio Alerces. It sits in a clearing, on the edge of a still, black lake, the surface of which is pricked with 3,000-year-old petrified alerce trees. Beyond that lie the serried peaks of the Patagonian Andes. The hut is pleasing in its simplicity: a wood-fed stove, kettles, pots, pans, a chess set for the evening and candles to see you through. Guests are asked to leave it as they found it for the next passer-by. Parquetaguatagua.cl; from $19 per person per night

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