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| Tanya Ishikawa | News

San Juan Huts recognized as August 2022 RACC Member of the Month

San Juan Huts is being recognized as Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce Member of the Month in August. Kelly Ryan of San Juan Huts was interviewed for the Member of the Month program, an ongoing effort by the RACC to promote patronage of our area’s small, independent companies and nonprofits. She shares information about how the recreation business came to be and what’s new.

How were the huts in the San Juan Hut System built?

Our Sneffels Traverse Huts from Telluride to Ouray were the first and were built in the late 1980s. Originally these huts had to be removed during the summer months and were only used as ski huts. Since then we have built both the Telluride to Moab and Durango to Moab mountain bike routes. My father, Joe Ryan, built all of the huts, which took a tremendous amount of determination, stubbornness and hard physical labor.

How were the hut sites selected?

The sites were selected to be in safe and scenic locations with the best access to backcountry skiing, biking and hiking and within a day's travel by self-propelled means.

Who is the founder and how is he involved these days?

Joe Ryan is the founder and he jumps in to help and advise when needed or inspired.

Who else is behind the scenes?

We have a wonderful team of about 13 awesome individuals, including a few key members described here.

Kelly Ryan, Joe's daughter: Raised stuffing map packets for quarters and bumping down dirt roads to her dad’s work sites (a.k.a. the huts), she is now running the daily business of the huts and starting to drag her 1.5-year-old daughter with her.

John Phelps: Helping keep the whole ship on track, he has turned into an endurance machine since starting to work with the huts. This year he is tackling the Colorado Trail Race and the Telluride 100 Mountain Bike Races, and is also jumping in the Telluride Mountain Run for his first race of this kind.

Rich Welichko: Landing in the San Juans from the Bayou, he can often be found volunteering with the Ouray Trails Group when not working with the huts or scrambling up peaks.

Amy Gray: Longtime marathon runner and road biker, she is delighted to call the San Juans home. She has jumped into mountain biking and rock climbing since joining the San Juan Huts team.

Brett Saville: Often found hauling heavy loads into huts with his trusty dog, Zeik, in the summers, he explores the San Juans on his snowboard in the winters.

What do you wish more people knew about San Juan Huts?

Dogs are welcome at our hiking huts. Kids 12 and under are free at all of our huts. Active-duty military are complementary on our six-night/seven-day bike trips.

Do you have any new offerings?

Our newest trip is Tour of the Canyons, a mixed-surface, two-night/three-day ride from Grand Junction, Colo. to Moab, Utah.

What do you value from being a Ridgway Chamber member?

The community.

To learn more about San Juan Huts, visit Also feel free to give the staff a call at 970.626.3033 or email .

For information about recreation businesses in the Ridgway area, go to

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