If you are looking for a great overnight winter excursion but want something cozier than a tent, this is the adventure for you. The lovely Barlow Ridge Hut is located in Mount Hood National Forest with vast views of the White River Valley. The trek to and from the hut is 9.6 miles round-trip, with a total elevation gain of 1,400 feet. This is a great trip for snowshoers or experienced cross-country skiers.
To begin the trek up to Barlow Ridge, head to the northeast side of the Barlow Pass Sno-Park. From the trailhead, take a left onto the connector trail to Barlow Road. In about 100 yards you'll reach the intersection of Mineral Jane Ski Trail and Barlow Road, where you will take a left down the Mineral Jane Ski Trail. Follow this trail through an old-growth forest for about 250 yards and veer left to stay on Mineral Jane Ski Trail (keeping straight will lead you toward Devil's Half Acre).
The trail starts to climb and eventually leads to a clearing with some views where the trail widens as it transitions into Road 230. Continue to reach NF-3560, where the ascent begins. Enjoy the views of Mount Hood and the White River Valley, weather permitting. You'll reach a level section after about 1.5 miles of climbing Barlow Ridge; stay to the right for the next 2 miles. After a few descents and more gradual climbing, you'll arrive at the quaint Barlow Ridge Hut, complete with an amazing view of the White River Valley.
The hut sleeps up to five people, and padded bunk beds with 0-degree sleeping bags are provided (be sure to bring your own sleeping bag liner). This hut is most definitely luxury in the backcountry: not only does the hut have it's own outhouse and propane heater to take the chill off, amenities include a table with fold out chairs, random board games, lanterns, a two burner stove top, and basic kitchen supplies. This makes for a much lighter pack as you make your trek in. Barlow Ridge Hut is one of three huts in the area; White River and Barlow Butte huts are both within a reasonable distance of each other if you wanted to plan a multi-hut trip. All three huts rent for the same prices: $150 per night, $275 for two nights, and $350 for three nights.
Note: Always make sure to be aware of the weather. After a heavy snowstorm, expect to knee-high powder on the trail.