Barlow Butte Hut is located in Mount Hood National Forest and requires the shortest and easiest trek of the three Cascade Huts. The route takes you through old-growth forests and provides excellent views of Mount Hood and the White River Valley, weather permitting. The trek to and from the hut is 4 miles round-trip, with a total elevation gain of 600 feet. This is a great trip for beginning snowshoers or cross-country skiers, though skiers should be aware that there are some steep sections.
To begin the trek to the Barlow Butte Hut, 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. After a half mile, you'll reach the intersection of Road 230 and NF-3560, where you'll take a left. Hike about 50 feet and then take a sharp right onto Road 221. Note that this junction can be tricky to find, as snow-laden branches hang low and disguise the road. Follow this road for the last mile; the walk is mostly flat until the last quarter mile. Once you start the final climb, you will enjoy great views of Mount Hood and the White River Valley just before reaching the quaint Barlow Butte Hut.
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 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 Butte Hut is one of three huts in the area; White River and Barlow Ridge 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.