John Heilprin  /  AP file
The Dancing Moose yurt commands a view of high peaks at Colorado State Forest outside Walden, Colo. Modeled after nomadic shelters from Central Asia, the yurt is one of six in the forest and a lodging option gaining popularity with outdoor vacationers nationwide.
updated 11/1/2006 4:46:55 PM ET 2006-11-01T21:46:55

Winter is on its way, but that doesn't mean the camping trips have to end. It just means it might be time to switch from a tent to a yurt.

A yurt is a circular tent-like structure with a wood frame, a durable fabric cover that won't collapse under snow, and a door.

There are yurts aplenty for rent, and you can use the Internet to plan your outing.

If you're new to the idea, a good place to get some background information is Pacific Yurts at an Oregon yurt-making company. Pacific Yurts doesn't offer yurt camping trips, but it has a good overview of yurt history and construction. Once you're on the home page, click on "Yurt vacations" for a huge list of state and private parks - including some in Mexico and points south - that offer yurt rentals. Another good place for background information is Colorado Yurt Company.

Once you've found out a few things about yurts, check out the web site for Idaho State University's outdoor adventure center. Click on 'Rentals' to get to the Rentals page and then click on "Yurts and Cabins' in the listing on the left hand side. The site lists yurts and carries some useful safety tips for campers who are heading into the mountains in winter.

There are yurts to be found in the eastern United States - the Ocoee Yurt Company in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee has yurts for rent with all the modern conveniences - including air conditioning.  There are also yurts for rent at a farm in Huntington, Vt., accessible by hiking, skiing or snowmobile. You can find out more at

But most of the big yurt country is west of the Mississippi. Washington and Idaho State parks have yurts for rent at several parks - some with electricity and heat. Go to and then click on "Rental Places" to get to the yurt listings. will get you to the Idaho State Parks Web site; click on "lodging" and then "park yurts" or "backcountry yurts" to get a description of the state's offerings on the Idaho City Area trail system, about an hour away from Boise. Those yurts require a mile or two of hiking, but come with cooking facilities and utensils.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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