How to Buy a Seasonal Access Property in the Mountains

June 02, 2021
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Seasonal access means that the roads leading up to a property do not get plowed.

If you’re searching for remote Colorado mountain land for sale, it’s likely you’ve seen the words “Seasonal Access Only” in a listing description. However, how many actually know what those words mean?

Seasonal access means that the roads leading up to a property do not get plowed. This may mean that during the winter months you can only access the property by snowmobile, tracked snow machine, skis or snowshoes. The distance necessary to travel through the snow can vary greatly, from a fraction of a mile to 10 miles or more.

Here are some things you need to know if you’re thinking of buying a mountain property with seasonal access.

Finding Cabin Subdivisions Designed for Seasonal Access Property Owners

Some cabin subdivisions are designed around seasonal access and provide designated parking areas for residents to park their trucks and trailers while others require people to park in national forest parking lots or literally on the side of the road.

Many subdivisions that cater to the winter adventure-minded also provide snow-related activities and trails for additional winter fun. This might include access to groomed trails for Nordic skiing or snowmobile touring, social clubs for like-minded residents, restaurants or bars that people can drive their snow machines to and more.

Mountain cabin communities that cater to snowmobile or tracked machine access typically have widely groomed and packed trails for residents to use safely. Other more remote properties may not have any type of winter maintenance, leaving it up to you to make your way safely to and from your cabin on sometimes deep and unpacked snow-covered roads.

Living in a Seasonal Access Property Year-Round

Year-round living with seasonal access is not for everyone. Snowbound roads provide obstacles many times for safe long-term parking and occasional necessary trips to town. Seasonal access doesn’t mean you can only live there during a certain season; it simply means that it’s generally only accessible during non-winter months. 

However, some Colorado cabin communities provide safe long-term parking lots for just such obstacles. These communities can become bustling with activity in the winter and are conducive to the challenges associated with seasonal living. A remote cabin in the woods may not be the best choice for someone looking to spend several days or weeks at a time at their winter property.

Common Question: “Can’t I just plow the road?” 

Not necessarily. Perhaps the road to your cabin is on a Forest Service Road with a locked gate to prevent public access in the winter or maybe it is a non-maintained public road. It may be that your cabin shares a road with other cabin owners or is part of an HOA that has elected to leave the roads unplowed so they can enjoy snowmobiling to their cabins in the winter. You might also find that the sheer amount of annual snowfall, lack of room to move it or the distance necessary to plow is just not practical. Either way, you need to do your research before you assume you can just plow your way in and out of a seasonal property.

If you own a property with seasonal access, but the road to access it is a public road, then you need to check with the city authorities on the legalities of plowing a public road. Typically, you can plow the road, but you need to have a contract with the county that specifies the requirements, duties, liabilities, payments and other terms to allow you to plow, even if you agree to do it for free. 

Earn Extra Income: Rent Out Your Seasonal Access Property

Say you purchase a property with seasonal access and decide to live there only when the roads are dry. If you live in Colorado, snow may begin to accumulate in late November or early December and could remain as long as late May or early June. So, why not rent out the property for the other four to six months of the year?

You can make extra money with your property by renting it for specific purposes during the snowy season. For example, a lot of people are looking for remote Colorado mountain land to use for hunting, skiing, or other winter activities. If you have the right property, you can get away from it in the winter while providing the perfect getaway for someone else and put money in your pocket at the same time.

If you’re looking for a mountain home in Colorado or any other state, visit to see all of our available listings. You can search by property type, location and/or keyword(s).

About the Author

Rob Gash is a Colorado native who is highly knowledgeable in ranch land, hunting land, mountain homes and farmland. He is an Accredited Land Consultant and has been part of many multi-million dollar real estate transactions over his 10-year real estate career. Learn more about Rob and view his available listings at