The SpaceOur wooden yurt, named 'Tagdumbash' for its Mongolian roots, was constructed in the '70s and renovated last year. A full-sized bed provides room for two, although it has housed a few families on occasion. A skylight provides ambient light during the day and a beautiful view of the stars at night. Guest AccessWe often run school courses out of our facility, so please let us know if you'd like to avoid busier times when our kitchen may be in use. Communal shower house and shared kitchen available onsite, a convenient walk from the guest yurt. Library, dining room, spacious deck, and a fire pit are also available for guest use. We can often provide some meals for a nominal cost, depending on the time of year. We have a cob oven for baking bread, a fire pit for hanging out, and a barbecue grill available. Please bring your own groceries and pack out any glass you bring with you. While we provide blankets and heaters, you may want to bring some extra blankets during the colder months.
We are a non-profit outdoor education facility, and after Thanksgiving our courses end and our facility shuts down. For an intrepid outdoor adventurer, the winter setting and remote location could provide the perfect retreat in a gorgeous winter setting.
Winter can begin as early as mid-November at our elevation, and last until late March. During the winter, the one mile driveway to the yurts is often covered in several feet of snow and renters must be willing to trek in using snowshoes or cross-country skis. During winter thaws, the driveway is navigable by 4WD, but the weather is unpredictable. Renters will need to pack in their own food and luxury items, but firewood for the woodstoves, a fully equipped kitchen, water, and internet access will be available on site. Our bathhouse is heated by a strong gas-powered stove and we have extra electric heaters for the guest yurts.
We may able to accommodate snowshoe rentals. A caretaker will be available to answer further questions upon arrival, but please be sure to talk with us extensively prior to arranging your reservation so that we may accommodate your needs.
The Monongahela National Forest provides a wonderful setting for winter adventures, and species such as snowshoe hare, turkey, and grouse remain active in the winter months. Interaction with GuestsThe staff up here at The Mountain Institute are friendly and helpful. We have a dedicated "on-call" person who will be around to assist you with questions or additional needs. We see lots of people of different ages, backgrounds, and interests and are always happy to accommodate folks if they let us know before hand. Getting AroundSince we're in a pretty remote location, you'll definitely want a car to get around. We're about 5 hours from Pittsburgh and 3 1/2 from Washington DC. We're also close to a handful of small towns with a few stores and gas stations. Parking is available onsite once you get up here. Other Things to NoteWe're in a pretty remote location, and cell phone service is spotty, so please make sure you have directions printed out or saved on your phone. Expect a bumpy drive once you get off the main road. Plan to arrive before 5 if possible for your schedule; it's much easier to find us in the daytime and you'll have time to take a look around the place before it gets dark. Also, cell phone reception is limited, although dedicated cell phone users can take up to the ridge line for service. Finally, pack for cooler weather: the elevation up here does make a difference and evenings can get chilly.