While backcountry huts have been a European and Scandinavian exploring staple for decades, they are slowly starting to gain popularity here in Canada. With the wide variety offered in the Kootenay Rockies alone, why wouldn’t you take advantage of this unique camping opportunity?

 

Many huts within the Kootenay Rockies region are used year-round. In the winter, backcountry skiers and snowmobilers use them as warming huts. Come fall they are teeming with hunters and by summer backpackers flock to these incredible backcountry structures. Each hut features its own unique design, location and amenities. Some are just a simple four-wall structure, while others are impeccably maintained and even provide cozy furnishings. A few huts can even be reached by vehicle, but the real fun is in finding these cozy cabins on foot.

 

“In our Kootenay Rockies Backroad Mapbook you will find a Backcountry Huts and Cabins Adventure section loaded with dozens of unique shelters. To get you started on planning your next special backroad adventure, here are 10 Historic Hiking Trails in the Kootenay Rockies:”

 

  1. Abbot Pass Hut

Easily one of the most iconic huts within the Canadian Rocky Mountain range, Abbot Pass Hut rests high up in the pass between Mount Victoria and Mount Lefroy. Hikers and Mountaineers alike flock to this rustic stone cabin, which features enough sleeping space for 24 people, a propane system for cooking and heating and a view that will take your breath away. There are three main routes to approach the Abbot Pass Hut, although the one most recommended is from the Lake O’Hara side in Yoho, which includes a difficult scree gully dropping into Abbot Pass. Due to the technicality and difficulty of the climb, only experienced hikers with a high level of skill should attempt this trek.

Photo via / Robson Fletcher - CBC News

Image: Abbot Pass

 

  1. Asulkan Hut

Situated in Glacier National Park, the Asulkan Hut is the perfect place to rest your head after a day adventuring through Rogers Pass. Though typically used in the winter, to enjoy the various skiing opportunities in the Asulkan Valley, hikers can still enjoy the 12 person cabin after snowmelt. The approach takes off from the Illecillewaet Campground and takes around 3-5 hours to complete. You certainly won’t feel like sulking after a peaceful trip to Asulkan Hut.

 

Photo by / Laurie Booker via Parks Canada

Image: Asulkan Hut

 

  1. Conrad Kain Hut

Surrounded by spires that reach to over 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) and the breathtaking Purcell Mountain Range, Conrad Kain Hut draws people from around the world each year. Located in Bugaboo Provincial Park, the hut was built in 1972 to help reduce visitor impact on the fragile area. The hut can be reached by a steep 5 km (3 mi) trail climbing 700 metres (2,295 ft) and has room for 40 people to stay the night. Due to extreme avalanche hazard, the hut is closed from October to June and visitors should be aware of logging trucks that frequent the area.

Photo via / pebbleshoo.com

Image: Conrad Kain Hut - pebbleshoo.com

 

 

  1. Elizabeth Parker Hut

The Elizabeth Parker Hut sets the bar high for hut hiking experiences in the Kootenay Rockies. Located just west of Lake O’Hara, the hut is encompassed by endless hiking and climbing opportunities all summer long, and great ski touring in the winter. The incredible location and easy 1 km (0.62 mi) hike access makes the Elizabeth Parker Hut an extremely sought after destination. Due to it’s popularity users are required to put their name in a lottery for its use between mid-June and early October. Visit the Alpine Club of Canada’s website (www.alpineclubofcanada.ca) to enter your name to be the lucky winner of a hike of a lifetime!

 

Photo via / British Columbia GPS Maps

Photo via / British Columbia GPS Maps

 

  1. Grassy Hut

Tucked away in the Bonnington Range of backcountry huts, Grassy Hut is difficult to find, but still very popular. In the summer and winter the hut can be accessed by logging roads starting at Highway 3 at Bombi Summit. If you have a 4-wheel drive, you can get in further before you are required to park and walk. The hut is located in the middle of the Grassy Mountain horseshoe, below the pass between Grassy and South Grassy Mountain.

 

Photo via / Kootenay Rockies BC Mapbook

Photo via / Kootenay Rockies BC Mapbook

 

  1. Huckleberry Hut

Though the Huckleberry Hut is small, it still offers all the necessary utilities for a cozy cabin stay in the backcountry. The small hut features two double bunks, a fold-down table, wood stove and outhouse and can be easily accessed via Porto Rico Road, just 15 km (9.3 mi) south of Nelson. If you are heading to the hut in the summertime, a high clearance vehicle will get you within 2 km (1.24 mi) of the hut and will shorten your hike by an hour or two. Skiers can still access the cabin in winter, though the ski from Porto Rico road can take anywhere from 3-6 hours. No matter the season, the Huckleberry Hut is the easiest one to access in the Bonnington Range and backcountry explorers will enjoy its cozy mountain charm.

 

Photo via / kootenaysplitboarder.wordpress.com

Image: Huckleberry Hut

 

  1. Jumbo Pass Cabin

The Jumbo Pass Cabin is found along the 5.5 km (3.4 mi) mark of the Jumbo Pass Trail, on a ridge along the Purcell divide. The comfortable cabin can sleep 8 and offers some of the best ski touring and backpacking in the Kootenay Rockies. Hiking in the summer usually takes around 2.5-3 hours and starts at the 15.4 km (9.6 mi) mark of the Jumbo creek road, though it can also be reached from km 27 of the Glacier Creek Forest Service Road. In the summer, a tarn just east of the cabin provides ample drinking water and visitors will be greeted with incredible views of the Karnak and Jumbo Mountains to the northeast and Cauldron/Horseshoe glaciers to the southwest. For a large amount of fun in the Kootenay Rockies, don’t pass up the chance to hike to Jumbo Pass Cabin.

 

Photo via / Columbia Valley Hut Society - Pat Morrow

Image: Jumbo Pass Cabin

 

  1. Kokanee Glacier Cabin

If you didn’t think that backcountry camping could get any more luxurious than staying in a cozy cabin, think again. Situated on the shores of Kaslo Lake, in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, the gorgeous Kokanee Glacier cabin comes with all sorts of amenities to accommodate up to 20 people, including internet access! A moderate 7 km (4.3 mi) trail leads you to the cabin in the summer and you might even get lucky enough to walk-in without a reservation. Visitors wishing to stay in the winter and experience some of the best powder skiing in the world are required to enter a lottery to book a stay, and access to the cabin is by helicopter only.

 

Photo via / backwoodsmama.com

Image: Kokanee Glacier Cabin

 

  1. Silver Spray Cabin

The 1,000 metre (3,300 ft) climb over 7 km (4.3 mi) to Silver Spray Cabin may be difficult, but it certainly doesn’t deter people from heading there. The small cabin is located just north of Nelson in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park and has enough room to comfortably sleep 10. Adventurists that take on the grueling trek to the cabin will not only be treated to a cozy stay, but also prime access to three glaciers; Kokanee, Caribou and Woodbury. The cabin is only open in the summer due to high avalanche risk in the winter. Be sure to visit the Alpine Club of Canada (www.alpineclubofcanada.ca) to book ahead!

 

Photo via / footstepsecoadventures.com

Image: Silver Spray Cabin

 

  1. Woodbury Cabin

The Woodbury Cabin is unique to the Alpine Club of Canada, because unlike most of their structures which can be used year round, Woodbury is only open for the summer. Located north of Nelson in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, the cabin can be found on a very well-marked 8 km (5 mi) trail, with a moderate elevation gain of 760 m (2,490 ft.). Situated at the base of a rugged hillside among lush green mountain meadows, a trip to Woodbury Cabin is the perfect summer escape.

 

Photo via / British Columbia GPS Maps

Photo via / British Columbia GPS Maps

 

Although you can skip packing a tent when hiking in to a backcountry hut, it is still important to plan ahead and bring the proper supplies for a night or two in the backcountry, including emergency equipment. As these are shared spaces, please treat them with respect to help reduce the cost of unnecessary maintenance. Be sure to reserve ahead and be aware of any overnight fees or reservations are required.

 

Have you been hut hiking? Share your story of your favourite hut hiking experience in the comments below, or show us your pictures on Instagram! Use the hashtag #brmblife and you will be automatically entered to win prizes to help you out on even more incredible adventures.

 

 


 

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