Backcountry Hut : Asultkan Hut : Glacier National Park
Okay so we all know that hidden in the wilds of Canada there are heaps of secret little cabins and huts for adventuring. Many of them don’t have any official permission to be there, so we gotta keep them sacred! We’re going to talk about the official legit ones that are available to plan into a rad tentless trip!!
The Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) maintains the largest network of backcountry huts in Canada. Resting high above Roger’s Pass on Highway 1 near Revelstoke, The Asulkan Hut is a popular little gem in their collection!
The Asulkan Hut is available throughout the year, fantastically situated high up at edge of the true alpine (no trees) as a base for alpine touring in the winter and alpine scrambling and mountaineering in the summer. It sleeps 12 people, has propane heating, lighting and cooking facilities, and outdoor vault toilets. Sleeping mats, old board games, and endless reading material are all provided!
The Asulkan Valley Trail into Asulkan Hut is long and steep in any season! The 9km trails ticks off over 900m of elevation, and gets steeper as you get closer to the hut! Plan on 3-5 hours of intense uphill trekking to get up to the hut. The summer trail is very well marked and maintained, expect to see lots of people. The trail may close or be restricted to groups of four or more due to grizzly bear activity. In the winter, follow the summer trail as a guide and skin past the sleeping grizzlies!
The winter route deviates from the summer trail for the last couple of km, staying in the trees for protection as the summer trail approaches a terrain feature known as the mousetrap – this is an avy feature! Study up on everything you need to know about winter terrain before you go, top resources include the book Uptracks, Bootpacks, and Bushwhacks, the accompanying fold up map, and the winter terrain atlas provided by Parks Canada. Backcountry touring experience and AST1 skillz are absolutely must haves to do this trip, these are REAL mountains!!!
RAD adventure tip: if you don’t have a crew of 12 to book up the entire cabin, new friends can book the remaining spots! A crew of 12 of your closest friends, or new awesome adventure buddies – either way you’re GOLDEN!!
Cost: Hut fee ($30/night for members, $40/night for non-member) plus National Park admission
When to go: Year round.
Distance: 9km one way.
Trip rating: C2, C3
Access: In the snow free season, start at the Illecillewaet Trailhead in Glacier National Park. The winter trailhead is about 500m west on Highway 1. Expect the winter trailhead to be packed most days! Both trailheads are directly off of Highway 1, 72km east of Revelstoke and 80km West of Golden.
Summer Trailhead: N51.26389 W117.49275
Winter Trailhead: N51.26852 ° W117.50661 °
Hut: N51.21429 ° W117.46956 °