Bow Hut fact: The original Bow Hut was built in 1968. It was replaced with the current hut in 1989.
The ACC operates the largest network of backcountry huts in North America. The Bow Hut is fantastically scenic, perfectly situated and is an excellent base for exploring further onto the Wapta Icefields in winter or summer. See all of our huts here.
Trail distance: 8 km
Elevation Gain: 400 m
Trailhead: Bow Lake, Banff National Park
Family Friendly: No
Activities: Scrambling, Mountaineering, Backcountry skiing, Ski-mountaineering
Technical Considerations: Glacier Travel, Avalanche Terrain; ATES Class 3
Bow Hut is the heart of the Wapta Icefields, giving access to the Wapta Traverse, popular ascents, and a beautiful glacial landscape. The hut has separate kitchen and living quarters from sleeping dorms, as well as an attached outhouse. The approach starts at Bow Lake and does not require any glacier travel to access the hut. In winter, the route involves significant avalanche terrain.
Hut Location: 51.6345,-116.4899
Staying in a backcountry hut is a shared, rustic experience. Sleeping, kitchen and living areas are communal. Guests area expected to bring their own sleeping bags, food and personal items.
All of our huts are user-maintained, meaning that the custodial work of keeping the hut clean, chopping firewood and shovelling snow is done by the guests. The ACC provides major service and renovations to all of our huts each year to ensure they are in good repair.
There are no transition days between bookings. Guests are responsible to sanitize before and after use of the huts.
Download our hut cleaning and sanitation guidelines here.
The Bow Hut is fantastically scenic, perfectly situated and is an excellent base for exploring further onto the Wapta Icefields in winter or summer. It is the easiest and most natural route onto the Wapta and gives access to the Peyto Hut to the north, and the Balfour and Scott Duncan huts to the south. In winter, a trip to the Bow Hut is a common first ski-mountaineering experience, being a reasonable days ski from the highway and providing access to fantastic powder skiing and great ski-mountaineering objectives like Mt. Olive and St. Nicholas Peak. The peaks of the Wapta are an attraction for summer mountaineering as well and many climbers have learned or honed their glacier travel and crevasse rescue skills within sight of the hut. The hut itself is bright, spacious and fantastically scenic. It is the largest, best equipped and most accessible of the four huts on the Wapta.
The Wapta Icefield is home to four ACC huts. See Whyte (Peyto), R.J. Ritchie (Balfour), Louise and Richard (Guy), and Scott Duncan huts.
Sleeping Capacity: 30
Bedding: Mattress pads provided, bring your own sleeping bag
Cooking: Propane stovetops (propane supplied). Pots and pans, dishware and cutlery are provided.
Lighting: Propane lighting – propane is supplied
Heat: Wood stove – firewood is provided
Water Source: Snow melt
Bow Lake approach: Bow Hut is reached in a day from the highway via a 4-6 hour hike (summer) or ski (winter). From the trailhead at Num-ti-jah Lodge the route follows the lake, canyon and trails to the bench overlooking Bow Lake. From the north (Peyto Hut): In good conditions this is an easy glacier crossing but navigation can be difficult with poor visibility. From the south (Balfour Hut): From the Balfour Hut, the route ascends the Vulture Glacier and descends around the west side of St. Nicholas Peak to the Bow Hut.
Quick Description: From Bow Lake, a 4-6 hour hike (summer) or ski (winter) to the benches below St. Nicholas Peak.
Elevation Gain to Hut: 400 m (1,300 ft)
Approach Time: 4 to 6 hours
Trail Conditions: Parks Canada
Approach Description: Printable PDF
ACC Members may make reservations up to 6 months in advance. To access this benefit, please LOG IN to your membership account and follow the prompts.
If you are not an active member, you may SIGN-UP to join a community of alpine enthusiasts.
Non-Members are welcome to make reservations up to 3 months in advance.
Please call our reservation team at 403-678-3200 ext. 0 if you are looking to make a booking within 1-week of check-in.
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