The Alpine Club of Canada

Elk Lakes Cabin

Elk Lakes fact: In summer the Elk Lakes Cabin can be accessed by mountain bikes (although all of the other trails in the park are hiking-only)

Elk Lakes Cabin

The ACC operates the largest network of backcountry huts in North America. The Elk Lakes Cabin is a log cabin close to Calgary that is a cozy base for hiking, ski touring and ice climbing. See all of our huts here.

At A Glance

Trail distance: 9 km  
Elevation Gain: 200 m
Trailhead: Elk Pass, Kananaskis, Elk Lakes Provincial Park  
Family Friendly: Yes
Activities: Scrambling, Day Hiking, Cross Country Skiing, Ice Climbing, backcountry skiing
Technical Considerations: Access from Peter Lougheed requires purchase Kananaskis Pass

This cozy log cabin is one of the ACC’s most popular huts. Summer – Elk Lakes Cabin is an excellent base from which to explore the sparkling lakes, waterfalls and majestic peaks of the area. Access is via Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in Kananaskis Country or driving from Elkford, BC (summer only). Mountain Bikes can be used to access the hut, but are not permitted on the trails in the park. Winter – Ski or snowshoe access is via the same trail as summer bike trail and takes 3-4 hours. For XC skiers; Alberta Parks tracksets trails to Elk Pass but the trail is not groomed for XC skiing beyond this point. The hut provides access to a number of high-quality ice climbs. Due to recent logging outside of the park, cut blocks offer simple terrain for ski touring. 

Capacity: 14
Hut Location: 50.5510, -115.0731
Heat: Wood
Light: Propane
Stove: Propane
Oven: Propane
Mattress: Yes
Open: Year-round

The Hut Experience

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.


Elk Lakes in the summer is a welcome base for families exploring the wonderful hiking in the Park. Sparkling lakes, majestic peaks and nearly limitless hiking options are waiting to be explored.

A reasonable 3 to 4 hour hike from Peter Lougheed Park makes this a popular family destination and a first-time backcountry hut experience for many.


The Elk Lakes Cabin in the winter is a cozy and warm base for ski touring and ice climbing adventures. Ski tourers often refer to Elk Lakes as a lesser-known Lake O’Hara, with outstanding terrain and fluffy BC powder.

Fat, pure-ice routes and skinny, modern mixed climbs abound in the area, mostly on the south face of Mt. Fox that overlooks the upper Elk Lake. Tick off classic Rockies ice climbs by day, dry your ropes in the cozy cabin by night.


The Elk Lakes Cabin is one of five huts operated by the ACC which reside in the BC Parks jurisdiction. ACC Membership is not required to advance book or receive a discounted rate at these huts.


There are 10 wilderness walk in campsites at Lower Elk Lake. This area offers toilets, fire rings, food cache, and tent pads on the north side of the lake in the trees.

You can pre-pay for a backcountry permit online through BC Parks’ Backcountry Registration System. Permits are $5/person. Please note that this is NOT a reservation, simply an alternative way to pay for a permit (versus on-site) – sites are subject to available space and are not guaranteed.


Pricing is subject to change without notice.


Pricing is subject to change without notice.

Summer (May 1 to October 30)
Rate (both for ACC member/non-member)


Sleeping Capacity: 14

Bedding: Mattress pads provided, bring your own sleeping bag

Cooking: Propane stove and oven – propane is supplied. Pots and pans, dishware and cutlery are provided.

Bathroom: Outhouse

Lighting: Propane lighting – propane is supplied

Heat: Wood stove – firewood is provided

Water Source: Snow melt, Creek

Other: Camping available on site



  • Trail Hiking
  • Scrambling


  • Ski Touring

Hiking from Peter Lougheed Provincial Park: From Elk Pass trailhead near Upper Kananaskis Lakes, 4.8 km uphill hike (200m elevation gain) is followed by 4.2km downhill hike (200m elevation loss) to the hut.

Biking/Skiing/Snowshoeing from Peter Lougheed: The same trailhead is used as in the hiking approach (above). After 2km the Fox creek is crossed to follow the hydro cut line. The hydro line comes out a couple hundred metres east of the hut. In winter this route is track set as far as Elk Pass (half way).

Driving approach from Sparwood, BC: Highway 93 north to Elkford (35 km), followed by 70km on gravel road. Summer access only, high-clearance vehicle recommended.

Seasonal road closure: Hwy 40 from Longview to Highwood Pass.

Quick Description: Elevation Gain to Hut: 200 m gain (and 200 m loss)
Approach Time: 3 to 4 hours
Trail Conditions: BC Parks

Approach Description: Printable PDF

ACC huts in BC Provincial Parks (Kokanee Glacier Cabin, Conrad Kain Hut, Elk Lakes Cabin, Silver Spray Cabin, Woodbury Cabin) may be booked by ACC members and non-members up to six months in advance.

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References And Links