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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.

SUMMER: FAMILY-FRIENDLY HIKING HUT

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.

WINTER: SKI TOURING AND ICE CLIMBING THAT’S CLOSER THAN YOU THINK

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.

ACC HUT IN BC PARKS

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.

LOWER ELK LAKE WILDERNESS CAMPGROUND

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.

MEMBER RATES

Pricing is subject to change without notice.

NON-MEMBER RATES

Pricing is subject to change without notice.

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

FACILITIES

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

RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

Summer

  • Trail Hiking
  • Scrambling

Winter

  • Ski Touring

Summer Access: 

Hiking from Peter Lougheed Provincial Park: Park at the Elk Pass trailhead in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. From the trailhead, follow the Elk Pass trail to Fox Creek. At Fox Creek, hikers may take the left fork to follow the Hydroline trail to Elk Pass (3.9km). Hikers may also take the right fork to Elk Pass via the Elk Pass trail (4.4km). Once you reach the AB/BC border, follow the road downhill for 4.2 km until you reach the cabin. 

Biking from Peter Lougheed Provincial Park: Park at the Elk Pass trailhead in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. From the trailhead, bike along the Elk Pass trail to Fox Creek. At Fox Creek, take the left fork to follow the Hydroline trail to Elk Pass (3.9km). Once you reach the AB/BC border, follow the road downhill for 4.2 km until you reach the cabin. There are bike racks across from the cabin. Biking is not permitted past the Elk Lakes Provincial Park campground.  

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. 

Winter access: 

Skiing from Peter Lougheed Provincial Park: Park at the Elk Pass trailhead in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Follow the Elk Pass winter trail to Fox Creek. At Fox Creek, skiers may take the left fork to follow the Hydroline trail to Elk Pass (3.9km). Skiers may also take the right fork to Elk Pass via the Elk Pass trail (4.4km). In the winter, this route is typically track set to Elk Pass. At Elk Pass, follow the Hydroline road for 4.3km until you reach the hut.  

Snowshoeing from Peter Lougheed Provincial Park: Park at the Elk Pass trailhead in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Follow the well-marked Elk Pass Snowshoe trail, which follows the Hydroline trail (highlighted in green on the map below). The marked snowshoe trail meets up with the ski trail in a few sections. Please stay single file on sections shared with the ski trail and do not walk over the track-set ski trails.  


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 and Alberta Parks 

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.

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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References And Links