Backcountry Hut Trips
Tuck into a cozy alpine cabin after spending the day surrounded by 360 degrees of wilderness. Despite the thin air, vast views and sheer isolation never cease to energize me.
Backcountry hut trips can provide some of the most rewarding adventure travel experiences. Luckily for us, BC is home to a wealth of these lodges - they exist in a variety of forms, some as comfortably-catered cabins and others as rustic outposts.
Within the Thompson Okanagan, the North Thompson is a mecca for seasoned adventurers. The best spots aren’t always the easiest to get to, but that’s what makes it rewarding. In this article I’m going to identify three North Thompson backcountry lodge trips worth talking about.
First, when choosing a backcountry hut to visit, research is key. Access and facilities vary greatly. The Backcountry Lodges of British Columbia Association (BLBCA) make up an extensive network of remote accommodation generally situated in the alpine, above the treeline. Visiting a hut within this association helps to ensure that visitation is properly regulated, lodge operations are sensitive to the environment and are within adherence to BC wildlife and employment guidelines.
Due to remoteness, those who run or visit these lodges are experts in using alternative energy systems, responsibly treating water, and ensuring that visitors tread lightly on the natural environment.
With the exception of some transportation (like helicopters), all activities within the backcountry network are non-mechanized. Leaving the smallest footprint possible is a value that is vital to the preservation of these remote experiences.
In Wells Gray Provincial Park, you’re amongst giants. Whether they be old growth forests, untouched mountain ridges, or the famous wildflower meadows - this is a vast playground. There are three lodges that exist within this set: Trophy Mountain Lodge, Fight Meadow Lodge and Discovery Cabin. If you’re new to the backcountry, let Wells Gray Adventures take care of the details. Their packages include guiding, accommodations, catering, and transportation to and from the trail head.
These huts are available year-round. In the winter, this area has one of the most consistent snowfalls in BC - and terrain exists at a variety of levels. Access via helicopter and snowcat are available.
The Monashee Chalet is located south of Blue River. This dormitory-style hut is basic, but let’s face it - you’re not coming all the way here to relax inside. In the summer, the chalet sits beside a lake and a backdrop of endless alpine hiking. In the winter, this area is known for tree skiing and can be reached by touring or snowmobile.
Set amongst subalpine meadows and lakes, this lodge is on the boundary of Mount Robson Provincial Park and has a sunny exposure to spectacular views.
Dave Henry Lodge accommodates up to 10 people in a semi-divided room format. In the summer, guided hikes or horseback rides can be arranged through the owners. When the snow flies, guided ski packages are also available. The owners also operate Swift Creek Cabins, which are located 14 kilometres northwest of Dave Henry, and make for a great hut-to-hut trip.
It may go without saying, but the backcountry is remote and conditions can be unpredictable. Take the proper precautions before setting out and be prepared. Visit BLBCA Safety Training & Resources.
Winter adds a layer of complexity to travelling in the wilderness. Ensure that you go with a reputable guide or have the proper experience and certification. Check backcountry conditions before departing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Meghan Reading is a Canadian travel photographer. She grew up in the rocky mountains of Alberta but now calls British Columbia home. While she looks forward to continuing to explore the world with her camera, her favourite destination will always be her own backyard.