Backpack to Alberta's Abbot Pass Hut

Lake O'Hara Trailhead, Field, British Columbia, Canada

  • Activities:

    Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    16.2 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1500 Feet


Strong hike to one of the highest permanent structures in Canada. Spend some time on the Continental Divide. Stunning views over the mountains. Reachable by bus or on foot. 26km roundtrip hike and scramble.

Built in 1922 with the stones from the pass, the Abbot Pass Hut and has served both as a base for mountaineers and as a destination for strong hikers ever since. Sitting at 2,926 meters' elevation, it is second only to the Neil Colgan Hut on the list of highest permanent structures in Canada. The hut is on the Continental Divide, so the provincial and National Park borders run straight through its middle.

How to Get There

The Abbot Pass Hut is reached via Lake O'Hara is by a Parks Canada bus (which runs from June to September only) or a 13-kilometer hike. From Lake O'Hara, excellent trails lead to Lake Oesa, which is followed by 1,500 vertical feet of difficult scrambling and hiking on scree slopes. Stay the night or head back on down. On your return down the pass, you can extend your hike to one of the five trail heads that surround Lake O'Hara. The total hike takes four to five hours.

Pack List

  • Cooking facilities with a wood and propane stove available for overnight use at the hut
  • Food/water
  • Sleeping bag
  • Tent
  • Plenty of warm clothing
  • Helmets and crampons (recommended by Parks Canada)
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Overall rating: 

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The Abbot Ass hut is definitely spectacular, but the approach to the hut starts pleasantly and then turns into a pretty horrendous scree slog. Start early to avoid being stuck beneath inexperienced parties that drop a lot of rocks. Helmets are essential. The hut itself is beautiful, perched in the most unlikely spot. But after about ten minutes you realize there isn't really anything to do but admire the views. It's great for a lunch stop, and novelty factor, but it gets tedious if you stay the night and aren't climbing Lefroy or Victoria. Good day trip. But not worth the money or time for an overnight. Better off getting an extra day of hiking around O'hara.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Matt Clark

Photographer specializing in Endurance and Mountain Sports, travel, people and culture

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