Kain Hut Trail – Best Canadian Rockies Day Hikes

#1 – Canadian Rockies Day Hikes: Kain Hut Trail w/ Applebee Dome

Kain Hut Trail
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  • Location: Bugaboo Provincial Park 
  • Trailhead: Kain Hut Parking Lot
  • Type: Out-n-Back
  • Rating: Strenuous to Extreme
  • Total Distance: 7.6 miles (to the small lake just beyond Applebee Dome and back)
    • Conrad Kain Hut is 6 miles total
  • Trailhead Elevation: 5,000′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 3,362′
  • Recommended Time: Full-day. (It is a journey to just get to the trailhead. The hike itself takes half a day.)
  • Recommended Season: Mid-July to Late-August

Climbing & Day Hikes

Last Tree
A small tree grows near the Applebee Dome Campground overlooking the Bugaboo Glacier.

Bugaboo Provincial Park is a climbing mecca for those seeking challenging vertical cliff faces. The Bugaboo Glacier has carved out rugged stone spires along its steep descent into the valley of the Canadian Rockies. The granite monoliths protruding from ancient glacial ice flows are great for climbing but the sheer beauty of this place is overwhelming. Jennifer and I have traveled far and wide seeking out the most beautiful glaciers. Thus far, the Bugaboo’s river of glacial ice stands out as the most picturesque we’ve ever seen. While the Conrad Kain Hut, Boulder Campground, and the Applebee Dome Campground further up the mountain are starting points for climbers, they make for an amazing day hike as well. The Kain Hut Trail is the path to discovering this gorgeous landscape for yourself and the best day hike in the Canadian Rockies.

Kain Hut Trail

Hiking Kain Hut Trail
Jennifer hiking the Kain Hut Trail.

The trail getting to the Conrad Kain Hut isn’t for the faint of heart. It has over 2,400′ of elevation gain in 3-miles. The first mile is nearly flat so the remainder of the trail gains more than 1,000′ every mile. The path has steep switchbacks and vertical cliff faces where the trail is supplemented with chains and even an iron ladder bolted into the rock face. This isn’t your average hiking adventure. Climbers complete this route while carrying backpacking and climbing gear plus supplies, so, in comparison, taking on the Kain Hut Trail as a day hike is a reasonable undertaking. You might disagree if you aren’t familiar with cliffside trails.

Bugaboo Trail Map
A map of the Kain Hut Trail in Canada’s Bugaboo Provincial Park.

Conrad Kain Hut

Kain Hut Waterfall
The Conrad Kain Hut is perched on a cliff above a waterfall. This truly has to be one of the best-situated huts in the Canadian Rockies.

Kain Hut affords some amazing views of the alpine terrain and the massive Bugaboo glacier. It is a truly stunning spot. However, to have the full experience we recommend continuing the accent to the Applebee Dome where there is a small alpine lake just beyond the campground.

Applebee Dome Trail

The Applebee Dome Trail continues the steep ascent into the mountains gaining another 900′ in 3/4 of a mile. This trail is a little difficult to follow as snow lingers well into the summer. In fact, in late July the snow was so deep in areas that there were no rocks protruding out of it. Traveling with micro-spikes is highly recommended throughout most of the summer. The views from the Applebee Dome Campground are nothing short of amazing. The unnamed lake, which I can only assume is referred to as Applebee Lake, is equally beautiful as it sits in an alpine bowl covered in snow with jagged cliffs rising on three sides.

Applebee Lake
This alpine lake is just beyond the Applebee Campground.

Getting to the Trailhead

Getting to this stunning and oddly named Provincial Park is an epic journey in itself. It can prove difficult as it requires driving on 28 miles of moderately maintained dirt roads with no cell service for most of the way. We saw a lot of low clearance vehicles making the journey but I would recommend high-clearance for peace of mind.

Chicken Wire Challenge

Chicken Wire Protection
I think we did a pretty good job of protecting YOLOM with our novice skills in this chicken wire challenge.

The last obstacle one wishing to hike the Kain Hut Trail must face is mastering the skill of wrapping a vehicle in chicken wire. I’m not kidding. There are no tutorials but all supplies are provided by the park’s service. This essential life skill can be gleaned from looking at your fellow epic traveler’s vehicles that are already in the parking lot. Why you may ask? The local porcupines have acquired a taste for rubber. This includes gnawing on your tires and more importantly your break lines. We were especially nervous because we had put new tires on our truck three days before our visit. They had that new tire smell I was certain would be irresistible to the prickly varmints.

It is Amazing!

Bugaboo Glacier
The towering granite monolith known as the Hound’s Tooth rises out of the steep Bugaboo Glacier.

This is one of the hardest trails to get to with some unique wildlife challenges and a strenuous hike. However, for those who do take on the Kain Hut Trail an epic adventure awaits with one of the most scenic areas in all of the Canadian Rockies as your reward.

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The Best Canadian Rockies Day Hikes
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That’s our Top 40 best Canadian Rockies day hikes! If you think we missed one of the best, leave us a comment. If you have enjoyed this list, make sure to share it on your social networks to help your friends start planning their next adventure.

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