4.5 km
730Elevation Gain (m)
Conrad Kain Hut trail is a busy hike to the overnight shelter used by climbers and hikers. The Kain Hut is near the base of the impressive Snowpatch Spire jutting out of the massively cracked Bugaboo Glacier and Crescent Glacier. Climbers use the trail as a warm-up stroll for their ascent up granite spires that rise in nearly vertical pinnacles from the sculpted glaciers.

Hikers can enjoy the amazing scenery of the Bugaboos and the challenge of the steep climb. The hike offers views of the impressive spires most of the way, and, with tumbling creeks and open alpine views, it is a very worthwhile hike.

The well-built trail follows the forested and open alpine slopes of an ancient moraine along the northern side of Kain Creek. Sturdy footwear is required, as the trail climbs an aluminum ladder in one spot, and cables fastened to the rock assist hikers up a couple of exposed steep sections.

Prepare for all kinds of weather – freezing temperatures and severe snowfalls – even in summer. High winds and thunderstorms can occur any time, even if the day begins with a hot weather forecast and a clear sky.

Dogs are not allowed in Bugaboo Provincial Park. BC Parks manages the provincial park, and their website provides information on the history, general park information and a park map: www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/bugaboo.

Conrad Kain Hut sits on a protected ridge away from avalanche slopes. It is situated high in the alpine surrounded by glaciers and granite towers. The hut is primarily accommodation for rock climbers, but hikers may also reserve space. Contact the Alpine Club of Canada

Conrad Kain Hut
Visitors to the hut must bring their own supplies and equipment, including cooking utensils and sleeping pads. The Kain Hut is open from mid-June to late September.

The Alpine Club of Canada built the hut in 1972 to accommodate 40 people. To reserve space, see the ACC website, www.alpineclubofcanada.ca. The hut is powered by a state-of-the-art hydroelectric plant on the small creek just below the shelter. The tiny creek generates enough electricity to power all the lighting, hot water, baseboard heaters and an electric stove.

There are two “campgrounds” near Kain Hut and they are filled on a first-come-first-served basis. A camp fee is charged per tent.

Mount Applebea Dome campsite is worth the hike, even if you are not camping. The “campsite” sprawls on a giant sloping chunk of bedrock, and alpine plants cling to the crags between the slabs. You’ve got to see the “view” from the “throne.” A stone outhouse perches on a cliff face, with a rough stone staircase and a window facing Crescent Glacier and Bugaboo Spire. To reach the campsite, follow the cairns north across a creek and up a steeply sloping moraine and bouldered sidehill. Climb north for 1 km and gain another 300 m (1,000 ft.) above Kain Hut. The trail is good most of the way and the site accommodates about 14 tents.

Boulder campsite is about 100 m from Kain Hut. Follow the trail below the hut by an impressive waterfall. Boulder Camp has eight tent sites.Trail

0 km: Parking at the trailhead, N21300-E19300. Trail gradually gains elevation in the valley by the creek.

1 km: Grade steepens and you get the first feeling of granite on your hands as you climb the base of the moraine. Hike up between massive granite boulders in the forest and open alpine slopes.

2.4 km: As you climb out of the forest, the alpine vegetation exposes more of the impressive views. The grade steepens significantly. There is a ladder fastened to the rock and several cables to hold on to as you hike up the trail.

4.5 km: Conrad Kain Hut, N20400-E16500.

5.5 km: Applebea Camp, N21000-E16300. A steep hike on loose rocks on a partially defined trail above the cabin.


Road: Main Bugaboo FS road; any vehicle; open late spring to fall: potholes, washboards, dusty, rocky. Final several kilometres requires high-clearance vehicle.

See the complete road directions for the Bugaboos under the Bugaboos section earlier in the chapter.

0 km: Turn right (west) into Bugaboo Provincial Park at the sign, N22800-E21000 (47 km up Bugaboo FS Road) and drive southwest on the provincial park road. Pass the Cobalt Lake trailhead at 750 m.

2.2 km: Bounce up this rough road to the Kain Hut trailhead. A fabulous view of Snowpatch Spire juts out of the glacier in front of you as you drive up the road; best light is in the morning. At the end of the road is a large parking lot. BC Parks supplies rolls of chicken wire to wrap your vehicle when you are leaving it overnight, to prevent porcupines from chewing your vehicle hoses; see Introduction.

Hike Map
Janice Strong

Janice Strong

Janice Strong is an established professional outdoor photographer. Her images grace collections all over the world and appear in many respected publications. She is passionate about hiking and is also an avid snowshoer and skier, exploring the outdoors of the East Kootenay in southeastern BC year round.

She openly shares her passion for the outdoors with others and has introduced hundreds of people to the joys of hiking. For a decade she led hikes for the City of Cranbrook – Parks and Recreation. With her guidance, many people have themselves become enthusiastic hikers.

Climbing mountains, finding new places and enjoying the experience of the journey have always been important to Janice. She cherishes the little things she sees along the trail, as well as the grand destinations.

When Janice is not writing, hiking or taking photographs, she is involved in various creative digital, website design or photographic projects for her clients. She and her husband, Jamie Levine, enjoy their rural property, near Cranbrook, BC.

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