Backcountry Shelters Near Vancouver

I love camping in my tent but I’m a big wuss when it comes to cold weather. I love a good hut weekend any time of year, but especially during the Spring and Autumn shoulder seasons when it’s cold and rainy, curling up by the fire after a long day hiking outside and listening to the rain patter on the steel roof instead of praying it doesn’t seep through the tent is oh-so-comforting. Lucky for people like me, we’re super close to quite a few fantastic backcountry shelters near Vancouver.

Some are paid, some are free. Some expensive, some really cheap. Some take reservations, others not. Some require membership, but mostly not. Some are private, others public. Some allow dogs, but not all. There’s a huge variety, too much to list it all so I’ll try to give you the key information from which you can take off and explore further. Some are managed, others for emergencies only, and others just old abandoned buildings. I’m listing them all as you should know where the emergency shelters are should you need to use them.

Who runs them?

The Alpine Club of Canada and Parks Canada have quite a few throughout the country. Out-there.com is another good resource for a Canada-wide listing of lodges, huts, yurts and other shelters. BC Mountaineering Club and BC Parks has a few cabins and yurts in our province, UBC Varsity Outdoors Club has a few, Doglotion and BackCountryHuts.net list a bunch of shelters throughout the province, Powell River Parks and Wilderness Society (aka PAWS) manages the free huts along the Sunshine Coast Trail and Tetrahedron Outdoors Club the four cabins in that Coast park. Backcountry Lodges of BC lists a bunch of commercial backcountry lodges (more on the pricey side). Washington State Parks has a bunch of different shelter types in WA, and Washington Trails Association lists a bunch of old Fire Tower Lookouts that people often crash in. I’m sure I’m missing a bunch, but here below is a list of some great backcountry huts near-ish Vancouver that I’ve found.

 

New photo by Kristine Krynitzki / Google Photos

How to use them?

Note that shared huts/cabins are for people to have a place to rest while recreating in the backcountry. Most are volunteer-run and they demand your respect as a user. Always clean up after yourself, leaving the space in better condition than when you found it, share the space with others wanting to use it, use resources like firewood and solar power sparingly, and be respectful of quiet time (11pm is a good rule-of-thumb). Backcountry adventurers play hard and need a good sleep to rest up for the next day’s adventure. I hope this goes without saying, but shared backcountry shelters are not for parties – don’t be that selfish jerk. I love a good party too, but if that’s what you’re up there to do, only use reservable shelters that you book out fully for your group.

If it’s a FCFS (first come first served) shelter, bring a tent for back-up in case it’s full, and travel with a small group to increase your chances of getting a spot. Hiking in off-season, mid-week or in bad weather will also increase your chances of getting a spot.

Fire Lookouts and emergency shelters aren’t meant to be slept in. Note they are not designed for sleeping in, so usually not insulated, lots without doors, window coverings etc. They’re mostly just a roof and some walls maybe, a shelter from rain/snow but don’t provide much warmth or security from critters.

Anytime you’re in the backcountry, always practice Leave No Trace, leave a trip plan, make sure you are prepared, and take all essential gear. Learn more at adventuresmart.ca

 

 

New photo by Kristine Krynitzki / Google Photos

 

Shelters Near Vancouver


SEA TO SKY

Elsay Lake Shelter – near North Vancouver

Magnesia Meadows Emergency Shelter – Lions Bay

Brunswick Lake Emergency Shelter – Lions Bay

Sea to Sky Parks Cabins – in Porteau Cove

Lost Lake Shelter aka Kallahne Cabin – near Porteau Cove

Watersprite Lake Hut – near Squamish

Tantalus Hut – near Squamish

Jim Haberl Hut – near Squamish

Brew Hut – near Squamish

Sphinx (aka Roland Burton) Hut – near Squamish

Mountain Lake Hut – near Squamish

Elfin Lakes Shelter – Near Squamish

Brohm Ridge Chalet & Clubhouse – near Squamish

Russet Lake Shelter – near Whistler

Journeyman Lodge – near Whistler

Wedgemount Lake Shelter – near Whistler

Spearhead Huts (coming soon) – near Whistler

Sentinel Bay Glaciology Huts – near Whistler

Tenquille Lake Cabin – near Pemberton

Wendy Thompson Hut – near Pemberton

Keith Flavelle Memorial Hut – near Pemberton

Snowspider Hut – near Pemberton

North Creek Cabin – near Pemberton

Harrison Hut – near Pemberton

Lizzie Creek Cabin – near Pemberton

McGillivray Pass Lodge – near Pemberton

Brian Waddington (aka Phelix) Hut – near Pemberton

Lillooet Lake Lodge Cabins – near Pemberton

 

SUNSHINE COAST

Sunshine Coast Trail Huts – throughout Sunshine Coast

Hallowell Fire Watchtower – near Garden Bay (Sunshine Coast)

Tetrahedron Provincial Park Cabins – Sunshine Coast
– Batchelor, McNair, Edwards, and Mt. Steele cabins

 

EAST OF VANCOUVER

Burke Mountain Ski Chalet Cabins – Coquitlam

Golden Ears Emergency Shelter – in Maple Ridge

Dewdney Cabin – in Mission

Windy Joe Fire Lookout – Manning Park (near Hope)

Frost Creek Cabin – Manning Park (near Hope)

 

VANCOUVER ISLAND

San Juan Ridge Cabins – Vancouver Island

 

WASHINGTON STATE

Winchester Mountain Fire Lookout – near Mt. Baker

Sourdough Mountain Fire Lookout – near Mt Baker

Hidden Lake Lookout Fire Tower – near Mt Baker

Suiattle Guard Station – near Mt Vernon, WA

Heybrook Lookout – near Everett, WA

Three Fingers Lookout – near Everett, WA

Cottonwood Cabin – near Everett, WA

Evergreen Mountain Lookout Cabin – near Everett, WA

Granite Mountain Fire Lookout – near Seattle, WA

Teanaway Guard Station – near Seattle, WA

Alpine Lookout Fire Tower – near Leavenworth, WA

Red Top Lookout Fire Tower, near Leavenworth, WA

 

There are a ton of other huts in other accessible areas of BC like the interior, Okanagan, Rockies, etc, as well as AB and WA, but there are way too many to list them all here. A quick google search will bring up lots of options for you if you’re looking to do a longer trip out to places like those, or check out some of the other links above under the “how to use the huts” section.

Did I miss any huts close to Vancouver? Email me at info [at] hikesnearvancouver [dot] ca and I’ll add it to my list above!

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