Mix challenge and luxury just two hours north of the Washington/Idaho state line with a 13-mile, three-day lollipop to a pair of well-appointed huts. You’ll climb in the shadow of fissured Woodbury Glacier, one of two large icefields that punctuate the 79,160-acre park.
Start up often-overgrown trail (bear alert!) 4.9 miles and 3,000 vertical feet from Woodbury Glacier trailhead to isolated Woodbury Cabin (stunning setting, but BYO mousetraps).
You have two choices to get from here to Silver Spray Cabin: The easier way sticks to alpine bowls just southeast of the Sawtooth Range ridgeline, following talus slopes and alpine meadows over several low saddles. The four-mile route requires bushwhacking, boulder-hopping, and orienteering, but maps in both huts show the path.
More fun: Rope up and take the four-mile, class 4 ridgeline from 8,563-foot Moonlight Peak, across the summit of Mt. Kemball, to Evening Star Peak (pack a 20- to 30-meter rope, three cams, three nuts, and some long slings). From the ridge north of Evening Star, descend east following cairns to luxurious Silver Spray Cabin, with its spacious picture windows overlooking creekside meadows and towering cliffs.
To finish, drop down the Silver Spray Trail 3.9 miles to the trailhead. Tips: High-clearance rides only; protect your rig from trailhead porcupines with on-site chicken wire; and on the drive out, soak in nearby Ainsworth Hot Springs off Highway 3A.
Map NTS quad 082F14; $16CAD for waterproof versions; (888) 545-8111; fedmaps.com
Guide Summit Mountain Guides; (250) 354-4884; summitmountainguides.com
Huts $25CAD/person/night; (403) 678-3200; alpineclubofcanada.ca; Both include stove, fuel, and sleeping pads; Woodbury provides cookware.
Contact (604) 660-2421; bcparks.ca
Cost DIY $/Guided $$$$
Map & GPS data backpacker.com/hikes/1395700
>> Online Trip Planning Extras
Get There From Ainsworth Hot Springs between Kaslo and Nelson on Highway 31, drive 5.5 miles north to the signed turn-off “Kokanee Glacier Woodbury Creek.” Turn left/west onto this gravel road, stick to the main track at all forks, and drive 8 miles to trailhead. The last .8 miles require high clearance.
Nelson (Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park gateway)
>> Lodging: Alpine Motel (inexpensive, quiet, convenient location); (250) 342-5501; alpine-motel.com
>> Hot Springs: Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort; (250) 229-4212; hotnaturally.com
Kaslo (Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park gateway)
>> Lodging and restaurant: Kaslo Hotel (luxury restored Victorian, balcony lake views, excellent lunches & dinners, convenient location), (250) 353-7714; kaslohotel.com
Kimberley (transit town between Kokanee and Calgary)
>> Lodging: Chateau Kimberley (Hotel and art gallery, continental breakfast), (250) 427-1500; chateaukimberleyhotel.com
>> Restaurant: The Pedal and Tap (bike-themed restaurant/patio on the Kimberley pedestrian plaza, veggie and organic food, killer beer & wine selection), (250) 427-3325; pedalandtap.com
>> Restaurant: The Village Bistro (gourmet dining, intimate setting, full bar), (250) 427-2830; villagebistro.ca