If you’ve been following our Backpacking 101 series, by now you will have learned (1) how to fit your backpack to you properly, (2) how to pack your backpack and (3) what to pack for a 1 to 2 night trip. Now to cap off all your new found knowledge, this post will cover some recommended beginner backpacking trips (1 to 2 nights)!
I’ve picked these trails and huts because the hike to them is ~10km or less and there is very little elevation gain, which should translate into a relatively more enjoyable first time experience. I’ve also included a few intermediate trails and trips for those that have a couple nights of backpacking experience under their belts and want to pick it up a little. The intermediate trails are either multi-day (2 nights) and require a bit more hiking with some elevation gain.
On top of some recommended backpacking trips, I included a list of my favorite Alpine Club of Canada backountry huts. Not only are huts an amazing way to spend a weekend, they can be used as a great progression tool into backpacking.
1 to 2 Night Trip Ideas
Remember to reserve a backcountry camping permit as well as tent spots at the campsites you plan to hike to. The huts require a backcountry permit as well, and a reserved spot in the hut, be sure to do this well in advance (months in advance is recommended for the popular ones).
|Kananaskis||Ribbon Creek to Ribbon Falls
or Ribbon Lake
|Ribbon Falls Campground or||8.1km to the falls
10.1km to the lake (+2km from the falls)
|Beginner (1 night)|
|Banff National Park||Lake Minnewanka||Aylmer Pass Junction||8km to Aylmer Pass Junction||Beginner (1night)|
|Yoho National Park||Laughing Falls||Laughing Falls||4.4km to laughing falls||Beginner (1 night)|
|Yoho National Park||Little Yoho Valley||Little Yoho Campground||10km to Little Yoho Campground (+5km from laughing falls)||Intermediate (2 nights)|
Alpine Club of Canada Huts:
|Area||Trail Name||Hut Name||Distance(s)||Difficulty|
|Peter Lougheed Park||Elk Pass||Elk Lakes Hut||9km to the hut||Beginner|
|Yoho National Park||Little Yoho Valley (approach) & Iceline (return)
|Stanley Mitchell Hut||10km to the hut||Beginner|
|Banff National Park||Bow Glacier (Blog post review)||Bow Hut||10 km to the hut, with significant elevation gain||Intermediate+|
|Jasper National Park||Astoria River Trail (blog post review)||Wates-Gibson Hut||19km with little elevation gain||Intermediate+|
The great thing about backpacking to a hut is that you do not need to bring your tent, sleeping pad, and camp kitchen! The huts are a great progression into backpacking and a great way to spend multiple days in the backcountry exploring the surrounding area during the day.
I recommend becoming an Alpine Club of Canada member to take advantage of their advanced hut booking system and the many courses and trip organized within the local chapters.
So with that, this concludes the Backpacking 101 series! I hope you managed to learn something out of these posts and get to try a backpacking trip before the summer is over! I’d love to hear about your trips in the comments below, as well as any questions that you have! Happy Hiking!