5 of the Best Self-Contained Backcountry Lodges in British Columbia, Canada


The interest in exploring British Columbia’s magnificent backcountry has never been greater. The desire to go farther into what had been, until recently, the realm of backpackers and off-grid types may be driven as much by curiosity as by the need for self-isolation. But BC’s network of incredible backcountry lodges has been in plain view for decades.

These five spectacular backcountry lodges showcase the diversity and beauty of BC’s unforgettable wilderness spaces.


Purcell Mountain Lodge

Located in high alpine wilderness outside of Golden, Purcell Mountain Lodge is a luxurious, all-inclusive backcountry property near the Selkirk Mountains. Operating since 1990, Purcell’s guided hiking season will run from June to October 2021. Fly in from Golden via 10-minute helicopter ride or hike into the lodge on a 13-kilometre trail.

Purcell’s guided hikes take advantage of its superlative mountain landscapes, with alpine wildflower walks, treks up to Copperstain Mountain at the border of Glacier National Park and to viewpoints that encompass the snow-capped peaks of the Selkirk Mountains.

Purcell can accommodate up to 14 guests in private lodge rooms. A completely separate chalet is ideal for larger family groups and can be self-catered. The dining room features gourmet food service, with spaced seating and plated meals. Full health and safety protocols are in effect in accordance with provincial health guidelines.


Nuk Tessli

Accessible via float plane from Nimpo Lake in the Coastal Mountains of BC’s Cariboo Chilcotin region, Nuk Tessli features three rustic lakeside log cabins situated at an altitude of 1,500 metres.

Nuk Tessli is an ideal base for exploring the vast network of hiking trails that cross alpine meadows, glaciers and lake systems in this captivating region. There are options to access even more lakes and peaks via multi-day hut-to-hut hikes or fly-in overnight trips to even more remote wilderness spaces.

For summer 2021, cabins are limited to household groups of in-country guests. Full health, safety and sanitization protocols are in effect, including at the wood-heated outdoor hot tub.


Ice Creek

Located between Revelstoke and Nelson in the heart of Valhalla Provincial Park in the Kootenays, Ice Creek Lodge is a rustic timber backcountry lodge built by and for mountain people.

Situated at 1,900 metres elevation and accessible via helicopter or hike-in trail, the rugged terrain and beautiful pine forests that surround the cozy lodge are perfect for active outdoor exploration. Hike the Valhalla Traverse and cross glaciers in view of the dramatic rock spires of the Devils Range, boulder rock formations, summit local peaks or grab an inflatable SUP and paddle on remote alpine lakes.

Summer hiking season starts the third week of July into late September. Bookings are open to exclusive family groups or households up to 10 people. Guests can choose from self-catered and guided stays or arrange all-inclusive bookings.


Mistaya Lodge

Located in BC’s Rocky Mountains northeast of Golden, Mistaya Lodge is nestled in the upper basin of Wildcat Creek. A 20-minute helicopter flight from Golden brings guests up to 2,000 metres elevation to an all-inclusive lodge surrounded by mountains, alpine meadows and an inviting emerald-green lake.

The main lodge’s six private bedrooms can accommodate 14 people with reduced occupancy levels and enhanced sanitization and social distancing measures. The separate and self-catered Wildcat Cabin retreat is ideal for larger family or bubble groups.

From exploring fields of heather and alpine wildflowers, to hiking around three mountain lakes, glacier climbs and days of technical mountaineering at a number of nearby mountain peaks, the hiking possibilities at Mistaya Lodge are nearly limitless.


Whitecap Alpine Lodge

Explore the subalpine beauty of BC’s South Chilcotin Mountains at all-inclusive Whitecap Alpine. Fly in by helicopter from Pemberton to the 1970s-era McGillivray Pass Lodge or stay in one of three fully separate yurts.

The summer hiking season will be open from July 14 to September 25. Hike along impressive alpine ridges, wander through wildflower meadows or enjoy a refreshing post-hike dip in an alpine lake.

Whitecap’s extensive Covid-19 management plan includes seated meal service, installation of roll-down plastic shields in dining hall, an industrial air purification system and sauna bookings by group pods with disinfection between uses.


For more information about backcountry lodges in British Columbia, visit backcountrylodgesofbc.com


Disclaimer: The author stayed at Purcell Mountain Lodge as part of a media stay hosted by the Lodge.