The Tolkien Range

Hiking in the Birkenhead backcountry

Tucked deep into the mountains behind Pemberton waits a storybook trail up to a little alpine hut. It's a relatively easy hike with a big payoff — starting out in a sun-baked second-growth forest and berry fields you journey through thick stands of old growth and lush creeks before finally ascending into a basin of small picturesque lakes surrounded by granite peaks named after characters from the Lord of the Rings — Aragorn, Gandalf, Frodo, Peregrine, Shadowfax. And maybe it's just a trick of the mind, but something about the place does feel steeped in myth and legend, like a forgotten path through the Ered Mithrin, an escape to the Grey Havens.

Originally named and explored by the UBC Varsity Outdoor Club (through which you can book the cabin), the area has long been popular with summer and winter adventurers alike. But please note travel into the area is strongly discouraged from Aug 15 – Oct 15 due to grizzly bear activity.