Its very gradual for a while to start, following a creek along the mossy forest floor until you reach a waterfall that gets quite large in the spring. Shortly afterward you are greeted with your first taste of what is to come – a steep switch-backing trail winding through boulders up the side of one of the Bugaboo Glacier’s old lateral moraines.
The climb up the moraine is steep but tolerable when you know what lies just at the top. Coming out of the trees. a great place for a rest and a few photos awaits, with stunning wildflowers, and expansive views of Hound’s Tooth and the tongue of the glacier. Hound’s Tooth, beautiful as it is, is dwarfed by the spires to come, so press on, though this sight alone is worth visiting the park for.
The trail continues up skirting among the cliffs with a constant view down the valley and up the glacier. The trail has been reinforced with concrete steps in many places where losing one’s footing could result in injury. The particularly steep sections are aided by chains bolted into the rock, and even a metal ladder bolted to one otherwise impassible section. The trail feels safe despite the terrain. This section is the most technical of the marked trail up here, but not the most strenuous.
It doesn’t take long after the chains and steps for the trail to become more moderate as you hike the last few hundred meters to the Conrad Kain Hut. The hut is a great place for lunch, and can even be booked in advance for those hoping to spend the night without packing up all the gear. Continuing towards the Hound’s Tooth is Boulder Camp, a nice place to camp for a while.
From the hut, it is only another kilometer grind up to Applebee Dome where another camping area is stationed, complete with all necessary facilities. Applebee is my favourite place to camp up here, the view of Bugaboo and Snowpatch Spires, and the Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col is amazing, and provides faster access to many of the mountaineering routes in the area.