From the depths of the Effingham Valley floor you ascend through the thick steep forest and work your way to the rocky sub alpine. Here the forest slowly opens up to reveal 5040 peak above.

5040 Peak – Hike, Snowshoe and Ski on Vancouver Island

Working through the trees Eventually you hit the snow which is in stark contrast to the temperate green forest below, the unique gift that Vancouver Island provides. One step after another you come upon Cobalt Lake, you have heard it is a stunning green but this time of year it is frozen over.

We make our way across the lake and even higher we climb as the lake is not our destination. Slightly more effort is required but a striking green metal roof appears just beyond the bluff before you. The brand new Alpine Club of Canada ACCVI 5040 Peak hut stands before you in all its beautiful glory.

The hut built in 2018 on unceeded Nuu-Chah-Nulth territory by the hands of dedicated volunteers awaits you as your alpine sanctuary. It is the place to rest and re-energize for whatever adventure awaits you.

The alpine community is an interesting connected small group here on Vancouver Island. I can be in the middle of nowhere and if I run into someone by chance I will usually know them or we will be connected somehow. That was the case this day as Clarke, a fellow Alpine Club of Canada​ friend of mine was already at the hut. He was with a group of friends enjoying an overnight to get some backcountry ski touring in.

For us it though, there would be no overnight as this was a quick pitstop. Our day trip had our sights set on the snowy capped summit of 5040 peak. Tom with his trusty skis and me with my determined snowshoeing.

Upon the summit we savoured the view under sunny blue skies. I then made a quick decent so that I could capture photos of the spring conditions providing Tom with an enjoyable speedy descent.

Why did I bring snowshoes?, those skis sure did look fun.

Trail Access

I had a wonderful time visiting 5040 peak in May during prime spring snow conditions. I have been to the region endless times but always to climb the amazing triple peak across the valley from the trailhead. It is the stunning mountain that dominates the views from 5040 Peak. Those can be read in my two blog posts; Climbing Triple Peak Main Summit and Climbing Triple Peak a Snowy Ascent

5040 Peak Triple Peak hike ski snowshoe Vancouver Island Chris Istace
Triple Peak is one of Vancouver Islands most stunning peaks

Road Access to 5040 Peak trailhead is the same as Triple Peak. Both start from Sutton Pass on Highway 4 running between Port Alberni and Tofino. Located roughly 56km from Port Alberni you take a left turn onto Marion Creek Forest Service road traveling roughly 9.6km. Only 4wd or high clearance awd vehicles are recommended on the logging road.

From the ACC website;

Quick Description: Summer: A 2.4km hike up the Cobalt Lake Trail. Winter: Up to 12km ski. Distance depends on the snow line on the Marion Creek Forest Service Road.
Elevation Gain to Hut: Summer: 700 m (2300 ft). Winter: up to 1175 m (3850 ft).
Approach Time: Summer: 2-3 hours. Winter: 4-8 hours.

The hut sits at 1350m (4330ft) on a scenic bluff high above Cobalt Lake facing the scenic peaks and pacific ocean to the west. 5040 Peak itself named by its elevation is another nearly 200m above the hut and tops out at 1536m (5040ft).

Further details information on the hut access can also be found on the Alpine Club of Canada Vancouver Island section website. As a member myself I urge you to donate or become a member to support trail advocacy as well as hut projects and trails like this. Please visit the above link for important winter access information and avalanche risk information.

5040 Peak hike ski snowshoe Vancouver Island Chris Istace Alpine Club hut
5040 Peak hut built by the Alpine Club of Canada

Booking the Alpine Club 5040 Peak hut

Reservations are required for all stays at the hut
Membership: ACC membership is not required to book the hut, rates are $20 for members, $25 for non-members, half price for children.
Pets: NO dogs or other animals, except guide animals, are permitted in the hut.
Capacity: The hut sleeps 12, mattresses are provided, bring your own sleeping bag. Camping is available nearby, the camping fee includes use of the hut and outhouse.

Hutt bookings are made through the Alpine Club of Canada national office via their online booking website portal.

5040 Peak Alpine Backcountry Hut Bookings

Ski Touring 5040 Peak SW Ridge


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