The Alpine Club of Canada Clubhouse in Canmore is a hostel like no other we’ve ever seen. We almost don’t want to let the secret out about this place as we want to keep it to ourselves. But that wouldn’t be fair. If you are staying in Canmore for it’s access to adventures and want to immerse yourself in mountain culture then you simply have to book a stay at the ACC Clubhouse.
We’d heard rumours on the grapevine of some well furnished, cozy cabins on the outskirts of Canmore filled with the positive vibes of mountain people featuring spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, for the low price of $36 a night ($25 for ACC members). We had to check it out!
We’ve been members of the ACC and we’ve visited a few of the Cabins they maintain in the mountains on the West Coast. Something that always strikes us about them is how comfortable they are considering where they are located and how cheap they are to stay in. We’ve stayed in other Cabins in the mountains that are sometimes nothing more than a wooden garden shed, with shelves to lie on.
Hey, when you are moving in the mountains you appreciate any kind of shelter you can get. The ACC Cabins that we’ve stayed in though have always gone above and beyond in providing facilities and comfort in really wild locations like high ridge crests or at isolated alpine lakes.
We had a trip to the Rockies planned so we wanted to see what the ACC would offer at their Clubhouse in Canmore, which is near a large town, but still in a pretty wild location, located a few kilometres outside of town, nestled in the trees below Grotto Mountain.
More than simply a Hostel.
What I found did not dissappoint. I’ve stayed in “Hostels” in Europe and they can tend to have a bad name for being noisy, crowded and not relaxing. They are somewhere you crash after a night of partying. I did that through my 20’s and while affordable, I didn’t get much sleep there. Now in my 30’s I’m motivated to sleep well, get to bed early and get up and out before dawn to make use of the daylight in the mountains.
The ACC Clubhouse is a different type of Hostel. It has shared rooms, eating areas and facilities but that’s where the similarities with the City Hostels I’ve stayed in ends. The feel is much more like the mountain cabins that I love to visit now. The views from almost every window are breath taking and inspiring. They’ve done an exceptional job of preserving the environment around the three buildings that make up the complex. Even though I was less than 5km’s from downtown Canmore I felt like I was in a remote, peaceful cabin.
Filled with kind hearted Mountain People.
The people that I met there were all members of the mountain community that I’m also proud to be a part of. We appreciate quiet and being considerate of others needs. I noticed that people whispered after dinner and that the majority of individuals turned in to go to bed before 10pm. This is common because most individuals will be up by 6am to start getting ready for their adventures for the day, be it Ice Climbing, Skiing or Snowshoeing.
Everyone is friendly and if you are looking for ideas about where to explore while staying in Canmore just talk to the person next to you while eating dinner.
If you are considering a stay you have a few options in regards to which Cabin to choose. We’d recommend the main cabin if you want to be in the heart of the Clubhouse. It’s a great location to mingle and meet people. If you are looking for condition updates on skiing areas or ice climbs then this is the Cabin to be in.
The Bell Cabin is good for medium sized groups. If you are a group of 4 of more then choose this cabin.
The Boswell Cabin is the highest of the Cabins and offers some amazing, unobstructed views at Sunrise and Sunset. It’s smaller, so if you want to have a more private experience with less people this would be the one to choose.
Overall we really enjoyed our stay at this wonderful Hostel, the ACC Clubhouse. We’ll be sure to stay there again the next time we visit the Rockies and Canmore. Highly recommended!