These rustic lodges – tucked into some of the prettiest parts of the Canadian Rocky Mountains – are a truly invigorating experience, and a part of what makes Canada special.
At its most pure, the rustic lodge experience is one where you are removed from civilization and your technology to enjoy nature, wonderful meals, interesting people and incredible outdoor adventures in some of the most stunning settings on earth.
We at 10Adventures have worked to find the Top 10 Lodges in the Canadian Rockies. Our ranking is based on traveller reviews, popularity, and engagement with their guests on social media.
All of the lodges we feature are based in exquisite natural locations, with many being completely car-free, in fact you have to hike, ride a horse or take a helicopter to get to most of them. All of them allow you to hike or ski right from the front door. In addition, the lodges are known for excellent food and many of the buildings are historic log cabins that have been painstakingly restored while keeping all of their incredible charm.
NOTE: 2017 is a tough summer in the Canadian Rockies, with some of these lodges impacted by the wildfires. We are all hoping for rain in the coming days to help the hard men and women fighting the fires in the Canadian Rockies. The nature and these lodges are too precious to lose.
#1: Mount Engadine Lodge
Voted one of the “Top Ten Hidden Gems” by Tripadvisor, this Lodge in Spray Valley Provincial Park just made another Top Ten List. It’s ranked so highly thanks to its outstanding reviews across the board from its rooms, meals, and staff. Of course, Mount Engadine also has another great feature that makes it so desirable: location, location, location. It sits at the base of, not surprisingly, Mount Engadine but also Mount Shark.
Accessible by road, there isn’t the need to hike into the lodge; however, coming off the Smith-Dorrien gravel highway there isn’t a lot of traffic nearby: especially once the sun goes down. The beauty of Mount Engadine is the location, with stunning hikes and ski tours surrounding the Lodge or a short-drive away.
Mount Engadine is one of the newer lodges on this list. Its history only dates back to 1987. Since then it has seen a charming renovation. It’s Canadiana at its finest. With only 20 visitors at a time, the lodge is great at maintaining a relaxing, quiet environment.
Learn More: mountengadine.com
This was easily one of the most beautiful mountain views I have ever woken up to. How is this magical place just a short drive from Calgary? @mountengadine • • • Mount Engadine Lodge has been kind enough to offer my followers 15% off any stay between now until April 30 - just use booking code "jennexplores" on their website or over the phone when you book! www.mountengadine.com • • • • • • 📷: @glennparryphoto #explorealberta #mountaingirls #freshair #naturelovers #outside #mountains #alpinebabes #sunset #beautifuldestinations #banff #adventure #explorecanada #wildernessbabes #banff #instagood #wanderlust #adventureladies #ourplanetdaily #mountengadinelodge #keepitwild #sunset #mountain #alberta #winter #canada #outdoorwomen #outdoors #snow #explore @travelalberta #hiking
#2: Assiniboine Lodge
Claiming the title of “The First Ski Lodge in the Canadian Rockies”, Assiniboine Lodge has all the charm of when it was first built in1928. The rustic elegance is enhanced with a few modern amenities to make the stay feel luxurious, such as a sauna and hot showers. You can stay in the main lodge or beautiful cabins, both having their own passionate fans. All guests get to enjoy incredible meals and snacks.
The area around Assiniboine had the first cabins built by A.O Wheeler, who built a few cabins at the base of Mount Assiniboine (these are still around and are the nearby Naiset Huts) for his “150 Mile Riding and Walking Tour from Banff”. A group of Norwegian Alpine Skiers, and an Italian Nobleman made a trip up to Wheeler’s Cabin and fell in love with the area. One Norwegian skier, Erling Strom, decided he could spend his whole life up there. They convinced the Canadian Railway to build a lodge in Assiniboine for fancy clientele. All these years later, BC Parks now owns Assiniboine and it continues to serve as an inspiring get-away.
The only ways to get to Assiniboine Lodge is by hike or air. The hike is 27.5km and takes roughly 8 hours to get in.
Guests continue to marvel at the beauty of the region almost 90-years later. If you want to go, book early. You may need to plan over a year in advance.
Learn More: assiniboinelodge.com
#3: Shadow Lake Lodge
Located at the base of Mount Ball, 1km away from Shadow Lake, this Banff National Park backcountry lodge boasts gourmet meals, backcountry serenity, propane heat, and solar electricity. It’s a 4-5 hour hike to get into Shadow Lake Lodge, but once you’re there you’ll be treated to great family service: the same family that bought the lodge from Canadian Pacific Railway in 1938!
The cabins are all newer constructions, built in the 90s. The original cabin built by the CPR is still on the site and is now used as a communal space and games room.
All meals are included and are served family style in the main lodge. There are always freshly baked goods awaiting you on your return from a day of adventuring and an afternoon tea as well.
On top of the hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing around Shadow Lake, you can also purchase a fishing license and fish on the lake! The Sauna is a big hit in the winter months.
Learn More: shadowlakelodge.com
#4: Mistaya Lodge
In the upper basin of Wildcat Creek, Mistaya Lodge – and the small, auxiliary Wildcat Cabin – are 60km away from the heliport you need to fly in from. Unlike some Backcountry Lodges, there is no hike in! This means you truly have this enormous wilderness to yourself once you arrive.
A regular day at Mistaya starts with coffee and a hearty breakfast. After breakfast, you prepare a lunch for yourselves with ingredients provided and then you head out with the guides for your chosen adventure. By 4p.m. you return, clean up with their hot showers, possibly go for a sauna, and then a three-course, family-style meal is provided. Games and stargazing after eating is optional.
Prices include all meals, guiding, and helicopter transportation. Packages are set up as 3-, 4-, and 7-day options.
Learn More: mistayalodge.com
#5: Talus Lodge
Talus Lodge is located SE of Mount Assiniboine, in a stunning region on the banks of a beautiful turquoise lake. Unlike other lodges, Talus lodge is one larger, two-story lodge as opposed to a series of small cabins.
This is the second lodge on our list that is only accessible by helicopter. Talus is nestled under the Shark Fin peaks and ridgeline, under 5km over the British Columbia border. Its helicopter access points are in Canmore and at the Mount Shark Heliport.
All trip packages include meals, helicopter transport and guided activities during the day. The Talus experience is as remote as it gets, however you won’t be sacrificing too much comfort, with wonderful meals, showers and a sauna!
Their summers are filled with nature walks, mountain hikes, and exploring. Their winter’s offer tobogganing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and, backcountry skiing. We think these are all great reasons to consider booking some time at Talus Lodge.
Learn More: taluslodge.com
#6: Skoki Lodge
Accessible only by trail, Skoki Lodge sits 11km away from Lake Louise. The trail takes 4-6 hours by hike, snowshoe or cross-country ski.
Formed originally in 1931, Skoki claims to be the birthplace of skiing in Canada. Skoki has a collection of cabins and lodge rooms for guests. The lodge rooms are charming and rustic while the cabins give more privacy and are great for families or special getaways. What sets Skoki apart is the candles and kerosene lamps in the rooms; you see, unlike most lodges, Skoki has no electricity.
Winter is cross-country ski and snowshoe season. Summer is reserved for hiking through the abundant nature in the area; there are five adjoining valleys at Skoki.
In 2011 Skoki was graced by a visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. While they didn’t leave a review on Tripadvisor, word has it they loved their trip to Skoki! We recommend checking out the website as soon as possible.
Learn More: skoki.com
#7: Tonquin Valley Backcountry Lodge
Tonquin Valley Backcountry Lodge is 23km from the nearest road but adventure and excitement are right out your front door. What makes Tonquin special is the variety of activities. On top of hiking in the summer there are two lakes to boat and fish on, and they offer a 5-day horseback package.
The horseback package allows you to go from your car and ride into the lodge, then have guided trips for the rest of your stay. The hiking on the other hand is self-guided, from getting to the cabins and then your days after that as well.
Tonquin has showers for guests but only in the summer. All their rooms are in the form of cabins and there are six to choose from depending on the size of your party and hearty home-cooked meals are included in the prices.
Learn More: tonquinvalley.com
#8: Lake O’Hara Lodge
Lake O’Hara is another old lodge built by the CPR back in 1928. Situated in the Yoho National Park, in the winter months the lodge is only accessible by ski or snowshoe. In the summer, however, Lake O’Hara Lodge offers something unique: a bus. The bus is used to reduce tourist numbers to this fragile and stunning place. If long hikes or helicopters don’t sound like your cup of tea, then Lake O’Hara has you covered.
There are cabins as well as a main lodge here, but the cabins are closed during the winter months. The main lodge boasts of two bathrooms inside the lodge as well as hot showers and a claw foot tub if you’re interested in a soak after all your adventuring. Food is, of course, included.
On top of the usual guided tours throughout the seasons, O’Hara’s lake has boats available as well as trained mountain guides if scaling an icy peak is on your bucket list.
Be warned, Lake O’Hara Lodge is incredibly popular, with guests booking a year ahead to get a space during summer!
Learn More: lakeohara.com
#9: Emerald Lake Lodge
Located in Yoho National Park, Emerald Lake Lodge is situated on the stunning Emerald Lake. This is a wonderful and beautiful old lodge with newer cabins nearby, each with views poking through the forest to the lake or mountains. The Lodge caters to guests looking for something that is a cross between car-accessible and off-the-grid beauty.
The stunning Emerald Lake was original discovered by Tom Wilson, who stumbled across the lake while the CPR was being built. They built a lodge here that is still on the property. There is plenty of history at Emerald Lake including their salvaged oak bar which dates to the Yukon in the 1890’s.
Emerald Lake does have more amenities as well as more guests than most other lodges on this list. Because of your ability to drive in, many guests use the Lodge as a base to explore other activities in the Rockies. We recommend not leaving the lodge, enjoying days hiking around the lake or up to Hamilton Lake, followed by wonderful meals, hot tubs and campfires and star-gazing.
The dining is excellent, but none of the food is included in the price, unless you buy a bed and breakfast package.
This isn’t your true isolated backcountry lodge, but it is a luxury mountain resort with all the charm and fun of the Rockies’ backcountry, minus the outhouses. Be warned though, there is no Wi-Fi or cell signal, so prepare to unplug and enjoy a luxury nature retreat.
Learn More: https://crmr.com/emerald/
One of the most insanely amazing mornings ever with new friends in new places. This lake was out of this world... had to remind myself multiple times that I wasn't in a virtual reality simulation. Being surrounded on all sides by the lake's stunningly colorful water blew my mind. I'm so glad to be coming back here again in two weekends with @freddybloy and hitting all of Jasper. It's times like these where we need to remind ourselves what it means to be alive. Everybody has their own definition and should do everything they can to pursue it 🙂 cheers guys. PS yes in this picture she is using a shovel to paddle the canoe around the lake. When resources aren't available make do with what you can find haha
#10: Moraine Lake Lodge
Moraine Lake has to be one of the most beautiful lakes on Earth, so getting to stay at a luxury mountain resort while enjoying these vies is something special.
Moraine Lake Lodge is, like the Emerald Lake Lodge, a luxury Mountain retreat. No outhouses here, each cabin or room has its own private bathroom, most rooms have fireplaces too. When you book at Moraine Lake Lodge your accommodation comes with buffet breakfasts, afternoon tea and coffee, hiking with their on-site naturalist, limited Wi-Fi, and free parking.
Some of the best hiking in Canada is accessible from here. We have hikes to Consolation Lake, Wenkchemna Pass, Sentinel Pass, and a trail around Moraine Lake as well. We should mention Moraine Lake does offer some great canoeing as well, just be careful; the strong head winds can make the trip back hard.
While the area is crowded from 9am to 5pm, after dinner the crowds leave and guests at the lodge have this incredible wilderness to themselves.
Learn More: morainelake.com
Honourable Mention: Elizabeth Parker Hut and all the other wonderful ACC (Alpine Club of Canada Huts)
The Elizabeth Parker hut and the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) deserve an honourable mention to this list. The ACC runs an incredible system of 22 huts and cabins in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. While you must bring your own food and sleeping bag, these wonderful huts are sprinkled throughout the wilderness to aid hikers and mountaineers in their journeys.
The most popular is the Elizabeth Parker Hut, in the Lake O’Hara region. It’s only a short hike from Lake O’Hara, which is accessible by bus. This Hut is so popular that it requires a lottery style sign up in the summer months. The location is one of the most beautiful places on earth and the hiking is sensational.
Learn More: alpineclubofcanada.ca/facility