On my recent trip, I stayed exclusively at properties in Alberta. However, I have long recommended two lodges in Yoho National Park in the adjoining province of British Columbia. At 507 square miles, Yoho is the smallest of four contiguous parks, the others being Banff, Jasper and Kootenay. Collectively, they form the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The historic enclave of Emerald Lake Lodge is set on a forested peninsula overlooking a glacial lake, 30 minutes west of Lake Louise. Massive stone fireplaces and antique furnishings embellish a hand-hewn timber lodge. The 85 comfortable accommodations are housed in two dozen weathered-wood cabins, most offering fieldstone fireplaces, twig chairs and scenic decks. (Spacious “Point Cabin” has the best lake views.) The formal Mount Burgess Dining Room offers excellent “Rocky Mountain Cuisine.” Chef Valerie Morrison’s seasonal menu features free-range elk, bison and caribou, along with specialties such as grilled Alberta beef ribeye, and seared Skuna Bay salmon, with beet risotto and a single malt scotch buerre blanc. Elsewhere, the atmospheric Kicking Horse Lounge features an original 1890s oak bar from a Yukon saloon. Activities include superb hiking, as well as canoe and rowboat rentals, plus skiing and skating in winter. A sauna, gymnasium and outdoor hot tub are the principal amenities.
Majestic setting; superior cuisine in the Mount Burgess Dining Room.
Wedding parties can be annoying.
The lodge is little more than an hour’s drive from Banff with its numerous restaurants and shops.
A 20-minute drive to the east, Cathedral Mountain Lodge is an impressive retreat set among evergreen trees and backdropped by dramatic Cathedral Mountain. Thirty-one traditional log cabins feature Canadian antiques and rustic, custom-made beds topped with down duvets; some include woodburning fireplaces, private walk-out decks with views of the surrounding peaks, and spacious baths with soaking tubs. (Rooms contain neither televisions nor telephones.) The Great Room restaurant provides expansive views of the Kicking Horse River, and offers a menu that showcases local and certified organic ingredients. Activities include guided hiking and climbing, as well as biking, fishing, horseback riding and helicopter tours.
Atmospheric interior; glorious mountain scenery.
Occasional noise from passing trains.
Rooms contain neither televisions nor telephones.