Mount Engadine Lodge is a remote, luxury ‘backcountry cabin style’ hotel that’s buried in the heart of Kananaskis Provincial Park. Over the past couple of years, we’ve passed it several times on the way to some of our favourite hikes, but had never really got around to stopping in
Finally, this winter, in a year where getting away from cities and other people seems to make a lot of sense, we finally got around to visiting! And I have to say, it was everything we thought it would be, and more!
Here’s everything you need to know about planning a trip to Mount Engadine Lodge, and what makes it such an amazing mountain escape!
About Mount Engadine Lodge
Mount Engadine Lodge is a sort of ‘pseudo backcountry’, luxury hotel that sits in the valley beneath a number of breathtaking mountains, including the one it’s named after; Mount Engadine.
The hotel itself has a maximum capacity of 19 guests, and visitors can stay in one of the luxury cabins, the Elk Suite (attached to the main lodge), one of several glamping tents or finally, in their yurt!
Staying in Mount Engadine Lodge is all-inclusive, meaning you’re treated to 4 meals per day, including a cooked breakfast, a packed lunch, afternoon tea and a three course dinner! It also includes as much tea, coffee, hot chocolate or hot apple cider as you can chug.
Unfortunately, alcohol isn’t included in your all inclusive plan, but you can still purchase booze at the bar!
Is Mount Engadine Lodge a hotel or a backcountry hut?
You may be forgiven for wondering if Mount Engadine Lodge is basic, like some of the ACC huts dotted around the Canadian Rockies, but in fact, Mount Engadine is anything but basic; it’s probably one of the more luxurious hotel stays you’ll find in Alberta!
Guests have access to food and hot apple cider, equipment rentals, crackling fireplaces, hot showers, and even wifi!
Maybe that sounds like a normal hotel experience to you, but to find one buried so deeply in the mountains is extremely unusual. Engadine is literally the only building for miles and miles, and often your only neighbours are the moose in the meadows below!
Mount Engadine is in THE perfect location
Ok so I just alluded to the remoteness of Mount Engadine Lodge, but actually it’s weirdly close to civilisation (which is a good thing!), and it’s really, really easily accessible by car, even though it’s buried in the backcountry.
In fact, although it may feel like it’s buried in the middle of nowhere, it’s actually closer to Calgary than Golden and almost exactly the same distance to Lake Louise. So basically, if you’ve ever gone skiing at Lake Louise, you can handle the drive to Mount Engadine!
Aside from how close it is to the nearest towns, the best part about Engadine’s location is how close it is to some of my absolute favourite hikes in the world (more on this later!).
The Food at Mount Engadine Lodge
So I’ve hinted at the food a couple of times already, but the mountain (excuse the pun) of great food you get when you stay at Engadine is part of what makes it so fantastic. And by ‘mountain’, I mean you get 4 enormous meals per day! Here’s how it breaks down:
- Breakfast – a cooked meal with a choice of either sweet or savoury. Eggs Benedict, breakfast croissant, french toast, waffles, coffee, fruit, juice, sausages, breakfast potatoes etc. It’s really, really good.
2. Packed lunch – a customised a sandwich to take on your adventures, along with a cookie or sliced vegetables.
3, Afternoon Tea – 2pm-5pm – a smorgasbord of charcuterie, hot apple cider and a delicious dessert (ours was chocolate brownie and rhubard cake). Absolutely unreal!
4, Dinner – a 3 course meal of soup/salad, a hearty main (ours was chicken on day 1, duck on day 2), and a delicious dessert!
And the best part? Because it’s Covid and things are crazy, all the meals are delivered to your bedroom! There’s basically no need to leave the room at all during your stay!
It’s rare that you’re treated to so much food in such enormous quantities, and I should also mention that there was also a fully stocked bar and wine list if you were feeling boozy (although unfortunately alcohol isn’t included in the all-inclusive package).
On a normal year you can also stop in for afternoon tea on weekends, and the price is actually incredibly reasonable – $22.50 for a big plate of meat and cheese, tea/coffee and a dessert! Unfortunately at the time of writing this (March 2021), it’s available to overnight guests only.
Why is Mount Engadine Lodge such a great place to stay?
The best thing about Engadine is that it has a backcountry cabin feel to it, but it comes with all the modern luxuries you might hope to find in a normal hotel. There’s no dragging your meals and drinks up a mountain, and you can pack in as many warm clothes, books and home comforts as you can fit in your car – you can even bring your pet!
Things to do near Mount Engadine Lodge
Things to do in Summer near Mount Engadine Lodge
In summer, Mount Engadine is in the perfect place for some absolutely epic hiking (as I’ve already mentioned), but just in case you need a recap, here are some of the epic hikes you can do nearby:
Smutwood Peak – This is an epic 20km round trip hike with one of the most stunning viewpoints I’ve ever seen. It’s a bit of a long day, but the hike isn’t too challenging. The only technical part is the last push to the summit where there’s a little bit of scrambling required. This hike is amazing to do for sunrise, but make sure you watch out for bears!
Tryst Lake – This is a beautiful hike that starts at the same trailhead as Smutwood Peak and is nestled right below Tent Ridge. You absolutely need GPS for this one, because the fork you’ll need to take is completely hidden. The lake at the end is absolutely stunning, and this is a wonderful hike to do in Larch season!
Mount Assiniboine – this is a beast of a hike, and to reach the Assiniboine campground you’ll need to hike 27km each way, stopping to camp about half way at Marvel Lake. This is one of the most iconic hikes in the Canadian Rockies, and getting a camp spot can be quite challenging, but it’s well worth the effort if you can get one! You can also take a helicopter in for around $300 per person round trip.
Rummel Lake – This hike begins on the High Rockies trail, before gradually heading upwards to the beautiful Rummel Lake. It’s a gentle hike that isn’t too challenging, and you can even do it in Winter with snowshoes.
Tent Ridge – a local favourite with epic views of Spray Lake, and a great place to catch the sunset if you don’t mind hiking in the dark!
Aside from the amazing hikes above, Kananaskis has so many incredible adventures to explore. Check out our blog post on the best hikes in Kananaskis here!
Mountain biking is a huge deal in Alberta and, aside from the nearby Nordic Centre in Canmore (where you can ride various trails and rent gear), there are plenty of amazing trails to explore.
In fact, one of the best trails in the Rockies runs right past the hotel – the High Rockies Trail! This trail runs 80km through the woods between Goat Creek at the Banff Park boundary to Elk Pass on the Alberta B.C. boundary, and is the western most part of Canada’s Great Trail in Alberta.
(The Great Trail is the route that runs across Canada from the west coast to the east coast!)
Stand up Paddleboarding
Spray Lakes is just minutes from Engadine Lodge, and it’s a great place to take a stand up paddle board or canoe out for a float.
Actually fishing can be done here in summer or winter, and Spray Lakes is a great place to try ice fishing for the first time! It’s quite common to see plenty of huts on the lake during the winter months.
You can buy fishing licenses in Canmore (Canadian Tire sells them), and then head out to the lake to see if you can land a whopper!
Things to do in Winter near Mount Engadine Lodge
In Winter, there is still plenty, if not more to do near Mount Engadine Lodge.
Hiking and Snowshoeing
Depending on your experience and enthusiasm, some hikes are still possible with snowshoes (we’ve done Rummel Lake in Winter before, although it was less interesting with a frozen, snow covered lake), and failing that, you can easily snowshoe around the meadow below Engadine.
Cross Country Skiing
In the meadow next to Engadine, there is a track set cross country ski trail. It’s very flat and offers beautiful views of the valley.
A little further away (less than a 5 minute drive), you’ll also find the Mt. Shark cross country ski trail. This is a beautiful route that’s also track set.
Please note that Engadine doesn’t have XC skis for rent, so you’ll have to bring your own with you.
Fat biking is a really popular winter activity in Alberta, and Mt. Engadine Lodge actually rents out fat bikes to its guests. There are plenty of options for visitors, with the most famous being the High Rockies Trail (an approx 80km trail that goes all the way back to Canmore!).. This is generally speaking a summer mountain biking route, but sections of it can be fun on a fat bike!
Otherwise, cycling along Spray Lakes Road is a great option if you’re looking for something less strenuous.
Mt. Engadine Lodge actually has a small hill for tobogganing, and offers sleds to guests to enjoy while they’re here!
Depending on the time of year, Spray Lakes can offer some incredible ice skating. This year the lake froze in early December, and we had a few days of absolutely unbelievable ice conditions. (By the way, if you’re heading to Banff in Winter, here are the best places to ice skate)
Visit the Blackshale Creek Suspension Bridge
This picturesque suspension bridge is just a few minutes from Mount Engadine (20km), and the hike is very short indeed. In winter, you’ll want to pack snowshoes, and bear in mind that the bridge closes once the snow is too deep.
Curl up with a good book
Ok obviously this isn’t an outdoor activity, but it’s such a perfect activity at Engadine. I mean, there are an abundance of warm, crackling fireplaces that you can choose from and free flowing coffee/tea/hot chocolate. What else could you possibly ask for!
How are the rooms at Mount Engadine Lodge?
We stayed in the Elk Suite at Mt. Engadine, and really enjoyed it. There was plenty of space to spread out, a balcony with views of the meadow below, an extremely cozy gas fireplace, and huge bay windows that let in lots of natural light.
The water in the shower was warm, with a decent water pressure. What more could you want?
Is Mount Engadine Lodge Pet Friendly?
More often than not, we’ve come to discover that pet friendly tends to mean ‘dog friendly’, but in this case, Engadine was very welcoming of our cat too! As long as your cat is litter trained (i.e. all cats) you can bring yours, although you do need to book one of the pet friendly rooms.
Our little kitty absolutely loved the big windows in our room, and really enjoyed meowing at the birds outside.
Where is Mount Engadine Lodge and how to find it
Mount Engadine Lodge is probably the most ‘remote’ hotel you can find in the Banff/Canmore area, with the exception possibly of Storm Mountain in Kootenay National Park.
From Canmore, the drive is extremely straightforwards and takes less than an hour, from Banff it’s about 1hr 20mins, and from Calgary it’s between 1hr 40 minutes and 2 hours.
Once you pass Canmore, you’ll have to ditch the paved roads, and enter Spray Lakes Road; a fairly bumpy dirt road, which you can follow all the way to Mount Engadine.
For the most part, Spray Lakes Road is well maintained and it’s easy to drive in all seasons. However, you may want to avoid driving this road in a low clearance vehicle, especially if it’s recently snowed!
Things to know about Mt. Engadine Lodge
- As we mentioned, it’s pet friendly, but make sure you book a pet friendly room. We stayed in the Elk Suite which is pet friendly, and we were allowed to bring our cat along for the trip.
- There’s no cell service, and the wifi is pretty spotty. If you have urgent business then you’ll want to let people know that you’ll be out of range. There is a landline in the hotel that you can use if you really need to make a call.
- There’s no tv here. Bring a book and curl up by the fireplace! We both brought ours and it was amazing to have a couple of days away from technology and the constant distraction of your phone dinging every two minutes (the internet is good enough for your IG and facebook though if you really can’t resist!)
- If you have special dietary requirements, it’s a good idea to let them know in advance. There’s a set menu each day, so they can only accommodate special requirements if you give them enough warning.
When is the best time to visit Mount Engadine Lodge?
I think any time of year is a good time to visit Mount Engadine Lodge if you’re just looking for an excuse to get away from the city. I do think it would be a fantastic place to crash after a long hike, so booking it to coincide with the day you come out of Assiniboine would be an amazing experience. That would mean booking it for the summer months, or autumn.
Having said that, we’ve all got cabin fever right now (not the good kind), so spending a couple of wintery days here would be an absolutely amazing way to let off steam. This is what we did (visited in Feb), and we absolutely loved it! Thanks so much Mount Engadine Lodge for hosting us!