Alberta’s Best Backcountry Lodges

Four secluded cabins in Lake Louise, Banff and Canmore to venture to this winter

Skoki Lodge, Photo by Paul Zizka

What’s better than driving to a cozy, fire-warmed lodge in the mountains? Slapping on skis or snowshoes and trekking there yourself. When you get there, the hot rum toddy will taste that much better.

Here are four trips to the most iconic backcountry lodges in Alberta.

Skoki Lodge, Lake Louise 

Located 11 kilometres from the backside of Lake Louise Ski Resort (the trailhead is near the Temple Lodge Restaurant), Skoki Lodge, a National Historic Site, is one of the oldest backcountry lodges in the Rockies. The timber-framed lodge, built in 1931, oozes history and comes complete with an old-fashioned fireplace. Once your super-scenic, four- to five-hour ski trip is complete and you’ve arrived at the lodge, head chef and lodge manager Katie Mitzel will have your mouth watering in no time. The gourmet food, cozy atmosphere, and incredible setting at Skoki are guaranteed memory-makers.

Sundance Lodge, Banff 

True, the 16 km, calorie-burning, fat-tire bike trip from Banff (you can also cross-country ski or snowshoe) to Sundance Lodge is certainly going to challenge your average city slicker, but the rustic 10-room log cabin that sits snug in the woods is worth every grunt. An authentic, Wild West history permeates this place as centuries-old horseback riding trails criss-cross the mountainous terrain that envelops the lodge.

Shadow Lake Lodge, Banff

While there are three hiking trails that lead to Shadow Lake Lodge, the recommended option, especially if you are snowshoeing, is the popular 14 km trail that follows Redearth Creek from the Trans-Canada Highway. Depending on your ability, the trip will take four to five hours. Once there, everyone will have the ability to kick back by the crackling fire, enjoy gourmet food in the dining room and soak in the splendour of Rocky Mountain backcountry beauty.

Assiniboine Lodge, Canmore

For the true adventurer, the 27 km cross-country ski trip (or hike in the summer) to Assiniboine Lodge is, well, still a wee bit of work. Don’t take this one lightly. You definitely need to be well-prepared. However, this historic spot—Assiniboine Lodge was the first ski lodge built in the Canadian Rockies—is absolutely breathtaking and well worth the work. The lodge features seven private cabins and five lodge rooms. Once there, enjoy more ski touring, great food and majestic views of Mount Assiniboine, dubbed the “Matterhorn of the Canadian Rockies.”



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