“You have to find that place that brings out the human in you. The soul in you. The love in you.”
Located along a winding mountain road in Kananaskis, Alberta, lies a cabin with a view. A haven where one can stand in piercing silence, physically absorbing the effects of majestic peaks playing backdrop to an expansive meadow below. The soul unwinds, spreading forth toward the wild call of the Rockies. As you stand on this rare precipice where man and nature collide, waves of gratitude and possibility wash through your veins, your senses bearing witness to an extraordinarily special corner of the earth. These are the authentic moments of Mount Engadine Lodge.
GETTING TO THE LODGE
From Canmore: The lodge lies 38 km from town along the Smith Dorrien Trail (AB 742). This road is lined with jaw dropping scenery as you enter Spray Valley Provincial Park, passing the popular Spray Lake Reservoir. While not far in distance, you should plan on a drive of 45 minutes to one hour. The road is winding, and seasonal changes drastically affect road conditions and maintenance. **The gravel road is a numbered highway which means car rental insurance is still valid.
From Calgary: The Kananaskis Trail (HWY 40) is also filled with stunning panoramic views and is the gateway to the Nakiska Ski Resort. This route is 152 km and takes roughly 2 hours travel time. The HWY connects with the bottom portion of AB 742, the junction you will take to the lodge. (The Kananaskis Trail beyond the AB 742 junction is closed Dec-June)
*** Weather conditions can be drastically different in this area than in Calgary and Canmore. Be prepared for sudden changes and pack accordingly!
ALL INCLUSIVE AUTHENTICITY
Originally built in 1987, just prior to the ’88 Calgary Olympics, this ‘Unique and Boutique’ property was obtained in early 2015 as the flagship project of Castleavery Hospitality Ventures Inc. What they have accomplished in this short time is more than just the creation of what Tripadvisor considers “One of Canada’s Top 10 Hidden Gems”, they have created an extended family. Walking through the door of Mount Engadine Lodge is taking a step into the familiarity and warmth of home. It is places like this, that challenge the mundane and redefine the term “accommodation”.
From the basket of hand knit slippers by the entry to the coziness of curling up by one of the fireplaces, this lodge has authentic connection covered. With not a single television to be had, guests are free to indulge in the lost art of conversation.
Laughter comes from the far room, as a board game becomes the centre of a family memory. Music drifts from the piano, a passerby having stopped for high tea, treating listening ears to a favorite childhood melody. A book from the library leaves its reader dreamy eyed and sets of snowshoes at the door are the telltale sign of a wondrous adventure nearby.
ALL INCLUSIVE SERENITY:
At Mount Engadine Lodge, guests enjoy complete immersion in the peaceful bliss of back country, enveloped in a new and natural world on the doorstep of civilization. Home to a maximum of 19 guests and a handful of incredible staff, the lodge offers moments you simply cannot find in the bustling touristic fame of the surrounding hotspots. The only masses to obstruct the views are of the fur and hoof variety. An absence of light pollution transforms the night sky into a massive canvas of twinkling light. The most difficult decision faced is which trail to follow next, or which chair to curl up in as you take in the scent of the chef’s latest gourmet creations.
ALL INCLUSIVE COMFORT
No TV. No in room phones, computer jack or wifi signal. The rooms are disconnected for a specific purpose; the reconnection to life.
Our family had the privilege of staying in the Whiskey Jack Cabin, a 2 bedroom, 1 bath slice of paradise. The heated slate flooring was a contrastingly warm welcome after a long day on snowy trails. The views from both of the incredibly comfortable rooms were awe inspiring, and each space had a door leading to the deck.
We spent hours in the Adirondack chairs watching snow swirl along the peaks as the girls raced sleds down the hill, toasting the fortunes of life, and searching for patterns in the stars. The proximity of the main lodge combined with a lack of traffic and tourists meant were completely comfortable with the girls going back and forth on their own to enjoy hot chocolate and a game, or even a snuggle with Rosy, the sweet faced resident dog.
**The main lodge has complimentary wifi for those requiring a moment of technological connection.
A Few Suggestions for the Suitcase: Layered clothing and reusable water bottles for your days exploring. Bear Spray (the lodge also has some on hand). Slippers for the main lodge (if you prefer your own). A hair dryer. Bathing suits to use the wood fired sauna (this takes 45-60 minutes to fully heat up, so advise staff prior to use so they can prepare it)
ALL INCLUSIVE GOURMET
Dining at the lodge is an incredibly unique experience that fully embraces the connection philosophy. Guests are seated family style for breakfast and dinner, allowing for genuine conversation, linking new faces and ideas as strangers become friends over common bonds, shared interests and glasses of local craft beer.
While all-inclusive accommodations in the area are rare, Mount Engadine Lodge offers overnight guests palate pleasing, gourmet dishes and a hot drink bar as part of the package (pop and alcohol are available at an additional cost). A set menu of brilliant chef creations that change daily give guests the opportunity to try delectable dishes such as fresh banana pancakes, Cornish game hen, bison steak, and a deliciously brilliant brown butter ice cream. Guests personalize items for freshly packed lunches, perfect for a day of exploring. Combining the postcard worthy views with afternoon delight, a daily high tea offers guests, visitors and locals a chance to relax and chat over charcuterie boards of meats, cheeses and desserts.
** Visitors and locals wishing to share in a dining experience at the lodge can join high tea from 2-5 pm daily, and dinner reservations may be arranged with 24 hours notice. Due to the exclusivity offered weddings and retreats, always call ahead to avoid disappointment.
ALL INCLUSIVE ADVENTURE
From fishing and canoeing in the summer, to the perfectly groomed cross country ski trails at Mount Shark and switchback paths of the Rummel Lake hike across the road, the possibility for adventure in the area is endless. The lodge ensures that guests are given a chance to experience activities such as snowshoeing by having them on hand, and the staff are a plethora of information, gathered from their own passions and experiences. The staff also take the safety of guests seriously, especially when it comes to wildlife. You are in the heart of bear and wildlife country, and it is very important to be aware of safety precautions. Staff are also happy to help arrange those bucket list opportunities such as a helicopter tour or dog sledding.
The meadow below the lodge provides the perfect space to explore, a gateway to surrounding alpine lakes and trails for all abilities to enjoy hiking, biking and snowshoeing. Hiking around the meadow gives guests a view of the lodge from a completely new angle nestled amongst the trees and tranquility.
LOVE FOR LOCALS
The connection philosophy extends beyond the guests under the roof. Mount Engadine is proud to embrace sustainable tourism by supporting local businesses. All toiletries come from the 100% natural Rocky Mountain Soap Company. Guests can enjoy locally brewed craft beer and sodas ($) including choices from Grizzly Paw Brewing out of Canmore, and steaming cups of tea from Banff Tea Co. The produce-a-la delicious art from Farm Box also embraces sustainability and sourcing local.
The passion for local life continues beyond the walls. As the lodge is located within the Spray Valley Provincial Park, they work diligently with Parks Alberta and conservation officers to maintain strict operating guidelines and preserve this precious slice of the world. This care is seen in the details, such as lamp blackouts in order to recognize light impact on wildlife and minimal impact on the meadow they call home. Staff attend information seminars and wildlife training, and have a genuine passion for their surroundings.
Mount Engadine lodge operates 365 days a year, opening the doors to experiences that range from solo travel to a romantic weekend or family getaway. It is a dreamy backdrop for an intimate mountain wedding or corporate retreat, offering exclusive use of the facility. Looking for an unforgettable weekend? The lodge offers events such as ‘Chef Series Dinners’, a ‘Yoga Mountain Adventure Retreat’ and ‘Music in the Meadow’. For details on events, see HERE.
AND THE FINAL WORD…
Our family was so fortunate to be introduced to, and hosted by this wanderlust-worthy lodge and the amazing staff within. While all of the opinions in this piece are my own, I have worked hard to represent the values and messages at the heart of Mount Engadine. These were the authentic moments of our family, and it is with the utmost gratitude to Simon and the staff that we give thanks. Your generosity and attention was not individual to us, you treat each guest like family. These are moments that cannot be duplicated. These are the moments that challenge our views and definition of travel.
These are the authentic moments of Mount Engadine Lodge.
Cheers to a beautiful and authentic life,
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