Mount Engadine Lodge: All-Inclusive Connection in Alberta’s Backcountry

“You have to find that place that brings out the human in you.  The soul in you.  The love in you.”

-R.M. Drake-

2017-03-29-09.18.38.jpg.jpeg
Whiskey Jack Cabin at Mount Engadine Lodge

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

IMG_8129
A perfect reflection lies between Canmore and the entrance to Spray Valley Provincial Park

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

2017-03-28-09.03.13.jpg.jpeg
Mountain Engadine Main Lodge (left) and cabins (right)

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.

2017-03-29-09.35.09.jpg.jpeg
Littlest ‘B’ chooses a game for family evening fun in the main lodge

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.

2017-03-29 08.38.01

A piano, a guitar and a fireplace radiate comfort in the main lodge

ALL INCLUSIVE SERENITY:

2017-03-29-09.30.54.jpg.jpeg
The view from the deck of the Whiskey Jack Cabin

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

IMG_20170405_104059_481
Family Style Dining at Mount Engadine Lodge

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.

2017-03-24-16.04.09.jpg.jpeg
High Tea Charcuterie Board, Mount Engadine Lodge

** 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

img_20170401_084219_855.jpg
Rummel Lake Hike, Across the road from Mount Engadine Lodge

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.

2017-03-29-09.42.42.jpg.jpeg
Tea by Banff Tea Company

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.

LODGE EVENTS

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…

2017-03-29-09.03.51.jpg.jpeg
Snowballs, snow forts and sliding in the sun.  Family time at Mount Engadine Lodge.

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,

Amy

PIN FOR LATER:

Advertisements

58 comments

  1. What an amazing place! I’m have to admit that I don’t head over to Kananaskis much when I am in Alberta, by your post is convincing me to check out this place! Love that the lodge does not have television so that the family can get reconnected through other activities. Do you need to bring your own snowshoes or does the lodge provide rental equipment?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll be the first to admit that in all our rocky mountain trips, we’ve never explored Kananaskis until now! And we are officially hooked! The Lodge is now a personal fave and we can’t wait to return. The snowshoes were courtesy of the lodge, they have plenty of sets and it was our first Winter hike experience as a family!

      Like

  2. Mount Engadine Lodge seems to be a slice of paradise fallen down to the earth. The views are simply spectacular. Waking up at this lovely place and looking out of the window must surely be an experiennce in itself. I love the concept of reconnection. One needs to reconnect with nature from time to time and rise from the virtual world to the real world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for such beautiful sentiments. It is places like this, where we have a chance to reconnect to eachother, and to nature, that bring awareness to just how disconnected the world can be. And yes, the views were a divine bonus!

      Like

  3. This lodge looks amazing. We actually launched our blog by locking ourselves away in a mountain retreat in Durango. Now, I could imagine going to Alberta to get away from all connectivity and simply exist. That sounds like one incredible way to reconnect in an absolutely beautiful place. Your reflection shots are magnificent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well from one Durango owner to another, I am with you on locking yourself away in the mountains! We do a camping trip every year that does just that. We need to disconnect to reconnect. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, I hope you get a chance to visit the lodge someday!

      Like

  4. There’s nothing that makes travelling easier than an all-inclusive package, how impressive that you managed to find this gem in the backcountry of Alberta. I would just not leave this lodge if I stayed here, it looks warm & cozy inside and I love the views from the deck, amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m absorbing all of this for what will hopefully be a trip to Canada in September. This lodge is everything that I dream of when being in wintery Canada. I’ve been to some parts of Canada before but not in this type of season. The lodge is just magical to me and everything you’ve written makes it sounds like the perfect place to stay. Wonderful memories for you all as a family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September would be a beautiful time to visit! The height of tourism in surrounding Banff and Lake Louise will have quieted down, and the weather should be lovely (although likely not yet snowy) I hope you get a chance to experience this incredible lodge!

      Like

  6. What a beautiful place! I love a good all inclusive and this is such a nice contrast to the beach side ones that are used in marketing everywhere! I love that you can totally disconnect in the rooms too – no tv, phones and wifi can sometimes be a blessing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! All Inclusive here in Alberta (and Canada in general) is not common. It meant we could spend all our time as a family, and I loved the focus on extending that to the other guests in the lodge over family style dining!

      Like

    • It’s funny when you live in a mountain based area, and you spend a lot of time in them, and it NEVER gets old! This was as breathtaking as seeing them for the first time, and a whole new section we’d never discovered before!

      Like

    • There is wifi in the main lodge, but you do not realize just how focused on technology your family has become, until you spend time unplugged. We make it a point to “get away” from it a few times a year, and they are the most amazing bonding moments we could ever ask for. We played board games, read, colored, hiked….it was incredible to connect to life, together 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • To become fully connected as a family, we first need to disconnect from everything else that grabs our attention. And yes, the views are absolutely one of the best parts of that connection! (And the main lodge has wifi, so all is well in the blogging world!)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Mount Engadine Lodge sounds like an incredible retreat – I can see why it’s listed as one of Canada’s top 10 secret gems! I actually really love the chance to disconnect from the craziess of life, and it’s very rare to find an all inclusive experience of this level of luxury which will keep you as busy or as relaxed as you want without the digital world. I think I need to travel to Canada this year! I’ve never tried Snowshoeing, so maybe I can borrow their gear!

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you make it to Canada, then there will be no better way to experience the area than this lodge! All inclusive is perfect, not only is it gourmet, it allows for a lot more time for adventure or just relaxing by the fire!

      Like

  8. Those views are spectacular and your way of expressing the details has made it even more special. The room looks comfortable and cozy and the resort location is one of the best vantage points. We would love to go dog sledging and hiking around to experience to celebrate the beauty of nature around.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The reflection between Canmore and the entrance to the Park is absolutely stunning! Love your pictures and the amount of snow looks absolutely amazing

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Beautiful! Can’t think of a more beautiful place to unplug and become one with nature. The all-inclusive aspect also removes a lot the stress of vacation planning. Would definitely consider staying at this lodge for a winter getaway.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s