Mount Engadine Lodge in Kananaskis offers families an amazing opportunity to enjoy the Rocky Mountains. It’s a unique backcountry-style lodge that provides a year-round wilderness experience in luxurious accommodations.
Typically, to enjoy this kind of get-away-from-it-all mountain experience, it’s usually a lot of work involving careful meal planning and packing, and carrying heavy backpacks for hours. At Mount Engadine Lodge, located in Spray Valley Provincial Park in Alberta’s Kananaskis Country, however, you’ll get a delicious taste of the backcountry that allows you to leave the city behind in under two hours – it’s approximately 160 km west of Calgary International Airport. Beautiful, welcoming, upscale – it’s a great, easily accessible destination that allows you to quickly get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It feels like a backcountry wilderness paradise – along with lots of pampering and relaxation.
“We are truly a family-friendly venue. It’s nice because while we are ‘backcountry,’ you can drive right to us,” says Simon Harvie, Mount Engadine Lodge general manager. “Kids don’t have to ski or hike in.”
Mount Engadine Lodge offers a variety of options to accommodate a wide range of guests, including families, couples on a romantic getaway, groups, and solo travellers. There are lodge rooms and suites, cabins and five glamping tents. There is also a yurt, which offers more rustic accommodation. Mount Engadine Lodge is pet-friendly.
All rooms offer a time-out from being always on and connected (Wi-Fi is only available in the main lodge) with all the comforts of home. The glamping tents, which are open year-round, are comfortable, toasty warm and cosy no matter the season, with a gas fireplace, ensuite bathroom with hot showers and electricity – it is truly luxury ‘camping.’ The views onto the meadow and mountains beyond are lovely. You can nature watch out your window or sitting in one of the wide armed red chairs outside on your private patio and deck and may be lucky enough to spot a moose wander by.
(Be aware that if you stay in a glamping tent you’ll need to be a bit more considerate of your neighbours, as the tents are set up side by side and sound carries easily).
With Wi-Fi a bit less accessible here than in the city, it’s easy to unplug and play outside. When there’s snow on the ground, snowshoes, fat-tire bikes, toboggans, and yak tracks to strap onto your shoes are available for lodge guests to use. The lodge also has a couple of mountain bikes available to take out on the trails. If you’re planning to go cross-country skiing, you can rent skis and other equipment from the Canmore Nordic Centre or bring your own.
If you have any questions about what to do while you’re here, you can ask Mount Engadine Lodge staff who can tell you their top recommendations for nearby outdoor adventures. Mount Engadine Lodge is close to the trailheads for Chester Lake and Burstall Pass, two very popular hikes. Watridge Lake and Karst Spring are also popular nearby hikes. Visit albertaparks.ca and check the trail reports for Kananaskis Country-Mount Shark before you go. For many families, it’s a great introduction to the outdoors, with cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking trails.
Mount Engadine Lodge has information on guided hikes, mountain biking and fishing that is available through its partners.
And in the evenings, there are books and magazines to enjoy, and an abundance of cards, and dozens of games as well as puzzles.
“It’s a really special experience for families,” Harvie says. “It helps them come together, without all the distractions of screens and the Internet. They really enjoy having that special getaway and sitting down for dinner together without distractions. We get a lot of repeat guests. For families, it’s a special experience, especially families with younger kids.”
Overnight stays include four meals a day and feature locally inspired cuisine: full hot breakfast, delicious packed lunch, afternoon tea and gourmet dinner with seasonal ingredients. Mount Engadine Lodge chefs are flexible and can accommodate food allergies and preferences, and can also make kids’ meals, for example, if your children turn their nose up at a three-course gourmet meal the chefs can whip up spaghetti, hot dogs or something else that would appeal.
Dinner is served family-style in the dining room overlooking the meadow and mountains. A sampling of the dishes you might find on the table at dinner: field green salad with mandarin dressing, lamb sirloin, orange crême brulée, wine. Pureed parsnip soup; salmon with rice pilaf; and cherry, blackberry and pear clafoutis. Fish tacos, featuring Canadian pickerel; B.C. steelhead trout; braised bison short ribs.
For overnight guests, dinner, breakfast, afternoon tea and a packed lunch are included in the room rate. Coffee and tea are available in the dining room from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. If you’re planning to visit for dinner only, as day guests, you’ll need to reserve. Day guests are also welcome for Sunday Brunch, Sundays 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (reservations required); and Afternoon Tea, which goes daily from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. with freshly brewed coffee, tea blends from Banff Tea Co. and a charcuterie board with fine local meats, cheeses, fruits, crackers, and fresh-baked treats, arranged on your tray like a work of art and bursting with flavour. Please call ahead if you’re planning to drop by.
Mount Engadine Lodge has won numerous awards, including multiple Trip Advisor Certificates of Excellence, being recognized for contributions to sustainable hospitality by Alberta Tourism and winning the 2010 Alto Award for Sustainable Tourism. Mount Engadine Lodge’s mission is to reduce its environmental impact on the surrounding area. For example, towel and linen service is provided on-demand, not automatically. The lodge is off the power grid, using a generator, and Wi-Fi and phones run off a satellite.
Heather is an Alberta resident who came to Mount Engadine Lodge with her sister and a friend to celebrate a professional milestone and birthday. They had a great time at Mount Engadine Lodge. “We like its proximity to Mount Shark – you can combine it with the Mt. Shark ski trails,” she says.* “And the amount of food and the variety of food. You get to meet a blend of people who enjoy being outdoors – we met some cool people at afternoon tea today. We’re happy with how warm our glamping tent is because we were worried about it being cold, but it’s not. It makes a one-night trip feel more like a weekend because there is so much involved. It’s also a really nice accessible place to get to.”
Mount Engadine Lodge is located at 1 Shark Road, 35 km south of Canmore on the Smith Dorrien Highway. From Calgary, take Highway 40 (Kananaskis Trail) to Highway
742. Reservations: email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (587) 807-0570.
The writer was a guest of Mount Engadine Lodge. They did not review or approve this article.