Lodge culture is synonymous with mountain culture in the Canadian Rockies, a history that dates back to the establishment of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The company built a number of lodges throughout the remote region to accommodate the growing tourism that the new railway brought to the area. Though many of these historic lodges still operate today, serving up authentic backcountry hospitality, there are a number of equally unique new lodges joining the rank in the Banff area. Together, these lodges offer a special way to enjoy this wilderness, whilst minimizing the impact on the environment they're lucky enough to be based in.
This sustainability award-winning lodge is situated in the stunning Spray Valley Provincial Park and, as you might expect, right next to Mount Engadine, proving that luxury accommodation can peacefully co-exist with the environment around it. They have recently added a yurt and five glamping tents to the property if you prefer being closer to nature (and wildlife!) while you sleep.
Paint Box Lodge is a boutique hotel conveniently right in the middle of Canmore. Based in the lands of the Stoney Nakoda people, their mantra is " Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share", meaning they aim to " create a business system that nurtures community, leads in environmental stewardship, welcomes the world and provides the balance for our team to have a great life." Committed to sustainability, they donate 1% of their annual income to environmental organisations. Uniquely, the offer Kitchen Parties - cooking classes for you to expand your culinary techniques.
This Canadian Mountain Lodge takes you from off the grid and into the wilderness. Unusually accessible off the Trans-Canada Highway, a visit to Storm Mountain Lodge is a great way to get the full Canadian Rockies experience with historic cabins, log beds made by the owner, and everything from the fresh food, wine lists and gifts being sourced in Canada.
4. Talus Lodge
If you're searching for the ultimate remote experience, Paint Box Lodge has a sister backcountry hotel - Talus Lodge - hidden within Ktunaxa ?Amak?is, the homeland of the Ktunaxa people, right on the Continental Great Divide, at 2300 meters of elevation. In fact, it's so off the beaten path, that it's currently only accessible by helicopter (though they are working on hiking and ski access), which is included in your stay. Rates also include guided backcountry hikes of the Kootenay mountain area during the summer, and ski excursions in the winter. The whole lodge is a no-wifi zone, perfect for an authentic
Assiniboine Lodge is North America's first backcountry ski lodge, built in 1928. This Lodge is a peaceful mountain homestead, whose staff, owners and guests have spent years exploring the same trails and ski slopes under the iconic Mount Assiniboine - one of the most imposing peaks of the Rocky Mountains. The Lodge is actually run by the same family as Talus Lodge, who know this remote area inside out and, like Talus Lodge, is only accessible by helicopter or a 27km ski or hike.
Another beautifully remote location off the normal tourist track, Skoki Lodge is an 11km hike from the village of Lake Louise. Its rustic charm is what appeals to guests - no electricity or running water - though you can always get warm water for washing. Low light pollution will make for a special spot of star gazing. We love the build-your-own lunch buffet that's setup after breakfast so you can prep for a picnic on your outdoor adventures. If we haven't sold it to you already, not many lodges in Canada can boast having hosted the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
7. Aurum Lodge
This eco-inn, overlooking the majestic Lake Abraham, boasts a mantra of "close to nature, far from the crowds". They typically cater to environmentally conscious, outdoor-oriented guests who are interested in nature and low-impact, human-powered activities. If you fit this bill, you could spend weeks exploring the endless adventures in the surrounding landscapes.
This lodge is owned by the famous Albertan family, the Brewsters, who have been central to the Banff tourism industry for six generations. From this family-run lodge, you can expect freshly made cinnamon rolls in the morning (Morgan's specialty), gourmet meals and cozy log cabins.
Like many of the lodges on this list, Shadow Lake Lodge is accessed by hiking in from the trailhead for 14km (if you chose the quickest route).