Updated: Jul 26, 2019
Nestled in the majestic Yoho-Banff National Park, Emerald Lake is perhaps one of my most favorite places to visit in the area. In fact, I had to seriously consider whether or not to blog about one of my favorite places because I didn't want the charm of this remote and peaceful lodge to be overwhelmed by heavy tourist traffic. We enjoyed our stay so much that I must share it with you.
From Calgary, it is a short and straightforward 2.5 hour long drive on Trans-Canada Highway 1. If you are driving in the winter, please remember Canadian winter driving conditions are in an entire different category of defensive driving. Most rental vehicles are equipped with all-season tires, but keep in mind that the roads are slick and there are lots of wildlife in the area. Safe and steady - the drive is so scenic and peaceful - take your time and enjoy the road trip!
In order to fully immerse yourself into the peaceful surroundings at Emerald Lake Lodge, there are a few things you may want to be prepared for:
1. Completely Unplugged
The most appealing thing about the lodge for me is that there is absolutely no cellular connectivity, no TVs, and no WiFi. Completely unplugged! That may stress some of us out - nowadays we rely so heavily on our phones, tablets, laptops and Netflix. Rest assured, there are plenty of activities to do that you won't even notice you were offline for a few days. Kinda funny that this is one of the first things I tell you to prepare for. There's actually WiFi and a TV in the main lodge if you absolutely need it.
2. Overnight Parking
There is a parking lot for overnight guest parking a few kilometers down the mountain from the lodge. This is to help reduce the traffic and pollution from cars by the lake and cabins. You simply park your car and head to the bell station and ring the main lodge to let them know of your arrival, and they will send a shuttle to pick you up. This shuttle is 24-7 and the friendly staff will take you to your car when and if you need to.
3. Sole Provider of Food & Beverage
Canadian Rocky Mountain Resort is the sole provider of food and beverage at Emerald Lake Lodge. Though this is unclear on the website - upon arrival, there is a small sign that requests guests to refrain from bringing in their own food and beverages. If you have any dietary or health-conditions that require you to bring your own food and beverage, I would give the lodge a call to let them know so they can best accommodate you. Field is a small village about a 10 minute drive from the lodge, and they have a couple small but very good cafes and restaurants available as well. Honestly - the food at the lodge is ahhhhh-mazing! You will not be disappointed!
Taste of the Mountains!
We stayed at Emerald Lake for 5 days on our first visit, and 4 days on our last visit. So we had plenty of opportunities to enjoy the gourmet Canadian dining experiences the lodge had to offer at the Mount Burgess Dining Room, and the Kicking Horse Lounge. My favorite recommendations are below.
This isn't your ordinary charcuterie board - at Emerald Lake Lodge, their charcuterie board is a beautiful selection of Canadian game meats including: Elk Salami, Air Dried Buffalo, Prosciutto, Smoked Duck Breast, Wild Boar Pâté, Aged Sylvan Star Gouda, House-made Mustard Melons, Cranberry Relish, and Pickles.
We opted to enjoy the board in our room by the wood burning fire, but the lodge does not offer room service. So we simply called the dining room to place our order and went to pick it up.
New Zealand Rack of Lamb
Super tender and flavorful, perfect portion for me. Served with a crust of herbs and goat cheese over a bed of couscous with fresh pomegranate seeds.
Served medium-rare with a citrus honey glaze and delicious butternut squash. I still dream of this dish!
Some More S'mores Please!
For dessert, we opted to make s'mores at the lodge's lakeside campfire, or in-room at your very own wood-burning fireplace. The lodge has pre-packaged all the ingredients you need for the best s'mores experience ever.
Things To Do
We visited the lodge both times during the winter so I will share my top winter activities in the area with you. There are plenty of activities all year long. Just visit their website for some activities during the summer season here.
Snowshoeing or Hiking
If outdoors activities aren't your scene - there's still plenty to do at the lodge. Relax in their outdoor stainless steel hot tub, take in the views by the lake and campfire, play some board games or enjoy some alone time with a cup of tea and a good book.
Bring Fido Too!
Emerald Lake Lodge's best asset is their incredibly warm and welcoming staff. Besides being great with their guests, they're also incredibly dog-friendly! Every single person I met there loves loves loves dogs! We're so grateful to be able to bring our little furbaby along with us - afterall, she is part of the family.
The staff loved her and let her hang out at the main lodge all day. They even insisted we leave her at the front to 'work for the day'. Thank you, folks!