A Hidden Gem In The Rockies: Mount Engadine Lodge
Built in 1987, Mount Engadine Lodge is a back country all-inclusive resort set in the Kananaskis Range of the Rocky Mountains, within Spray Valley Provincial Park. It sleeps 39 people comfortably in several cabins, glamping tents, even a yurt, plus there’s private rooms in the lower level of the main lodge. Food is included with every booking – breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner which is served family style. The lodge is staffed by knowledgeable, full time, very friendly people. It’s surrounded by beautiful Alberta mountain landscapes, including pink sunrises, the freshest of air, and random wildlife visits. A lot of people stay at Mount Engadine to take advantage of the many nearby hiking, snowshoeing, and cross country ski trails. Spray Lakes Reservoir is a very short drive away if you’re into fishing, summer or winter as it’s open all year. Or you can disconnect for a day and sit on the deck, sipping wine and relaxing without worrying about e-mails. Whatever you’re into it’ll be time well spent at Mount Engadine Lodge.
We were invited to come and stay at Mount Engadine Lodge for a couple days to check it out and share words/photos, so this is a sponsored post.
|Address||1 Mount Shark Rd, Canmore, AB|
Getting To Mount Engadine Lodge
Mount Engadine Lodge is located south of Canmore on Highway 742 (aka Smith Dorrien Trail). You can get there through Canmore, or via Highway 40 in Kananaskis country. Either way is a beautiful drive. In the winter the highways are cleared of snow, but it can snow a LOT in this area, so drive slow. In summer it’ll be dusty, so, drive slow.
If you aren’t from the area and you’re planning on coming to Mount Engadine Lodge, you’ll need to fly into the Calgary International Airport then rent a vehicle to drive the rest of the way.
- Drive time from Calgary: 2 hours
- Drive time from Calgary Airport: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Drive time from Canmore: 45 minutes to 1 hour
- Make sure to check with 511 Alberta for road closures before you go!
- There are no buses or trains to the lodge
The Main Lodge
Things To Know
- Check in time is 3:00 PM. Check out time is 11:00 AM.
- There is no cell service around the lodge, just the complimentary WiFi.
- WiFi available in the main lodge only from 9:00 AM – 11:00 PM.
- Rates vary depending on time of year, day of the week, choice of lodging.
- Rates are cheaper on weekdays, and in the winter.
- Mount Engadine Lodge also hosts weddings and corporate retreats.
- They have snowshoes and Yaktrax you can borrow for free.
- Housekeeping services the rooms every 3 days.
- There’s a sauna you can use for free, just give the staff 1 hr heads up.
- Bring a pair of warm slippers for walking around inside the main lodge.
- You can purchase some of the artwork found in the main lodge.
- Children are welcome.
As soon as you walk through the main lodge door you’ll be surrounded in rustic vacation cabin goodness. It’s warm, cozy, full of fun outdoorsy things on the walls, and the staff are friendly and inviting. They ask that you remove your shoes/boots when you come in as they’re probably wet/dirty. There’s shelves provided for your footwear, and hooks for jackets. They also provide a box full of wool slippers if anyone wants to use them.
The front desk office is right there as well if you need to check in or have any questions for the staff.
Just to the right of the office is this room with a fireplace, and a library with numerous outdoor and nature magazines for guests to chill and read. If the fire isn’t lit you can just ask the staff to light it up. There’s another fireplace in the room to the left, through the door. If it’s cold, staffers will probably already have it roaring. All of the seating by the fires is super comfy – if you’re not careful you’ll fall asleep.
Downstairs you’ll find the sauna, fat tire bikes, snowshoes you can borrow, plus several rooms for rent.
Mount Engadine Lodge also has a sauna, which is free to use, you just have to give the staff at least one hour of a heads up so they can prepare it. It’s log fueled so it takes a bit of time to heat up. They don’t have shorts/bathing suits so don’t forget to bring yours.
As mentioned in the lodge, there’s a library full of nature books, magazines, guides, photography, local history, etc. Mostly non-fiction. Sipping coffee at the end of the day while reading a magazine in front of the fire is bliss.
Coffee is included with your stay, as much as you can make and drink. There’s also a big selection of high quality tea from The Banff Tea Co.
They also have a bar which is stocked with a nice selection of beer, wine, and spirits. There were actually about a dozen different beers to choose from, plus they can whip up several different cocktails if you have any requests. Suggested cocktail: old fashioned. There is a $20 corkage fee.
The Food, Meals – What To Expect
All of your meals are included with your stay – breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea/charcuterie, and dinner. Everything is made fresh in the kitchen, inside the main lodge. Food is served family style, which means you’ll be seated at large tables with other guests staying at the lodge while you’re being served dinner. At Mount Engadine Lodge each of the rooms you stay in have a name (our glamping tent was called ‘Wolverine’). Depending how many people are expected to join in for dinner, the staff will put out nameplates on where each room sits. It was actually really fun mixing things up with strangers. We sat with a firefighter & radiologist from Edmonton, a doctor or health care worker from Lethbridge, a content writer and an older couple who laughed at our jokes a lot. It was cute and refreshing. The people you sit with change each night depending on who is staying at the lodge. It’s actually very interesting getting to learn about the other people staying at the lodge.
The menu for each day is posted outside the kitchen on a chalkboard. If there’s something you don’t like or can’t eat, (ie. fish) you can request something else, but no guarantees they will have anything available. They’re able to accommodate any dietary restrictions you may have if you let them know ahead of time! Do that when you book.
Breakfast is served from 8:00 AM until 9:00 AM, depending what they have available you may get a choice of 2 breakfast food options such as waffles with fruit or a toasted bagel with egg and cheese, or scrambled eggs w/ cheese. Every day is different. There’s some light options provided on the side: orange juice, apple juice, scones, strudels, fruit salad, muffins, biscuits, whipped cream, coffee and tea.
During breakfast you’ll be presented with a questionnaire with what your preferences are for a bagged lunch sandwich to take with you when you’re done with breakfast. Turkey, Swiss, tomato, onion, mayo, spicy mustard were what I went with. You get to pick a treat with it too, I picked vegetables one day and cookies another day. They were so good. Thick homemade bread. Wish I had one right now.
The sandwiches were delicious! I think they were even made with homemade bread. Huge and nutritious.
Afternoon Tea, Charcuterie Board
In addition to the provided bagged lunch sandwich is afternoon tea / charcuterie, which is served from 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM. This is the only meal which is not really served family style. They’ll prepare a nice meat/cheese/fruit charcuterie board for the size of your group when you’re able to drop by for it. Our charcuterie board below was for 4 people.
Not staying at Mount Engadine Lodge? No problem – they have drop in rates.
After the charcuterie board they brought out some apple pie! It was incredible. All of the food at Mount Engadine Lodge is really good. The portions are huge and all of the ingredients are sourced locally. Not having to prepare your own meals is an amazing perk with booking a stay.
Dinner starts at 7:00 PM and they ask that you’re seated 5 minutes beforehand. I found it was best to show up a bit earlier than that to grab a coffee or tea or beer and sit in the lounge by one of the fireplaces. Nice way to relax and chill before dinner. There’s a little bit of WiFi at the lodge so I was able to check on messages. Good time to take in the amazing views outside too.
Dinner includes an appetizer, the main course, then dessert. They have a nice selection of beer, wine and spirits to go with, and you can even ask them for pairing advice. Their beer selection consisted of a few lights and a few dark options. Canmore Brewing is yum!
Give dinner at least an hour or two, depending how much conversation you strike up with the new friends you’ll make.
It’s really convenient having the lodge handle all of the meals and snacks. You can spend your time relaxing or doing activities and not have to worry about food other than showing up on time in the lodge. The staff were professional, polite, fun to talk to. Really enjoyed every second of meal time. I even saw the owner of Mount Engadine Lodge back in the kitchen with the staff helping with food prep. Love to see that kind of service, anywhere.
After dinner one night we were chatting with one of the staff members, Ryan. He’s from Australia and had only been working at the lodge for a few months but absolutely loved it. He kind of does it all, cooks food, fixes broken things, makes beds, but described it as the best job ever. Getting to work in such a beautiful pristine place has it’s perks. Ryan loves fishing and showed us a sweet picture of a huge bull trout he had caught recently.
Each week they also do up a Sunday brunch! Adults $35, children $20. Comes with coffee/tea/juice. Brunch is not included with your stay, just something extra they do. The brunch menu changes weekly. Expect to see classics like eggs benny, salmon dishes, bacon, pancakes with strawberry compote, all served up with local ingredients.
During my visit to Mount Engadine Lodge, I stayed in one of their 5 outdoor glamping tents. Their glamping tents are actual real tents, just larger and custom built to include a heated bathroom too. There’s a bed (king size or 2x twins), a couch, a propane fireplace, shelving space/coat rack, a table, and a bathroom with a shower. Each glamping tent has a name as well, ours being Wolverine, the coolest of names. Check booking.com for availability and prices.
- Beds: super comfy! Lots of blankets are provided, more in the shelf if you need them. There’s USB ports in each of the headboards, plus individual lights you can turn on/off. In case you need them, ear plugs are provided in each of the night stands. Each side of the bed is provided a pair of hotel style slippers for walking around inside the glamping tent, since the floor can get a little chilly.
- Heating: even though it was below zero temperatures outside (February mountain weather), the tent was kept toasty warm thanks to the propane fireplace and bathroom heater. The corner of the tent furthest away from the propane fireplace was a little chilly so we used it to keep drinks cold. The bathroom has it’s own powerful heater so it’s kept at an indoor temperature all the time – no cold toilet seats! The hot water in the shower stayed hot the entire time, no issues.
- Bathroom: each glamping tent has it’s own private bathroom, which has it’s own heater. They use Rocky Mountain Soap Co. for the soap at the sink, and for the shampoo & conditioner in the shower. Hot water was not a problem and other than it’s size, it felt like a normal hotel bathroom.
- Views: the glamping tent decks face toward a huge valley, which is quite the view in itself, but the valley is used by animals as a travel corridor so your odds of seeing wildlife are pretty good. The decks have chairs too.
- Pets: Dogs are welcome in the cabins and glamping tents! There is a $20/day fee per pet. Dogs are also welcome in the main lodge, if they’re well behaved. They are not allowed in the food/dining room area.
Friends of ours were staying in the glamping tent next to ours so it was super convenient for going out to do stuff, or to the lodge for food as a group. There is no cell service or WiFi in the glamping tents, nor are there any TVs. There are electrical outlets on either side of the bed in the headboard so you can plug things in or charge devices. There is also a ceiling fan chandelier in the top middle to keep the air moving, and provide light, plus motion activated floor lights.
Overall the glamping tents were an amazing experience. I was a little apprehensive about sleeping outside in the winter but these tents are built for the cold in mind, so it really wasn’t an issue.
One downside with them, the only one I can think of, is that sound travels pretty easily inside and out. Your walls and ceiling are made of fabric (except bathroom, it’s all wood), sound goes through it. We didn’t have an issue with it at all, but it’s just something to remember. In the summer months, if it’s loud, use the ear plugs.
Additional Lodging Available
In addition to glamping tents Mount Engadine Lodge rents out rooms, suites and detached chalet cabins. None of their accommodations have TVs, computers or telephones.
Each of the cabins comes with their own private entrance, bathroom with a shower, plus balcony deck overlooking the meadow. You can ski right up to your door, they’re awesome.
Just outside the main lodge is also an outdoor fire pit. Bet that’s real nice in the summer. For our visit it was snowed in.
If you’re really adventurous, they also have a Yurt you can book. It’s a 7 minute walk from the main lodge, sleeps 4 (bring your own winterized sleeping bag), is pet friendly and comes with pillows/linens, plus a heater. For the most dedicated campers only.
Visiting Mount Engadine Lodge In February 2020
We got there just as before it started getting dark, which can be pretty early throughout the winter months in Alberta. Went and checked in with the front desk, grabbed our glamping tent keys and went to park the truck. The tents were already warm with the lights on waiting for us. I don’t know if you ever go camping but one of the most miserable things to do is setting up the tent in the dark, or in the rain. Zero setup is amazing! You just unlock the door and walk inside. The tents look bigger on the inside. Right away I became best friends with the gas fireplace in the front wall of the tent and unpacked the things I’d brought then we all headed to the lodge for dinner. Salad for appetizer, salmon for the main and apple crumble for dessert. A great way to begin our experience at Mount Engadine Lodge.
During our visit it was snowing lightly pretty much the entire time during the night so we were not able to see the stars. They’re supposed to be spectacular due to how remote the lodge is.
Getting up early when sleeping in the mountains is not something we’ve ever attempted. Breakfast starts at 8:00 AM so we woke up just before that. Learned right away was worth getting up for. All of the food included in your stay is made fresh and super tasty. If you’re going to be spending the day burning energy going fun things, eat a good breakfast in you first. Even though we look at 8:00 AM as early, some of the other guests had already been awake for a couple hours on the nearby trails. While you have breakfast you also fill out a form as to what you’d like to be in your packed lunch sandwich. Lots of options but I went with turkey, ham, mustard, mayo, onions, lettuce, tomato, Swiss cheese, and veggies as the snack. Once you’re finished breakfast your lunch will be waiting for you, with your name on it and your room name.
Soon after breakfast we headed out to Spray Lakes Reservoir to do some ice fishing! We needed to be back at the lodge for 2:00 PM for afternoon tea / charcuterie, so we had about 3 hours.
We drilled 2 holes pretty quickly a couple hundred feet out from the Driftwood day use area / boat dock. It was very windy and pretty cold. We’d brought a pop up fishing tent (similar to this one) which worked really well for keeping the wind out. I’ve been ice fishing lots of times but have never used a shelter before, really need to get one of those.
We fished for about 90 minutes before packing it in to head back due to the temperature. Saw a fish! The water in Spray Lakes is crystal clear. No bites though. It was still a good time had. We saw 2 moose on the side of Spray Lakes reservoir after packing up the fishing gear. Moose are huge. Don’t ever get too close, they can really hurt you. Luckily we had brought a DSLR camera with a zoom lens.
After heading back to the lodge for afternoon tea / charcuterie, we went back to our tents to nap/chill for a couple hours before dinner.
We brought along a bottle of Skunkworks Distillery Moonshine to keep our bellies warm, plus a Calgary-Opoly board game for entertainment (It’s a Calgary ‘version’ of Monopoly). The moonshine plus ginger beer plus some lime = yummy cocktail. It’s a little sweet and is very easy to drink. Board games to wind down the night are such a good idea. We played Calgary-Opoly for hours while listening to music and drinking moonshine, it was a great night.
Up early for breakfast again, though it was much easier than on day 2. We had a nice chill breakfast, meeting some new guests we hadn’t seen before. Lots of coffee was consumed. Once breakfast was finished we grabbed our packed lunch and headed back to the glamping tents to begin packing up for check out. Because almost everything was taken care of by the lodge, we didn’t have much to pack up because we didn’t bring much. After everything was put into the truck, we dropped off the keys to our glamping tent, then hit the road back to Calgary.
We stopped in a few places on the way home to take some photos. Alberta is so beautiful.
Things To Do In The Area
The Spray Valley is a great place to visit for outdoor activities like hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking/fat biking, fishing, taking photos, watching wildlife and whatever else you can think of. Mountain Engadine Lodge is surrounded by many different mountains within the Kananaskis range. Mount Shark, Mount Smuts, Mount Birdwood, Commonwealth Peak, Mount Engadine, Mount Galatea, Mount Chester, Mount Buller, Mount Burstall and Mount Murray are all quite close.
Trails in the area
- Burstall Pass – AllTrails – 10adventures
- Chester Lake – AllTrails – 10adventures
- Frost Heave
- Graupel – AllTrails – KananaskisTrails
- High Rockies – HikeBikeTravel
- Hogarth Lakes Loop – AllTrails – 10adventures
- Rummel Lake – TrailsPeak – 10adventures
- Sawmill Loop – AllTrails – Hiking With Barry
- Watridge Lake – AllTrails – Hiking With Barry
- Spray Valley Trail Report
- Snowshoeing Kananaskis Trails brochure
- Peter Lougheed Provincial Park information
- Alberta.ca outdoor recreation resources
- Mount Engadine Lodge cross country ski trail map
You’re fishing for Lake Trout and Mountain Whitefish. Spray Lakes Reservoir can be a very windy place anytime of the year. Get’s cold in the winter.
- Spray Lakes Reservoir Fishing Regulations (ES1)
- Directions from Mount Engadine Lodge to boat launch
- Buy a fishing license online (prices here)
- You can buy a fishing license at Canadian Tire – there’s one in Canmore
- Buy a fishing rod/reel/tackle online (Amazon Canada)
- Wapiti Sports is a fishing store in Canmore – 403.678.5550
Go on a sled dog tour, charter a helicopter ride, hire a back country guide. Get out there!
If you’re going to be in Canmore before, during or after your visit to Mount Engadine Lodge, The Grizzly Paw has some good beer/food/views.
Mount Engadine Lodge was very relaxing, exciting, and just what we needed after being cooped up in a big city all winter. Would love to see what it’s like in the spring or summer months with the rain coming down on the glamping tent roof. We’re so lucky, living in Calgary. There’s so many easily accessible mini vacation spots at our fingertips. People fly from all over the world just to spend time in our backyard.
Thank you again to Mount Engadine Lodge for the invite and the adventure!
Crackmacs are a team of Calgary based bloggers, writing about and sharing food, drinks, things to do, events, contests, charities, travel/tourism, parenting, politics, lifestyle and all kinds of other content.