Surround yourself in the beautiful wilderness of Yoho National Park and the Canadian Rockies with a stay at Emerald Lake Lodge. If you’ve ever seen photos of Emerald Lake, then you’ve probably seen the iconic cabin that sits at the shores of this beautiful glacial lake.
Long before I ever made my way to Emerald Lake, I would see photos of this beautiful log cabin and wonder how it was possible to rent or stay here. It turns out the famous “cabin” you see in photographs is actually a restaurant and café.
The property itself is much bigger and far more spread out. Emerald Lake Lodge isn’t just one lodge, it is a cluster of cabins that sit on the peninsula that stretches out across the lake. The majestic mountains of YoHo National Park provide the perfect backdrop to the lodge.
There are few places to stay in YoHo National Park but Emerald Lake Lodge is by far the best. It is the perfect base to explore all that YoHo has to offer as well as nearby Lake Louise. Emerald Lake Lodge is not just the most famous attraction in YoHo National Park, it’s also a staple in any Canadian Rockies itinerary.
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Where is Emerald Lake?
Emerald Lake is situated inside YoHo National Park in British Columbia. The lake lies just before the BC/Alberta border.
Emerald lake is just a 30-minute drive from Lake Louise. And although just as stunningly beautiful, it receives far less visitors, which is all the more reason to visit!
The town of field is just 10 minutes away from the lodge if you do need to stop in for extra supplies.
Parking at Emerald Lake Lodge
Parking is complimentary at the Emerald Lake Lodge but the parking lot for guests is located about half a mile from the lake. But do not panic, carrying your bags along the road to the main reception isn’t necessary.
Once you park your car, you’ll notice a small cabin with a sign that states “Emerald Lake Lodge Shuttle”. Pop your head into this tiny lodge and there will be a phone that you’ll dial 0 from which connects you to the front desk. You can then request a shuttle to pick you up. Shuttles are available 24/7.
The little lodge in the parking lot is super cute and has a heater and some seating to hang out and stay warm while you wait for your shuttle. There is also a visitor log book that you can leave a hand-written message in.
What amenities does Emerald Lake Lodge offer?
The lodge features several onsite amenities including access to the Club House which is equipped with fitness equipment, weights, changing rooms, showers and towels. Guests can take time to rejuvenate and refresh in the outdoor hot tub which looks out onto Emerald Lake and surrounding mountains.
Wifi is only available in the main lodge and is free to use. There is no Wifi in rooms to encourage guests to unplug and unwind.
The main lodge has had a face lift in recent years giving it a modern rustic chic aesthetic, all the while retaining its old world charm. Gone are the turquoise hues, deer heads and antique furniture. They have now been replaced with a brighter more sophisticated environment.
The second floor of the main lodge features billiards, boardgames, chess and the lodges only television in case you do need your technology fix.
Spend the evenings cozying up by the fire pit with a blanket. S’mores kits can be purchased from the front desk.
Dining at Emerald Lake Lodge
There are several dining options at Emerald Lake Lodge. The Mount Burgess Dining Room is the main dining room at the lodge with dinner service from 5pm to 9pm. The dining room offers a fine dining menu that is built on local produce and is accompanied by an award winning wine list featuring more than 400 local and international wines.
The Kicking Horse Lounge serves lunch from 11am to 5pm and the bar is open daily from 11am to 11pm. The drinks menu features the standard staples such as espresso martinis along with unique concoctions such as the Emerald Canoe. The Emerald Canoe cocktail is fresh fruity and bright blue in colour, mimicking the stunning Emerald Lake.
Breakfast is served in the Mount Burgess Dining Room from 8am to 11am. The menu is varied and offers items from granola and fresh berries to hearty offerings such as the breakfast burger.
I opted for the mixed grill and it was divine! One of the best breakfasts I have had. The blueberry bison sausage gets the stamp of approval from me!
The Cilantro Café is set in the picturesque cabin that you see from the shores of Emerald Lake and is great for casual fare, quick bites or a coffee to go.
The grounds are rugged and wild and really make you feel like you are in the Canadian wilderness, it’s the perfect area to enjoy a morning walk and strong cup of coffee. The property stretches past the main lodge and continues further along the lake. There are views to be had everywhere.
The cabins are somewhat worn on the exterior, but this is the Canadian Rockies after all. This area experiences some harsh winter weather conditions. I would imagine the yearly heavy snowfall would have some impact on the wooden exteriors.
Emerald Lake Lodge Room Features
The rooms at Emerald Lake Lodge are large, comfortable and spotlessly clean and feature balconies that open onto the serene waters of Emerald Lake.
Rooms are basic but cozy with plenty of room. We stayed in a King room with balcony. I loved the King Bed. It gave us so much room to roll around (well, I should say room for ME to roll around). The bedding is super soft and comfortable and I enjoyed a great nights sleep here.
Rooms do not offer any air conditioning during the summer, but there is a standalone unit in the closet that can be used. Other room amenities include an iron, ironing board, hair dryer and bath robes.
There are a few select rooms at the lodge that are designated pet-friendly.
Rooms include a seating area complete with coffee table and two chairs that surround the rustic stone fireplace. Every room comes complete with a Kuerig-style coffee machine. This coffee machine seemed to be a more basic version of a Kuerig and you’ll need to add the correct amount of water. I didn’t do this and my coffee overflew!
Our stay was in May when temperatures start to rise and the lake starts to thaw, due to this we opted not to light our wood burning fireplace as the room was already quite warm. It’s also important to note that a wood burning fireplace will heat the room up quite fast, which I imagine would be fantastic during the winter cold snaps.
The bathroom amenities, such as shampoo, shower gel and conditioner, were supplied by L’Occitane which is one of my favourites. There was also a supply of towels, hand towels and wash cloths for two people along with a complimentary sewing kit, vanity kit and shower cap. The shower cap is always a welcome surprise as sometimes I forget mine when traveling and I only wash my hair every other day.
One thing I really loved about the room was the size of the balconies. I have stayed in many hotel rooms with balconies and some are so tiny you can barely move. The balcony was beautiful with partial lake views and featured two lounge chairs and an abundance of space.
Waking up to the sounds of nature and enjoy the crisp morning mountain air is the perfect way to start the day.
Things to do near Emerald Lake
There are many things to do in the Emerald Lake Lodge area including hiking, canoeing and wildlife spotting.
Canoeing on Emerald Lake is one of the top things to do in the summer. Canoes can be rented from the boathouse and are some of the cheapest canoe rentals in the Canadian Rockies.
Nearby hiking trails include the Takkakaw Falls trail, natural bridge trail and the Emerald Lake loop.
Best Time To Visit
Having visited the lake in both summer and winter. Both seasons have their perks.
The summer is prime tourist season when the lake has fully thawed. This is when the area is at its most stunning. However the winter months also bring a quieter experience and everything looks so beautiful in a dusting of snow.
During the day time Emerald Lake can get busy. But the early mornings, late afternoons and evenings are where you’ll get to experience the lake in another light. These are the best times to walk around the lake as it starts to quiet down. Visiting in the shoulder season and off season is also another great option for a calm and care-free stay.
Emerald Lake Lodge’s dedication to high quality and warm atmosphere will leave you with an experience you’ll never forget. If you’re searching for the ultimate Canadian mountain experience, Emerald Lake Lodge ticks all the boxes.
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