Trip: 5 Alberta Backcountry Adventures that’ll have you excited for winter! 

Deja Leonard + A.V Wakefield

Spring is here and that means dusting off the ol’ hiking boots and putting the skis away ’til next year! We spent this winter season exploring the many unique huts, yurts and cabins our province has to offer! Our Hike365 members and ambassadors experienced it all – from the self-catered, to the luxurious. Whether it was a drive up, or a hike in, each place brought us a different experience and one more reason to love traveling within Alberta.

If you haven’t considered visiting a lodge, yurt or cabin yet, you surely will after checking out this round up of our 5 favourite trips!


No. 1 Cameron Lake Cabin ( Alpine Club of Canada )

Photo by Meghan H, Hike365 Ambassador

The Alpine Club of Canada recently converted the oldest warden cabin in Waterton National Park (1929) for overnight use in the winter months. A 2 km trip to the Cameron Lake Cabin will afford you and your fellow adventurers the luxury of bringing in heavy food items or a little extra Bailey’s to enjoy in this wonderland! Wondering what the ACC is all about? Hop over to their website for the scoop on this club with 22 local sections across the country!

Lodge Location: Drive 45 minutes south of Pincher Creek on Hwy 6 South. Enter Waterton National Park, turn right on the Akamina Parkway. Drive approximately 13 kilometers, park at the road closure gate.  The cabin is 2 km from parking area.

Way to access the hut:

  • Snowshoe
  • Nordic Ski
  • Ski Tour
  • Hike
Photo by Meghan H, Hike365 Ambassador

Cost to stay at the cabin:

  • $30 (member) $40 (non-member) per person to a max of 8 occupants / night. (Dec 1-April 30)


  • Self-catered: it’s up to you to get your backcountry camping cook on! The cabin has propane stove tops (propane supplied) making it easy to get creative!


  • Outhouse


  • Sleeping pads in the bunks are provided, but you’ll need to bring your own bedding. A propane heater warms the cabin.
Photo by Meghan H, Hike365 Ambassador

Activities from the cabin:


Instagram: @alpineclubcan



No. 2 Mount Engadine Lodge



Short on time but want a backcountry lodge experience in Alberta? Located in Spray Valley Provincial Park just 40 km from Canmore, Mount Engadine Lodge has all the perks of staying in the backcountry but is accessed via car, and open all year round. Choose to stay in either the main lodge or a private cabin – it’s up to you. If you enjoy a glass of vino,  treat yourself to some wine on the deck as the sun sets over numerous peaks in Kananaskis. With a view this beautiful we promise you’ll forget your car is parked nearby!

Lodge Location: Approximately 37 km from Canmore via Smith Dorrien – Spray Trail 742 South, and 143 km from Calgary via Hwy 1 + 742 South.

Way to access the lodge:

  • Via car.


Cost to stay at the lodge:

  • Cabins start at $475 / night (double occupancy) *additional fees may apply.
  • Rooms start at $400 / night (2-4 people) *additional fees may apply.
  • Single rooms (if you’re traveling solo) start at $195 / night.


  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner + afternoon tea included with your booking.


  • The lodge is licensed, with wine + local beer available for purchase at a reasonable price. You are permitted to bring your own bottles of wine to have with dinner though keep in mind a corkage fee will be charged.


  • A private shower + bathroom are in each room.


Activities from the lodge:

  • Check out our post from earlier about some of our favourite activities nearby!


Instagram: @mountengadine



No. 3 Shadow Lake Lodge + Cabins



The lodge is located in the backcountry of Banff National Park and serves as an excellent base for some of the best hiking in the Canadian Rockies! With private historic cabins, healthy gourmet meals and the lake only a short walk away, Shadow Lake Lodge is worth the splurge especially since you will have earned it by making your own way in on foot, bike or nordic skis!

 Lodge Location: 14 km from Redearth Creek Parking lot.

 Three hiking trails lead to Shadow Lake Lodge:

  • The Redearth Creek parking lot is located off the Trans-Canada Highway 19.6 km west from Banff town site.
  • South approach from Historic Highline Trail.
  • North approach from Historic Highline Trail.

Ways to access the lodge:

In summer: backpack/hike one of the three trails or mountain bike from Redearth Creek (first 10.5 km only, you must then lock your bike and hike the remaining 3.5 km to the lodge.

In winter: nordic, AT ski, snowshoe, hike.


Cost to stay at the lodge:

  • Summer stays start at $295 CAD per person; minimum 2-night stay. (Mid June-Sept)
  • Winter stay prices are subject to change. The lodge is open for select weekends in February and March for winter season.


  • 3 meals + afternoon tea are included with your booking.


  • There is a shared wash house with showers; please bring biodegradable toiletries.


Activities from the lodge:

  • In winter you can nordic ski to the lake and enjoy sunrise over Mt Ball, or ski tour up to Haiduk Lake, Ball or Gibbon pass. Please visit the Parks Canada website for winter safety, trip planning + avalanche terrain ratings for the Banff National Park Area.
  • In summer there are numerous hikes from the lodge ranging from easy to difficult in distance, elevation gain and duration. Favourite hikes include: Gibbon, Whistling + Ball Pass, Egypt Lake Loop + more!


Instagram: @shadowlakelodge



No. 4 The Yurt at Mount Engadine



Are you looking for a rustic camping experience but love the luxury of gourmet lodge meals? The Mount Engadine Yurt is accessed by a forest trail just minutes from the main lodge where meals are served.  You will wake up to solitude each morning, easily making the trip to the lodge in your pj’s to grab a coffee to enjoy on the deck of your yurt! If the word yurt has you heading to Wikipedia for a definition, check out our post highlighting our stay in one!

Lodge Location: Approximately 37 km from Canmore via Smith Dorrien – Spray Trail 742 South, and 143 km from Calgary via Hwy 1 + 742 South.

Way to access the lodge + yurt:

  • Drive up.


Cost to stay at the yurt:

  • All-inclusive stays start at $125 CAD per person / night
  • Yurt-only stays start at $50 CAD per person / night


  • All-inclusive package: breakfast, lunch, dinner + afternoon tea in the main lodge.
  • Self-catered package: it’s up to you to get your camping cook on!


  • Access to the main lodge powder rooms to freshen up are available. (toilet + washstand)


  • Bunk beds + mattresses are provided but you’ll need to bring your own bedding. A propane heater warms the yurt.
Photo 2016-02-20, 00 50 55
Hike365 event to nearby Rummel Ridge, Photo by Courtney Crowe

Activities from the yurt:

  • Check out our post on the lodge for some of our favourite activities nearby!


Instagram: @mountengadine



No.5 Sundance Lodge



This lodge is located in Banff National Park with access to the trailhead starting right from the town site,  which is perfect if you don’t have access to a vehicle. A beautiful creek sits in front of the lodge making it effortless to spend plenty of time on the large deck with a good book listening to the water from Brewster Creek flow by. If you’re itching to embark on a multi-day horseback tour be sure to check out their packages which include stays at their second accommodation, the Halfway Lodge located 32 km from the main lodge.

 Lodge Location: 16 km from Cave + Basin or 10 km from Healy Creek.

 Two hiking trails lead to Sundance Lodge:

  • Cave + Basin: 311 Cave Ave, Banff, AB T0L 0C0 (minutes from downtown Banff)
  • Healy Creek: Healy Creek parking lot is located 10.4 km west on Hwy 1 from Banff town site off of the Sunshine Village exit.

Ways to access the lodge:

In summer: mountain bike, hike/backpack, horseback.

In winter: fat bike, nordic ski, snowshoe, hike.


Cost to stay at the lodge:

  • Winter + summer stays start at $195 CAD per person per night. (Dec-Mar + May-Oct)
  • Summer stays via horseback start at $638 CAD per person; minimum 2 day / 1 night stay. (May-Oct)

Cost to stay at the main lodge + Half Way Lodge:

  • Summer trips via horseback start at $1885 CAD per person minimum 6 day / 5 night stay. (June – Sept)


  • Included with your booking.


  • The lodge is licensed, with beverages for purchase at a reasonable price. You are not permitted to bring your own alcohol due to Alberta licensing rules + regulations


  • There are flush toilets and showers available upon request; please bring biodegradable toiletries.


Activities from the lodge:

  • In summer there are a variety of rides you can do dependent on the duration of your stay.


Instagram: @horsebackbanff




Deja is a freelance writer with a passion for all things active, and the drive to dig deeper into any topic. If she’s not at the rink for a ringette game, or trying out a new activity at one of Calgary’s many studios, you’ll probably find her reading a book or planning her next written piece.
Twitter: @dejaleonard3


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A.V  is a professional photographer + the designer behind North Birch Grove™, a fine art + home decor brand based in Canmore Alberta in the Rocky Mountains. Look for her in winter on the skin track with her skis + in summer on the road with her vintage Boler trailer!
Twitter | Insta : @northbirchgrove


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Meghan is a Hike365 community member + ambassador who has a love of the mountain, adventure + solo travel.  When she’s not exploring the Canadian Rockies, she can be found perusing google earth looking for somewhere new to visit!
Insta: @lovepuddles

44 thoughts on “Trip: 5 Alberta Backcountry Adventures that’ll have you excited for winter! 

    1. The list for next year’s new places to check out for the 2nd annual guide is getting bigger and bigger, we’re gonna need your help 😉

  1. We’re giving away the very last one of our limited Hike365 tees to one lucky girl today!

    To enter, after you’ve read our 5 Winter Backcountry Trips You Won’t Want to Miss! article:

    – COMMENT with which one of the 5 lodges you’d like to stay at + why!

    – Winner announced later today from all entries on the Article comments thread, Insta, Twitter + Facebook !

  2. Beautiful! I can’t choose…I guess we’ll have to visit them all! Nothing like the back country to refresh and rejuvenate the soul!

  3. I’d love to visit Sundance lodge because of the beautiful setting and scenery!!

  4. Such a great resource for detailed info on accessing these lodges, Shadow Lake and Sundance appeal to me with hike in or xc ski access. These treasured places are to be apreciated as our world grows more chaotic and populated, peace in the Rockies!!!

  5. I would love to stay in the yurt because I am always down to try something new and have never been in one before! Reminds me of summer camp days in huts or cabins, sharing stories late into night on the bunk beds, enjoying the outdoors. Why do these experiences have to stay in our youth, I want to recreate this magic as an adult. 🙂

  6. I’ve never been to Waterton before, so I’m definitely putting the Cameron Lake Cabin on my list! I keep seeing gorgeous pictures…must…book!

  7. I’d probably go with Sundance Lodge as a top choice! There’s something about putting the work in with a hike or bike ride to get yourself there, then being rewarded with a wood stove fire and a cozy porch to stargaze on.

  8. The Yurt at Mountain Engadine.
    I’ve always wanted to stay in a yurt, and a yurt in the mountains is like a dream come true. I love to spend any free moment that I have trying new things, whether it be in the mountains (what I prefer), roaming the desert, canyoneering, or making my way to a beach, I LOVE EXPLORING. I love experiencing life!
    Insta: @hikingadventurer08

  9. I’d love to go to Cameron Lake! I like planning gourmet backpacking meals and cooking them myself. The short approach would also be great to bring friends who haven’t done much backpacking before.

  10. Shadow lake lodge looks incredible! We love hiking and this looks like the ultimate getaway!! Definitely on the bucket list of places to go!

  11. I would love to stay at Shadow Lake Lodge and Cabins, it would be beautiful to hike out and explore the trails once there. The solitude and rustic cabins are also a huge deciding factor! 🙂

  12. Great article! I’d love to visit all of these, but Sundance Lodge sounds cool because I’d love to try fat biking!

  13. I’d love to check all of these backcountry lodges off my list…but if I had to choose one, I think I’d pick Sundance Lodge because of its amazing views. I’ve heard the food is great, too! 🙂

  14. I would love to visit The Yurt at Mount Engadine!! I have always wanted to stay at a yurt but didnt know we had any in Alberta! Now I do!!

  15. Number 5 definitely a must for thia summer. Can’t beat a cup of coffee and a good book with breathtaking mountain views. Especially after a good hike in!

  16. I have heard the charcuterie board at Engadine Lodge is unreal!, but would love to stay in the Yurt 🙂 Surprising my boyfriend with a hike in to Bryant Creek shelter for the night in a couple weeks!

  17. I’d love to stay at shadow lake, I’ve always wanted to go ski touring in the terrain towards whistling pass and above haiduk lake! There are some beautiful steep looking runs up there!

  18. I am so excited about the Cameron Lake Cabin! A new area of backcountry skiing to check out! Thanks for all the details! Very excited about what new adventures next winter will bring 🙂

  19. Definitely dying to check out Shadow Lake Lodge & Cabins. All these look like great spots to stay, but the hiking available from here would be spectacular!

  20. The horse one! the horse one! Would love to take my 12 and 10 year old to stay and ride for a couple of days. Thanks for sharing, 3/5 are new to me!

  21. Shadow Lake Lodge. It gives you the exercise and seclusion to get there, but a few luxuries that aren’t always available in the back country. The Lake is amazing in summer, but I would love to snowshoe in and check it out in the winter. Red Earth trail gives you the forest and then you can exit into the beauty of the lake and surrounding mountains. I haven’t done this as a winter excursion yet and always love to compare my winter and summer hikes. This was also my first backpacking trip when I moved to Alberta (in summer) and I’d love to re-experience it in a different season, with more confidence in my abilities, and in way better shape.

  22. Shadow Lake Lodge! Beautiful and more remote than some of the other lodges but still with amenities I don’t usually get in the backcountry. Great for a special occasion, and a chance to do some ski touring which I tried and LOVED this winter.

  23. SUNDANCE LODGE! Because I have never been there and it looks wonderful! I would hike or horse back in the summer!

    Raina Messinger

  24. I would stay at mount engadine lodge! I stopped in once to go to the bathroom while doing a snow shoe! I heard amazing things about the food and it looks awesome!

  25. Sundance!! I have not been there and want to hike or take a horse there in the summer!

  26. I am not even sure how to choose one of these. They are all on my list now, but I have been really eager to get to Engadine after seeing all of your photos!

  27. I would love to stay at The Yurt at Mount Engadine! I love how it has the feeling of a tent but with the comfort of a real bed. 🙂

  28. id stay at the yurt it looks beautiful and I haven’t stayed in one yet!

  29. All of them are amazing!!! But there’s something pretty cool about staying in a Yurt!

  30. How fun and thanks for sharing! I’ve already passed these along to a few friends for ideas for next year 🙂 They all look amazing, but if I had to pick ONE I would definitely want to stay at The Yurt at Mount Engadine! How much fun does that look?!?! So many activities to do around there, plus a super cool experience as I’ve never stayed in a Yurt before.

  31. It’s hard to pick as they all look incredible but I think my first choice would be Sundance Lodge. I’ve been seeing so many wonderful pictures of that area and the hike in sounds great!

  32. OH! Shadow Lake Lodge looks fabulous! I would love to stay there just because the mountains make my heart happy and the cabins look so cosy.

  33. Our winner of the Hike365 tee was drawn at random from over 150 entries across our blog, instagram, facebook + twitter! Congratulations to Victoria V! @vvalchev (Instagram) We love how many entries there were and thank you all for checkin out our post and sharing which experience you’d like to do most! <3

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