Emerald Lake Lodge: The best Yoho National Park hotel

The last time I stayed at Emerald Lake Lodge, in Canada’s Yoho National Park I was a newlywed. Naturally, I can’t remember much about that romantic escapade, except it was a delight and they had a really rad outdoor hot tub. When the opportunity arose to revisit this spring, I was torn.

Be sure to add a visit to Cilantro at Emerald Lake Lodge to your bucket list.
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Would I take The Huz and reignite that spark that’s so easily extinguished with the drudgeries of daily life? Nah! I decided I’d rather go on a girl’s getaway with my daughter while she still wants to hang out with me. And so it was off to Emerald Lake Lodge we went.

Win a free night at Emerald Lake Lodge: The best Yoho National Park hotel
Rent a canoe on-site and paddle around Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park

Emerald Lake Lodge, Yoho National Park

Emerald Lake Lodge is close to Lake Louise, but sits on the B.C. side of the Rockies. It’s in Yoho National Park, which is just as pretty as Banff National Park, minus the crowds. When choosing where to stay in Yoho, the question you must first ask yourself is how badly do you want to rough it?

If you’re really gun-ho, there are numerous campgrounds to pitch your tent at, but if you’re looking for a true Canadiana lodge experience, Emerald Lake Lodge is where you want to rest your head. 

Field, B.C.

To get to the lodge from Calgary, you drive along the TransCanada highway passing both Banff and Lake Louise. After crossing the Alberta/B.C. border, you’ll come up to a tiny town that’s Field BC. Once you hit Field, you know you’re not far.

It is worth a stop to suss out the Yoho National Park Visitor Centre for information on hiking and biking trails. If you want to bypass that, the staff at Emerald Lake Lodge can also point you in the right direction. And if you’re into roughing it, you may want to consider hiking or camping around Lake O’Hara.

field bc
This view was so mesmerizing, I had to pull over and snap a pic.

We peeled off the highway near Field and drove along that stunning road pictured above, before pulling into the lodge parking lot. From there, you hop on a shuttle that whisks you up to the main lodge in three minutes flat.

Emerald Lodge

The main lodge at Emerald Lake is as grand as you’d expect. Built of hand-hewn timber with plenty of inviting fireside nooks, it’s worth visiting for a cocktail even if you aren’t staying the night. We were, but I was anxious to get out and about. Away from Emerald Lodge we went, so my precocious tween and I could get some much needed fresh air.

main lodge emerald lake lodge
How’s this for a Rocky Mountain lodge? (Photo credit: Orange Girl Photography)

First up: exploring Emerald Lake – not that we could surmise the lake’s colour at this time of year. Coated in a thick sheet of ice, this is the largest of the 60-some lakes in Yoho National Park and one that’s easy to get around. Situated lakeside, Emerald Sports rents out cross country skis and snowshoes, plus canoes in the summer months.

emerald lake loop
It was so hot, we stripped down to base layers.

Initially, I was worried doing the full Emerald Lake Loop would be too much. My daughter doesn’t exactly love cross country skiing and nobody wants such pretty vistas ruined by whingeing. But the 8 km (5 mile) groomed run only takes about an hour to complete and we were both glad we made the effort.

Sparkling like diamonds, the snow looked like some six-year-old had thrown glitter on it. And there were adorable snowmen to admire under the President Range – like winterized inukshuk, marking the land.

snowman mountains
It’s hard to hate winter when these are your surroundings.

Emerald Lake Cabins

Smugly invigorated with rosy cheeks and slightly sore legs, it was time to investigate the cabins. Though this wasn’t supposed to be a romantic getaway, it suddenly felt like one. Stepping into our Emerald Lake Lodge cabin, I realized a visit here is all about hunkering down in a magical spot, where you’re not distracted from the awesomeness of nature.

mountain lodge guest room
If you don’t know what hygge means, just come to Emerald Lake Lodge. That’ll give you a pretty good idea.

Each cabin comes equipped with a wood burning fireplace and full bath (including tub), but no wifi nor TV. (Wifi is available in the main lodge.) Emerald Lake Lodge is the sort of place where your duvet beckons you to snuggle underneath it with a loved one.

Or, should your loved one be your daughter, curl up on the couch, in front of the fire, with a good book and even better – a glass of wine.

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Cilantro emerald lake lodge
A winter wonderland sprung to life is what you’ll find in Yoho National Park.

It was hard to concentrate on my book though. I kept glancing between the flames on my right and the crystallized lake on my left. It was that perfect time of day when you’re not yet hungry, so the wine is doing its job, and you could drift off to sleep – save you’re still invigorated and feeling quite smug you hit the great outdoors before submitting to the coziness of the room.

This is why they don’t offer connectivity in guest rooms, I thought. True luxury is being disconnected from your devices, but connected to those who mean the world to you.

Christmas trees rockies
You won’t dread winter quite as much next year if you know this is in the cards.

Field, B.C. Restaurants

Though we had a good size wooden table in our room, it was hard to justify ordering room service. Not when there’s Mount Burgess dining room, plus several other restaurants in Field, B.C. a short drive away. (Truffle Pigs Bistro in Field is my favourite restaurant in town.)

Known for its Rocky Mountain cuisine, Emerald Lake’s Mount Burgess has a good looking cocktail program, too. I did want to try the boozy blueberry iced tea, but I just wasn’t feeling like hard alcohol. Instead, I went for a glass of  Sauvignon Blanc. Interestingly, all wines by the glass are from the Okanagan and Silmilkameen Valleys in Southern BC.

The wine program, created by Wine Director, Brad Royale, isn’t just a list of greatest hits. It’s more thoughtful than that, as evidenced by the ‘rules’ set out in the menu. Yes, apparently there are rules for making it onto their wine menu.

First… they have to be delicious.

Second… they have to be pure.

Third… they have to be individual.

Fourth… they have to have value.

scallop appetizer
I can still taste those buttery scallops.

There is a children’s menu at Emerald Lake Lodge, but I believe I previously mentioned my child is somewhat precocious. Eve loves scallops, but would she appreciate them sitting atop a cauliflower velouté and drizzled with chili thyme butter? She would!

Would she be able to handle the heady flavours of star anise in the jus that accompanied her duck breast and lentils? Again, we had a winner. I ordered the beef tenderloin with risotto as a back up – fully anticipating the need to swap plates. Alas, I was stuck with it. There are worse things in life than chewing on flavourful, yet tender Alberta beef though.

rocky mountain cuisine
Believe it or not, she polished off this entire plate. OK, I helped with some of the lentils.

Before heading off to bed, there was one last piece of unfinished business to attend to: that infamous outdoor hot tub. The night was brisk – as most nights in the Rockies tend to be, but that only makes the frothy water that much more soothing.

Gazing up, we could see hundreds of stars piercing the velvet night sky. It had been a busy day, capping off a manic week, but I felt so very centred. Romance was never on the agenda for us girls, but reconnecting to each other was. Mission accomplished.

hot tub on a lake
Here’s that awesome hot tub I remembered so clearly.

Thank you to Emerald Lake Lodge who hosted my stay.

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132 thoughts on “Emerald Lake Lodge: The best Yoho National Park hotel”

  1. My idea of the perfect romantic lodge is one with beautiful views, candlelit dinners and moonlit walks. A weekend hand in hand with my partner and best friend – a private hot tub wouldn’t hurt ????

  2. Jennifer Conway

    What I would love to see in a romantic lodge getaway….. an outdoor hot tub surrounded by trees, a big coffee pot in the room so we can make a full pot in the morning and sit in front of the fire in our jammies an not leave the room until lunch. Quiet lounge for evening drinks and nice walking/hiking trails that are not too difficult but offer great views!!

    1. Oh the coffee pot is a good idea. I’d love a kettle. I hate the taste of coffee water in my tea.

  3. I’ve always wanted to go to Emerald Lake Lodge and can’t believe I’ve never been. It’s too of the list though and I would love to win and visit this fall!

  4. I love a good outdoor hot tub in the summer or winter! So relaxing to sit there and take in the beautiful views.

  5. Tulene Steiestol

    Emerald Lake Lodge gets it right having the rooms sans TV. I would like the room to have something to play music on. Either a docking station or bluetooth.

  6. Jennifer D

    Would love to have a no technology weekend with my guy! Looks like a great place to visit overnight.

  7. I think of fire light through windows that bounces off rich browns of the cabin, with a wisp of smoke coming from the chimney so you know that inside is warmth & comfort.

    1. Wow. Sounds like you’re a writer! I bet you’d find some good inspiration at Emerald Lake Lodge

  8. Connie Wong

    What I love to see in a romantic lodge is beautiful views, with cozy beds, yummy food and peaceful sounds.

  9. Leslie Price

    Very good question, the one thing that I would love to see at a romantic lodge would be a cosy robe to sit next to a roaring fire in! Comfort and relaxation at its best

  10. Samantha Plett

    We honeymooned in a cabin near Hinton, so my idea of romantic lodge getaway must have a fireplace, tub for two, and mountain views! And really good eats!

  11. Vanessa Taylor

    What I love to see in a romantic lodge is a real log burning roaring fire, snowing outside with wine and a charcuterie board!

  12. Rebecca Roberts

    Emerald Lake is beautiful! I’ve been there but never had the chance to stay at the lodge! My idea of a romantic getaway is not complete without a hot tub or jacuzzi and a gorgeous view of course! Add a little wine, and a few candles, honey you’ve got yourself a fairytale!!

  13. Beautiful views and a bottle of wine to spend some quality time together. Although a hot tub wouldn’t hurt 😉

  14. Lesli Kellow

    Perfect Weekend with my partner: Wake up at a lazy time…Banana Bread French Toast at Mount Burgess Dining Room…linger over multiple mugs of steaming coffee…while sitting in front of a crackling fire…gazing out across the lake…eventually get outfitted for snowshoeing…trudge through the trees…discover a winter scene right out of a Christmas card…warm up by the fire…roast a few marshmallows, s’more them (why not? It’s my perfect weekend)…dress down and eat chowder (checked the menu!) at Mount Burgess Dining Room…read a book (yes, a whole book)…visit the dry sauna (checked the website)…jump in the snow…jump in the hot tub…cuddle under the duvet…eat again – Mountain Ramen, please (checked the menu)…put another log on the fire…slip onto the balcony to admire the zillions of stars…laugh, giggle…snuggle in…fall asleep with a smile.

  15. With the love of my life , the man who is always there for me and who shared his love for Canada with me… i completely fell in love with the country , the people , the nature ,

  16. Wood-burning fireplaces, amazing food and being completed ‘unplugged’. I got married at Emerald Lake in 2014 and I can’t wait to go back!!

    1. What a romantic spot for a destination wedding! Do you remember which cabin you stayed in.

  17. We were married at Emerald Lake almost 7 years ago. It is everything I would imagine a romantic lodge to be. The fireplaces, the views, the quiet and peace. No cell phone service, the hot tub. It is amazing inside and out. We have returned twice for anniversary trip since our wedding. We absolutely love it!

  18. Kristin Mackarenko

    Definitely the outdoor hot tub under the stars & then a fire to keep you warm when you head back inside!

  19. A rub for 2 with a view would be nice. Maybe a warm fireplace with it plus some bubbly

  20. Rebecca Bilkowski

    My husband and I got married at Emerald Lake Lodge almost 6 years ago. I loved the cozy rooms, wood burning fires, and that there was little technology to distract us from focusing on each other.

  21. For me it’s a place that is quiet, warm, and has a FIRE for sure. I just love snuggling in front of the fire… even if it’s just with a book!!

  22. Perfect romantic weekend with my partner is snuggling with the fireplace going, then off for a hike to see all the fall colours!

  23. The best get away is one where you disconnect from the outside world and focus on what’s around you; great views, good people and a warm fire.

  24. For us, it’s all about the corkscrew, nice wine glasses, and a cozy blanket or two to sit by the fire and share a bottle of wine!

  25. A bottle of wine (or 2) a comfy bed, a roaring fire, my handsome hubby, a room service menu, a do not disturb sign and no children! ????????????

  26. Cindy Izawa

    Romantic getaway… hmmm… Never had one of those before, but I would think… roasting marshmallows over a firepit, relaxing in an outdoor hottub, hot cocoa and a roaring fireplace in a room with huge windows looking out over a lake surrounded by mountains…

  27. Jill McInnis

    My husband and me would so be grateful for this. We have not been away just us for 5 yrs. This would save all lot were working on. Please give us a chance?!

    1. I’ll try my best! My daughter is the one who pulls the name out of a toque though…:)

  28. Romance at Emerald Lake Lodge would include: time spent outdoors in nature followed by an evening in with a little music in the background (for maybe a dance or two), delicious wine, charcuterie platter (please include some chocolate!) and the ambiance of the fireplace crackling along while we admire the stunning view.

  29. My husband and I would be great full if we had dinner for the two of us by an outdoor fireplace. Overlooking the beautiful water and having the night time sky sparkle. Blankets to keep us comfortable with a glass of red wine. No one around us so we could can soak up in conversations with each other. Have a night time brandy with a good book for my husband to read to me.

  30. Melissa Dark

    Emerald Lake Lodge is still on my bucket list. For my husband and I, we’d like a decompression walk outdoors , good food , a fire and a long hot tub. Hope I can check it off my list!!

  31. Emerald Lake Lodge is probably the most romantic place I’ve ever been, so it sets the standard. There’s nothing more romantic than starry night skies, drifts of powdery snow, and a roaring fire after a day outside.

  32. As photographers it would be a magnificent place to photograph , so much to explore , so much beauty to capture , then after a bath , relax by the fire , champagne in the hand, snuggling together going through and discussing our captures and our different prospective of such a magnificent wonderland. ❤️

  33. Charlotte goss

    I wpuld love to see a nice hot tib witb champaigne and the mountains in the background with my fiancè

  34. Nanica Brown

    What a great way to spend some time with my husband. We stopped making time for the two of us so just a chance to get away for a night would be amazing!

  35. Shabina Dewji

    A warm fire, a hot tub, some snow outside, candles, wine, chocolate strawberries, I want it all!

  36. Shannah Murland

    A mountain lodge needs a fireplace and great views. I have only ever walked around Emerald Lake for the day so it would be amazing to stay there.

  37. Def. a roaring fireplace and also the outdoor hot tub with mountain views would be to die for!

  38. The main thing would be no kids included in this deal. ????
    Lots of bubbles in the tubs & spending time with my husband. I love that view at emerald lake. ❤️

  39. Tracy Gibson

    A romantic lodge for me is somewhere with a mountain view with my husband beside me.

  40. I love looking at the lake from my cozy room in a cozy robe with someone special to share it with.

  41. Would love to see the lake and the mountains, in the morning with a hot cup of java. Would love to share this beautiful moment with my family.

  42. Maria salazar

    Just with a fireplace it will be enough for me. But to go to a place like that I woul need to get my piggy bank full!

  43. My romantic getaway would include a quiet, warm space. Wood fire is perfect. A comfy couch, a bestseller, also something from the best cellar, a private outdoor space to get some brilliant winter rays (maybe a hot tub even), a tray of fresh fruit and local cheese to nibble on, and, of course, my partner. Basically it would be all the things to prevent us being cold, hungry or lonesome!

  44. I love the ‘no tv’ part!! A view!! It’s all about the view!! Emerald Lake is gorgeous!! Love to spend a night!!

  45. What I’d like to see in a romantic lodge? Fireplace or candles, lots of fresh roses, and a nice bottle of French champagne! Quiet room is a bonus – which is given at Emerald Lake Lodge 🙂 My husband and I haven’t been to any romantic getaway after our kids were born and our oldest is almost 10 years old!

  46. Tina Garstad

    To me it’s awesome view is what makes a great. I really like rustic so I’m down the fireplace

  47. My partner is working away until June, so just having some couple-time in the mountains would be romantic. That said, a roaring log fire and snow falling outside would add to the romance!! Can you supply the weather too? ????

  48. Susan Perry

    For me, it’s the view. You need a jaw-dropping , gorgeous, scenic view – accompanied with a glass of wine. 🙂

  49. Bill Perry

    A hot tub for sure, paired with some BC wine, and my wife of 19 years by my side. Xoxo

  50. Tyler Lemermeyer

    Red wine, a beautiful view, roaring fire some Bahamas playing on a Bose speaker and defiantly no beards!

  51. What a romantic way to spend a 25 th wedding anniversary nestled in the Rockies. Bath robes great food and wine. Cuddles by the fire and hand held walks what better place to rekindle the spark.

  52. Brenda Martinez

    I imagine heading out in a canoe together and having a lite packed lunch. Find a quiet spot to sit near the shore and talk and eat our snack. Paddle about for a bit, take some pictures then head back. Hold hands, take a short walk, then sharing a nice bottle of Merlot in the evening on a small balcony and watching the sun set together… The candles are a nice touch, the claw foot bath sounds wonderful too. Most of all though, it’s the company.

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