Cathedral Mountain Lodge in the Canadian Rockies is luxury in a natural setting.
Imagine your own private log cabin nestled beneath the evergreens in the shadow of dramatically soaring peaks. You go to sleep to the sound of rushing water from a nearby glacial river. There’s no television, internet, or phones to disturb you. You are in synch with the rhythm of the natural world, yet only minutes from a major highway and access to all the services you need. Sound too good to be true? Welcome to Cathedral Mountain Lodge, a luxury get-away in Yoho National Park in Canada’s beautiful Kootenay Rockies.
Cathedral Mountain Lodge¸ a former mining camp located just 35 miles (about 45 minutes) from Banff, is the brainchild of Nancy Stibbard, a Canadian who also owns nearby Moraine Lake Lodge and the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver. When Nancy purchased the property in 2004, there were a few ramshackle cabins and a small gas station. Her vision includeds a modestly-sized, open beam lodge with a big stone fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows that give guests views of the towering Rocky Mountains and the pearl green glacial Kicking Horse River. The comfortable lodge is made of recycled post and beam timbers from a former grain elevator in Saskatchewan and features wide plank wood floors with antique rugs. The lodge has a large outdoor deck that overlooks the river and the imposing faces of Mount Field and Mount Stephens .
Nancy also built 31 cabins under the evergreens. They’re made from peeled logs and sport green metal roofs and wide private porches. There are three levels of cabins: Premiere, each with a large private deck, wood burning stone fireplace, queen bed, feather pillows, down duvet, and cozy sitting area. The Premier with Loft, which can accommodate four guests, also has the wood burning stone fireplace and other amenities, but features a queen and two twin beds. The Deluxe cabins are duplex cabins that feature a queen bed and a gas-fired, freestanding stove, with all the other amenities.
All the cabins are decorated in a rustic lodge style with touches like woolen pillows and throws in bear and moose prints, metal pine cone lamps, and Canadian antiques like wooden skies, fiber snow shoes, and old commercial scales. My cabin had two rattan chairs around a black iron gas stove. The tall ceilings, big windows, and ceiling fan gave even my cozy Deluxe cabin a sense of openness and spaciousness. The spectacular setting, the sound of the rushing river, and the uber comfortable mattress and bedding resulted in one of the best sleeps of my trip.
The Riverside is an excellent on-site restaurant that serves Rocky Mountain cuisine made with regional ingredients like wild salmon, rack of lamb, and Alberta beef tenderloin. In the morning, guests enjoy breakfast in the same room where dinner is served in the evenings. The room rate includes a breakfast buffet with cold cereals, juices, eggs, bacon and sausage, and toast and pastries.
Each afternoon, they offer tea and coffee with pastries and crackers and cheese. Three days a week, they also offer a wine tasting. Weather permitting, they serve evening S’mores on the deck. What could be better than eating gooey S’mores while listening to the Kicking Horse River rush by and taking in the breathtaking scenery?
Guests can travel 30 minutes to Cathedral Mountain Lodge’s sister property, Moraine Lake Lodge, and take advantage of free guided hikes and complementary canoeing.–BH