Canada is a very popular tourist country with a great environment, wonderful people and certainly enough room for everyone. If you decide to head west, and spend time exploring Alberta, you’ll find beautiful landscapes and peaceful surroundings everywhere you go! Western Canada inspired my photography career, as well as my full-colour fine art photography book A View To Take Home. One reviewer said: “A must-have for anyone who loves Western Canada – this book contains many stunning views you’ll want to take home.”
My photography however comes with an invitation. It’s to see all the beautiful things this world has to offer with your own eyes. Whether you’re an Alberta local looking for a weekend getaway, or travelling from further away on your Canadian “trip of a lifetime”, I want to share some of the best kept secrets in terms of places to stay while visiting this province. If you have the time, I recommend renting a car and planning a road trip visiting at least several of these places. Along the way you’ll have incredible opportunities for sightseeing and improving your photography skills. Consider joining my travel photography workshop before you leave!
You’ll find this lodge further south in Alberta, near Medicine Hat. Located in Elkwater, Elkwater Lake Lodge is in a provincial park and minutes from Elkwater Marina and Elkwater Visitors Centre. This resort is within close proximity of Hidden Valley Ski Resort.
Set at the foot of Lady McDonald mountain, this luxury country inn offers an outdoor hot tub and an optional 3-course breakfast prepared from local seasonal produce (with surcharge). Surrounded by 6 mountain ranges, A Bear and Bison Country Inn is just 5 km from Banff National Park. All rooms have a fireplace and mountain view from either a balcony or a patio. Many rooms have an in-room spa bath. It is a 45 minute drive to Lake Louise.
When you stay at The Georgetown Inn in Canmore, you’ll be in a provincial park and convenient to Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre and Canmore Golf and Curling Club. This romantic inn is within close proximity of Silvertip Golf Course and Cross Zee Ranch.
Offering a restaurant and bar on site, Mount Engadine Lodge is located in Spray Valley Provincial Park in Kananaskis. This is a remote lodge. Scenic views of the mountains are all around and come standard with most rooms. Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner are included, with most meals being family style. The Lodge can be accessed via car or helicopter and is located just 13 minutes away from Spray Lakes Reservoir. Canmore city centre is 38 km from the property. Calgary International Airport is 2 hours away.
Don’t miss visiting Bragg Creek. It’s a beautiful town with a lot of personality, and just a short detour outside of Calgary. Bragg Creek is located a little further south in the Rocky Mountains in Alberta Canada. It must be by far one of Alberta’s best kept secrets. From it’s scenic beauty to it’s one of a kind shops and restaurants, Bragg Creek has something for everyone. The Craftsman House in Bragg Creek features accommodation with barbecue facilities. Among the various facilities are a garden, a terrace, as well as a shared lounge. Guest rooms provide access to two shared bathrooms on the upstairs and main floor.
Located in Drumheller, Heartwood Inn and Spa is minutes from Drumheller Reptile World and Jurassic Laser Tag & Arcades. This inn is within close proximity of Valley Doll Museum and Low Left Indoor Golf Experience.
Featuring an on-site gourmet restaurant and lounge, this Banff hotel is located 10 minutes’ drive from Mount Norquay Ski Resort and boasts panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains. The restaurant features local produce and a varied menu including braised bison and salmon. Downtown Banff as well as the Banff Hot Springs are both about 8 minutes’ drive from this hotel.
This rustic Alberta resort is located about 13 km from Rocky Mountain House. All cottages offer easy access to fishing, hiking and boating. Outdoor fire pits are perfect for roasting hot dogs and telling stories. Cow Lake Natural Area is 8.5 km from this resort. Canyon Creek Golf Course is 20 minutes’ drive away.
Offering an on-site restaurant and lounge with a summer patio, this hotel is 50 km from the Jasper town site and right next to Jasper National Park. Many rooms include a gas fireplace. To offer a full mountain experience, the peaceful guest rooms do not include TV or telephone. The Miette Hot Springs are 24 kilometers away. The Columbia Icefields are 1.5 hour’s drive away.
Last on my list, but not least – at all. This is a true charmer. The Baker Creek resort is close to the Lake Louise Gondola and Lake Louise Ski Resort. The attention to detail is impeccable in each of the 35 guestrooms. Most feature fireplaces. I prefer to stay in one of the cabins instead of the main lodge.
Just to be clear: I’ve stayed at most of these properties and make these recommendations from my experience. Things may change as time passes. If you have any updated experiences, please share them in the comments below.
Images courtesy of the respective hotels and Creative Windmill Photography.