Heather Mountain Lodge: A Canadian Rockies Retreat

Heather Mountain grounds IMG_8289

Both the U.S. and Canada have Glacier National Parks. The Canadian Glacier National Park — the second oldest park in Canada’s national park system — is high in the mountains of eastern British Columbia, between the towns of Revelstoke and Golden.

This remote and beautiful park has lots of hiking trails, from short 20-minute loops to challenging mountain adventures. Another attraction is the informative Rogers Pass Discovery Center, where you can learn about the area’s railroading history,  the construction of the Trans-Canada Highway (which runs through the park), and the difficulties of predicting and controlling avalanches in the park’s high mountain regions.

What the park doesn’t have are places to stay, unless you want to camp.

Just outside Glacier National Park’s east gate, though, is the secluded Heather Mountain Lodge, which has 22 comfortable guest rooms, two guest cabins, and a top-notch restaurant.

Here’s the scoop:

Heather Mountain guest room IMG_8252

Guest Rooms and Amenities

Started as a heli-skiing operation in 1988, the Heather Mountain Lodge was built in 1996, 33 miles (55 kilometers) west of Golden, B.C.

Most of the guest rooms are in a two-story motel-style block that, from the outside, is showing its age.

Fortunately, it’s another story inside. The modern mountain-lodge rooms have been updated with light wood furnishings, new bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, and Nespresso machines. There is no air-conditioning, but it’s unusual to need it in the mountains.

Heather Mountain view IMG_8285

And you wake up to views like this one (above).

Nearby are the prime accommodations, which I’d choose if I were traveling with someone special: two private log cabins, each outfitted with king beds, woodstoves, in-floor heating, rain showers, and deep soaker tubs.

Heather Mountain dining room IMG_8251

Dining Options

Meals in the dining room, with a high wood-beamed ceiling, stone fireplace, and large windows looking out to the mountains, are a highlight of a stay at the Heather Mountain Lodge.

The chef uses lots of wild ingredients in his creative mountain fare.

Heather Mountain appetizers IMG_8270

I had a chance to sample several excellent starters, including a feta-like housemade cheese served with pickled spruce tips, smoked duck “ham” topped with red hairy skunk currents, and crostini topped with bacon jam, fresh greens, and a fried quail’s egg. Delicious!

Heather Mountain vegetables IMG_8273
While I’m not a vegetarian, I’m always excited to find creative vegetable options, like my main dish: “The Vegetable Patch.” My plate overflowed with maple smoked beans, jicama slaw, quinoa pilaf made with preserved blueberries, fresh kale, roasted potato wedges, grilled baby leeks, and a slice of corn bread.

I only wish that I’d been traveling with several companions, so I could have tasted more dishes, like the free-range chicken brined with birch syrup and served with a wild chestnut-prosciutto stuffing, the Alberta ribeye steak paired with mashed sweet potato salad and wilted greens, or the game burger, a blend of elk, beef, and pork, topped with Brie, honey-maple BBQ sauce, and horseradish beet relish.

Save room for the pecan torte with Canadian Club whiskey sauce or the cheesecake served in a Mason jar with blueberry compote.

And then go take a hike!

Because you’re in the mountains…

The Heather Mountain Lodge is in a remote area, so don’t expect good connectivity.

While the resort nominally has free wi-fi, capacity is limited. I couldn’t connect at all in the evening, but I could get online early the next morning — perhaps when most guests were still asleep.

But that’s a minor quibble.

If you’re here on holiday, surrounded by these magnificent mountains, you should be outside anyway.

# # #

Heather Mountain Lodge is open to summer guests from mid-June through mid-September when rates start at CAD$154-185 for the guest rooms and $300/night for the cabins. The dining room serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily during the summer season. In the winter, from December through mid-April, the lodge is reserved exclusively for clients booked on heli-skiing trips. You can also make reservations through one of the booking sites such as Hotels.com or Expedia.

Hotel review by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller, author of the books, Moon Handbooks: Ontario (now available in a brand new 2nd edition) and Living Abroad in Canada. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. Heather Mountain Lodge, in conjunction with Tourism Golden, hosted my stay for review purposes.

 

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