LAKE LOUISE, AB - I could have gone for a bike ride. Or a hike, or fishing, or maybe even a rafting trip. But, instead, I sat in a big wooden swing by the edge of the river. I listened to the birds and I admired the bright sun glinting off the water. An hour went by. Maybe two. I didn’t have my watch with me, and I didn’t miss it.
That’s what happens when you stay at Baker Creek Mountain Resort. The folksy collection of wooden cabins — located on Highway 1A, about a 10-minute drive from the town of Lake Louise — is the sort of place where you go to get away. Literally. There are no televisions in the rooms. No phones. Hit-and-miss cellphone service. Internet access is available, but it’s via satellite, and you probably shouldn’t count on it either.
Unplug and relax
Rather, Baker Creek Chalets are where you go to turn off and unplug. You step out of the car. Smell the sweet scent of pine. Take a big stretch and relax. Instantly.
The family-owned and operated resort is open year-round and offers a collection of 19 one-bedroom and two-bedroom cabin-style chalets, plus another 16 hotel room-style lodge suites.
“Fifty percent of our guests are returning guests,” says co-owner Shannon Cavanagh, who lives on-site with her husband and two children. “It’s like one big extended family here.”
Whether you need a weekend of family bonding or an action-packed adventure getaway, Baker Creek provides an ideal home away from home. (There’s an executive conference centre if you need a work retreat, too.)
There’s certainly a lot to do in the region.
What’s happening in the area
The Lake Louise Fall Festival takes place Aug. 31 to Oct. 14 and features something for everyone: art exhibitions, guided hikes, interpretive talks, historic tours and dinners, trail rides and Thanksgiving activities. There will be yoga in the park Sept. 1, 12 and 14, and photography workshops throughout the festival, too. Stop by the Parks Canada Lake Louise Visitor Centre (in the village of Lake Louise, beside Samson Mall) or call 403-522-3833 for more information.
If you love horseback riding, Brewster Lake Louise Trail Rides is just up the road from the chalets. Rates start at $90 per person, and half-day, full-day or longer trail rides are available. Go to brewsteradventures.com for details.
Maybe white water rafting is your style. That’s where the team at Wild Water Adventures comes into the scene. Wild Water owner, Ted Bilton, describes his trips as “liquid laughter.” They offer trips for nature lovers, families, and, of course, thrill seekers.
Few do fishing as well as Big Jim Dykstra at Hawgwild Fly Fishing Guides. He’s based a little closer to Banff, but he’ll find you if you call, and he has plenty of gear, so you don’t have to pack it along. Best of all, if you don’t catch a fish, you don’t pay. (He runs fly fishing, spin fishing and even ice fishing trips, too.) Despite the recent floods in Southern Alberta, it’s business as usual for him on the Bow River.
Once you’ve caught those fish? Cook them, of course. Each Baker Creek cabin has its own fully equipped kitchen; just add a bottle of wine and a few groceries, and you have all the makings of a romantic gourmet dinner.
Perhaps you’d rather avoid the kitchen. Then mosey over to Baker Creek Bistro. The casual but charming on-site restaurant was built in 1949 and is the only original building from those early days. Here, you’ll find hearty, filling dishes: big, meaty burgers, legendary ribs, yam chips, salmon. Pair your meal with a bottle of Canadian wine, or a pint of Grumpy Bear beer from the Grizzly Paw Brewing Company, a popular regional craft brewery.
From there, it’s only a short walk back to your chalet, where you can plan the next day’s adventures.
“It really is a magical place here,” says Cavanagh. “It is a true retreat in the mountains.”
Wild Water Adventures: wildwater.com, 1-888-647-6444
Hawgwild Fly Fishing Guides: banffflyfishingguides.com, 403-760-2446
Baker Creek Mountain Resort is a member of the Charming Inns of Alberta. The dozen inns are located all around Alberta and offer a variety of experiences. At the core, they are quaint, offering a home away from home experience.
Looking for some things to do while you’re in the area? Check out the Lake Louise Fall Festival.