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The Short Version: Couples often visit Emerald Lake Lodge for a memorable weekend getaway, but it’s also a picturesque proposal destination and wedding location. The historic property is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia, Canada, and features a sparkling lake that is emerald green during the summer. The quiet, family-owned resort also has restaurants that offer true Rocky Mountain flair and extensive wine lists. For its popularity with couples, no matter the season, we recognize Emerald Lake Lodge with our Editor’s Choice Award.
To get an idea of just how romantic Emerald Lake Lodge is, you need to look no further than its own staff.
A few months ago, the Lodge’s Director of Public Relations was enjoying the winter at Emerald Lake. She and her boyfriend were taking an afternoon cross-country skiing trip across the property’s frozen lake. That’s one of the more popular winter activities for the lodge, which is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia, Canada. They were bundled up and enjoying the day when she got a surprise of a lifetime: He popped the question.
Everyone who worked at the family-owned lodge was excited for her, but it was even more exciting when the pair decided they would get married on the property. Emerald Lake Lodge allows couples to rent out the entire resort for their big day, which is just what they did.
“It was a really good testament to how wonderful the lodge is. I don’t know how many people want to get married at the place where they work,” said Caitlyn Murphy, the Marketing Manager for Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts, which owns Emerald Lake Lodge. “Everyone is so invested in this property and the spaces we all love. The lodge is really special to all of us.”
Indeed, Emerald Lake Lodge is special for countless couples who fill up its rooms on romantic getaways throughout the year. It’s also a popular spot for couples to get engaged — Caitlyn told us proposals happen every week. That’s because the property’s natural beauty provides one of the most scenic backdrops in British Columbia.
“Emerald Lake Lodge is such a magical place, and it’s getting even more popular because it’s really such a beautiful destination,” she said. “We have so many guests who come to see the lake. I’m from Eastern Canada, so I had never seen a lake that color. The first time I saw it I was absolutely floored. I had never seen anything so beautiful.”
That beauty can perfectly complement a romance — whether budding or well-established. That’s why Emerald Lake Lodge has earned our Editor’s Choice Award as a perfect setting for a getaway or wedding.
Emerald Lake Lodge was built in the early 1900s, so it’s one of the most historic properties in the region. The O’Connor family purchased the site in the 1980s and formed Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts, which now has two other properties in the Rockies. They include Buffalo Mountain Lodge in Banff and Deer Lodge in Lake Louise. Emerald Lake Lodge is located in Field, a tiny community (population 169) in the Kicking Horse River valley, within the confines of Yoho National Park.
“This is just one of the properties we have, but one of the most popular in terms of occupancy and business. It’s really wonderful working for a family company,” Caitlyn said. “It’s a very scenic property, and the family is all about the Rocky Mountain culture, and that fits in with their lifestyle.”
Today, the Emerald Lake Lodge team is made up of people who love living in the Rocky Mountains. “The owners are all about boutique accommodations, world-class dining, and offering an extensive wine menu,” Caitlyn told us. “They want people to come and work at the property, but they also want those people to enjoy the area and the lifestyle.”
The resort, which has 85 guest rooms, is usually fully booked from mid-May until the middle of September. The peak summer season is the most popular as the lake is a brilliant emerald color. Winter is also very popular, with all the outdoor activities couples can enjoy on the frozen lake.
However, Caitlyn has a different favorite season at the lodge.
“I personally love the property in the fall, when all the leaves are changing colors, and the lake is an emerald blue because it isn’t frozen yet,” she said. “It’s also more affordable because it’s definitely not as busy, so I would recommend that season. The fall is where it’s at — I’m telling you.”
One thing Emerald Lake Lodge takes seriously is its wine list, which offers more than 400 local and international options. Its selection even received a gold medal at the Vancouver International Wine Festival. Couples are sure to find something memorable when dining at one of the lodge’s restaurants, including the Mount Burgess Dining Room and Kicking Horse Lounge.
The menus are full of “Rocky Mountain Cuisine” and feature local vegetables, game meats, and sustainably sourced seafood. Many meals are inspired by dishes from the Victorian age as well as from delicacies a mountain guide might cook while leading a group on an adventure.
The family that owns the property also runs Canadian Rocky Mountain Ranch, which is located about 30 minutes southwest of Calgary. There, they raise bison and elk, both of which are served at the lodge.
The lodge recently opened Cilantro Café, which is situated right on the lake, as a more casual option for guests who want a delicious meal between adventures.
“We have the fine dining and lounge in the main lodge, but we wanted to provide an option for day visitors, guests who want something quicker on the way out, or those who just desired a more casual patio option,” Caitlyn said. “It’s a great place to have a quick lunch on a beautiful patio and grab a drink or meal with that special someone. And you can sit and enjoy the mountains and natural beauty because it’s such a scenic spot. We’re very excited about that.”
Emerald Lake Lodge is an idyllic setting for romantic vacations as well as weddings. Like the lodge’s Director of Public Relations, many couples rent out the entire property so they can be surrounded by friends and family during their special day.
The option is called “Rent Your Own Island,” and it can accommodate around 100 guests, creating an intimate atmosphere for a romantic ceremony.
In addition, the lodge offers couples a package called “Gourmet Getaway,” which includes a three-course dinner, breakfast for two, and a one-night stay.
“Emerald Lake is very popular with couples, and they travel there for proposals on a weekly basis. The property and the lake are just so beautiful and it’s perfect for date nights or weekend trips,” Caitlyn said. “It’s also really great if you want to elope because it’s such a quiet destination. Or if you want a really big shindig wedding, it’s perfect as well.”
It’s smart to book well in advance, as the lodge is often filled with guests who travel internationally from Asia and Europe in the summers and locals looking for romance during other times of the year.
“Emerald Lake gets attention on social media, and the photos that people take are absolutely stunning,” Caitlyn told us. “So, the folks that go there for date night, to pop the question, or for an elopement, the memories they are making are like no other.”
Cover image by Erik McRitchie