9 of the Best Wilderness Lodges in North America
Wild nights out: Discover nine amazing wilderness lodges in North America that are ideal for lovers of wildlife and the great outdoors. By William Gray
Knight Inlet Lodge
Glendale Cove, Knight Inlet, British Columbia
A floating lodge tucked into a sheltered anchorage on the forest-draped coast of British Columbia, Knight Inlet oozes remoteness and adventure. Reached by floatplane, 80km from Campbell River, the former logging camp dates from the early 1940s and offers accommodation in 18 cedar-panelled guest rooms. Crab, salmon, prawns and other delicious seafood comes fresh from Knight Inlet, while nights are spent cosying up to wood burners in the lodge’s lounge areas. It’s bears, not pampering, however, that guests come here for. Glendale Cove supports one of British Columbia’s highest concentrations of grizzly bears – up to 40 can be located within 10km of the lodge during the autumn salmon-feeding frenzy. The bears are present from late April, emerging with cubs from winter dens to feed along the estuary. Numbers drop off during mid-summer when the heavy berry crop encourages them to disperse through the forest. A combination of boat trips and viewing platforms at Knight Inlet promises some wonderful encounters. As well as bear viewing, the lodge offers boat trips to observe seals, sea lions, porpoises, dolphins, minke whales and other marine life. From July, there’s the added attraction of orcas in Johnstone Strait; humpback whales arrive in September. Jetboat tours, sea kayaking and hiking are also available.
Find out more: grizzlytours.com
Sadie Cove Wilderness Lodge
Kachemak Bay State Park, near Homer, Alaska
Operating solely on an alternative energy system of wind and hydro power, this driftwood ecolodge tiptoes on stilts over a remote beach, 16km by boat from Homer. The rustic handcrafted cabins sleep a maximum of 10 guests. You can take a sauna overlooking a rushing creek, stroll trails through old-growth forest or paddle kayaks in search of sea otters, whales and eagles. A place to relax and soak up the wilderness.
Find out more: sadiecove.com
Quirpon Lighthouse Inn
Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland
A spectacular clifftop bolt-hole on Quirpon Island at the very tip of Newfoundland, this restored 1922 lighthouse keeper’s cottage overlooks the Straits of Belle Isle where the confluence of the Gulf of St Lawrence and the North Atlantic creates a feeding ground for 22 species of cetacean. Icebergs also pass by on the Labrador Current. Reached by a 45-minute boat trip from the mainland, the 10-room heritage inn offers delicious home cooking, as well as hiking and kayaking.
Find out more: linkumtours.com
Tweedsmuir Park Lodge
Bella Coola Valley, British Columbia
Originally built as a hunting lodge in the late 1920s, this 10-chalet ecolodge now has bears and other wildlife frequently wandering across its lawns. Bordering the Atanarko River in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, Tweedsmuir is perfectly placed for observing grizzly bears feeding on salmon during the autumn. Other activities include guided forest walks, river drifts, birdwatching, fishing, heli-hiking and storytelling by First Nations Nuxalk.
Find out more: tweedsmuirparklodge.com
Cree Village Ecolodge
Moose Factory Island, near James Bay, Ontario
One of Canada’s flagship eco-friendly properties, the 20-room Cree Village combines traditional architecture of the MoCreebec people with modern environmental features, such as no-water, zero-odour composting toilets (using red wiggler worms to create organic fertiliser), natural wool carpets and efficient natural ventilation. Located between Moose River and James Bay, the community-run lodge offers nature walks, boat trips and cultural tours.
Find out more: creevillage.com
Spirit Bear Lodge
Klemtu, Princess Royal Island, British Columbia
Opened in 2011, this 12-room waterfront lodge is built in the spirit of BC’s West Coast First Nations. Inside, you’ll find Tsimshian art and solid cedar dining tables alongside modern touches like 6m-high picture windows – perfect for viewing passing orca, white-sided dolphins and sea lions. Each day, local guides lead boat trips into the Great Bear Rainforest searching for spirit bears, grizzlies and other wildlife and exploring the estuary shores on foot.
Find out more: spiritbear.com
Yosemite Lodge at the Falls
Yosemite National Park, California
Accommodation in Yosemite ranges from the upmarket Ahwahnee Hotel to the more basic High Sierra Camps (accessible only by foot or on horseback). Yosemite Lodge at the Falls is a good mid-range option, with 249 rooms, including new, prototype green rooms with eco-friendly features like recycled newspaper insulation and reduced water consumption. Numerous activities are available, from cycling, rafting and horse riding to cross-country skiing.
Find out more: yosemitepark.com
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
A stunning luxury lodge with magnificent views of the Grand Tetons, Amangani offers an exclusive, year-round wilderness escape. Wildlife safaris are available to Yellowstone National Park, and you can also go mountain biking in the Tetons, hot-air ballooning over Jackson Hole and fly-fishing on the Snake River. Amangani has 29 sensational suites, a 35m outdoor heated pool and local art and craft gallery. During winter, it’s one of North America’s top ski hotels.
Find out more: aman.com
Cathedral Mountain Lodge
Yoho National Park, British Columbia
Yoho might not be the best known national park in the Canadian Rockies, but its scenery and wildlife is just as spectacular. Opened in 2010, these stylish cabins have fireplaces and hot tubs, while the main lodge building offers fine cuisine with views of the glacier-fed Kicking Horse River. An onsite adventure specialist can recommend the best places to view wildlife, or organise activities ranging from hiking and canoeing to paragliding and climbing.
Find out more: cathedralmountain.com