What to Do In the Mountains in July

Historic hikes, glacier hotels, yoga retreats and more: this is what’s happening in the mountains near Calgary in the upcoming weeks.

The Glacier View Lodge on the Icefields Parkway has undergone a full renovation. The all-inclusive overnight experience at the lodge includes an exclusive evening excursion on the Athabasca Glacier. Photo by Shelley Arnusch

Check into the newly renovated Glacier View Lodge at the Columbia Icefield

If you’ve ever been to the Glacier View Lodge on the Icefields Parkway (the stretch of highway that runs through Banff and Jasper National Parks), you’ll know the name is not just lip-service. The hotel sits directly across from the Athabasca Glacier at the Columbia Icefield, offering unparalleled views of this natural phenomenon. Glacier View Lodge relaunched this spring after an all-out renovation and the result is stunning: minimalist alpine-modern luxury with decor elements throughout distinctly inspired by glacial motifs. If you’re going to stay up there, the all-inclusive Glacier View Experience is the way to go. The experiences starts with a welcome reception with charcuterie in the guest lounge, a cozy space with a central fire feature and a huge wall of windows looking out at the glacier. Then there’s an exclusive early evening tour of the glacier (free from the afternoon bus tour crowds) followed by a three-course dinner at in-house Altitude restaurant. The next morning kicks off with a buffet breakfast followed by a private excursion to the nearby Columbia Icefield Skywalk, an architecturally impressive  viewing deck with a glass-floored walkway that juts out over the Sunwapta Valley 900 feet below. The Glacier View Lodge is open this year until Oct. 20.


Do a one-day wellness retreat in Kananaskis

Evolve Retreat Co. is a locally based organization that produces immersive single-day and multi-day wellness experiences incorporating fitness, adventure and clean-eating. The retreats are hosted in upscale venues, mostly in the foothills and mountains near Calgary, with the odd one taking place in B.C. For a taste of what Evolve is all about check out One Day to a Better Life, a single-day retreat on July 5 at the new Crosswaters Resort in Kananaskis Village. The program includes healthy meals, outdoor fitness led by trainer Tommy Europe and a session of yoga set to a live cello performance.


Sip craft spirits at Fernie Distillers

Fernie Distillers is the place to go if you want to drink craft spirits in Fernie. Launched in 2016 by the husband-and-wife team Andrew Hayden and Jillian Rutherford (Jillian runs the distilling side of the operation), the distillery, tasting lounge and patio are right in the heart of Fernie, adjacent to the R.C. Legion branch. The tasting room is a great place to hang out any time of year, but the patio is where it’s at when the weather is warm. Try a cocktail mixed with the 5th & Park Damson gin, a limited-batch spirit made with damson plums grown by local residents.


Hike to historic Twin Falls Chalet in Yoho National Park

Twin Falls Chalet is a national historic site within Yoho National Park. To reach the chalet and the nearby Twin Falls waterfall requires a hike of just over eight km (290 metres elevation gain) along the Yoho Valley Trail, starting from the Takakkaw Falls parking lot. The chalet is currently not operating as a backcountry lodge, but you can still use it as the turnaround point for a day hike. Time your visit for July 6, which is designated as this year’s Historic Places Day by the National Trust for Canada, a registered charity that seeks to preserve places of historical significance across the country.


Go for lunch at the new Cilantro Café at Emerald Lake

Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts (CRMR) has revamped the restaurant at Emerald Lake Lodge in Yoho National Park. The former Cilantro on the Lake was relaunched this spring as Cilantro Café, with a new menu of lunch items designed to appeal to day visitors to the lake. Cilantro Café is open year-round, seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with hot lunch items (burgers, panini, chili, soups, etc.) available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Hear about when trains ruled the Rockies at the Whyte Museum in Banff

Released this past spring by Rocky Mountain Books, When Trains Ruled the Rockies is author Terry Gainer’s memoir about his experiences in and around the CPR train station in Banff from 1948 to 1962. Gainer’s family arrived in Banff in 1948 when his father was transferred there as the railway’s station agent and the family lived in the residence on top of the station between 1948 and 1955. Gainer will give a talk at the Whyte Museum of the Rockies in Banff on July 11 at 7 p.m. Admission is $5 (museum members are free).


Give the Spartan Race a go at Kimberley Alpine Resort

The Spartan Race is one of those hard-core obstacle-course races that is designed to thoroughly kick your butt. You can see if you’re Spartan enough on the weekend of July 12 to 14 at Kimberley Alpine Resort in Kimberley, B.C. Things kick off Friday, with the “Sprint” category, the shortest distance (five km) containing 20 signature obstacles. From there, the races just get more intense, ranging from the “Super” (13 km, 25 obstacles) and the “Beast” (21 km, 30 obstacles) to the “Ultra” (50 km, 60 obstacles). There are also Spartan races for kids, with categories for ages four-to-eight and nine to 13.


Greet the day with Yoga and Breakfast at Lake Louise Ski Resort

Lake Louise Ski Resort is hosting three yoga and breakfast events on the patio of the mid-mountain Whitehorn Bistro this month. The Whitehorn Yoga Retreats on July 20, 26 and 31 start with a ride up the sightseeing gondola to the bistro at 6,700 feet and proceed with a 60 minute yin/restorative yoga session taught by Nikki Davidson followed by breakfast at the Bistro. The retreats are limited to 40 participants (bring your own mat). Admission is $59.95 (plus GST) or $44.95 if you have a Lake Louise season pass. Call 403-522-1316 to book.


Stop and smell the flowers at Sun Peaks Resort

Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops B.C. is hosting its Alpine Blossom Festival July 20 and 21. Sun Peaks is a bit of a drive from Calgary, but once you’re there you can park your vehicle and enjoy the walkable resort village designed in the Tyrolean style. The Alpine Blossom Festival features a variety of programming, from guided hikes, to live-music performances and family activities. Sun Peaks also has a summer concert series and will be hosting Serena Ryder on July 27.


Indulge in a five-course dinner with craft beer pairings in Canmore

If you love beer and food — but you especially love them together — head out to Canmore on Thursday, July 25, for the Summer Brewmaster Dinner hosted by the local Grizzly Paw craft brewery and its Tank310 restaurant. The meal runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and will have five courses, each paired with a Grizzly Paw beer. Tickets are $85.50, available at thegrizzlypaw.com.

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