ON: Pinery Provincial Park Yurts (pictured)
By Day:Some of southern Ontario’s best and most consistent track-set cross-country skiing can be found among this park’s 38 km of trails. Nature lovers will also want to wander the packed paths through the rare oak savanna ecosystem, home to many over-wintering songbirds. Check with the park to see if a guided hike is on the agenda; Pinery has one of Ontario’s few year-round park interpretive programs.
By Night: Stay snug and warm from the north wind blowing off Lake Huron in one of the park’s yurts. The circular, canvas-walled structures are heated and electrified with bunk beds and a barbecue.
Directions: Due east of Toronto, on the south shore of Lake Huron, an hour northwest of London.
Beta: $86 per night; pinerypark.on.ca
AB: Storm Mountain Lodge
By Day: Midway between Lake Louise and Banff, and on the edge of Kootenay National Park, Storm Mountain is a unique base for exploring the mountain parks, whether skiing at the resorts or exploring the backcountry.
By Night: High above the valley, across from Castle Mountain’s ramparts and the dramatic north face of Storm Mountain, plan to spend a lot of time staring out the window. Dating back to the 1920s, the dark-stained log cabins and main lodge ooze comfort, from the roaring fireplaces, to the antique furnishings, to the from-scratch meals.
Directions: Located just off Highway 93 South, the Banff-Windermere Highway, 25 minutes west of Banff and about two hours west of Calgary.
Beta: from $169 per night; stormmountainlodge.com
QC: Refuge des Falaises
By Day: Spread through the Vallée Bras-du-Nord, a chunk of protected Laurentian Mountains north of Quebec City, are eight backcountry log cabins joined by 70 km of snowshoe trails. While linking a few huts together is an option, the Des Falaises Cabin makes an ideal base. Even just the strenuous, six-kilometre snowshoe to the cabin from the parking lot passes numerous viewpoints overlooking rolling, forested hills. From the cabin, venture deeper into the park to summit lookouts and see beaver ponds, snowy forests and frozen waterfalls.
By Night: Its name (falaises means “cliff”) hints at the expansive views from the deck, including across the valley to Delaney Falls. Sitting at 600 metres of elevation, 450 metres above the valley floor, the beautiful wood cabin feels wild and remote, especially as the setting sun streams right in the front door. Inside, there’s a wood-burning stove, a simple kitchen and room for eight to sleep upstairs.
Directions: Located just outside the town of Saint-Raymond, 45 minutes northwest of Quebec City.
Beta: $28 per person/night; valleebrasdunord.com
Keep posted — more great lodges posted weekly!
This article originally appeared in our Winter 2013 issue.