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After a summer of limited travel, we all seem to be jonesing for a getaway. Even a short weekend out of town can satiate that need to escape, and the Canadian Rockies are stunning in the fall, with leaves changing colour against mountain peaks freshly dusted with snow, and waterfalls not yet frozen. This quieter shoulder season provides a perfect opportunity to sneak away and decompress. Here are a few spots you may not have considered, places off the beaten path, with uncrowded lodging options and driving routes past backdrops as stunning as the destinations themselves.

Jasper

The town of Jasper is known as the cabin capital of Canada, with 438 individual cabins to rent, ranging from rustic to luxurious enough to house British royalty.Corey Stovin/Handout

Though Jasper is often thought of as Edmonton’s getaway destination, the drive up Highway 93, from Highway 1 – the route from Calgary – is one of the most scenic in the world. Also known as the Icefields Parkway, the road winds past more than 100 ancient glaciers, turquoise lakes and mountain meadows.

The town of Jasper is known as the cabin capital of Canada, with 438 individual cabins to rent, ranging from rustic to luxurious enough to house British royalty. Expect to cross paths with some resident caribou while you’re in the area.

Where to stay

Cabins are ideal no matter the size of your group, and are fun with friends or extended family – each cohort can get their own, with plenty of space to socialize outdoors. Many have kitchens inside, and fire pits and barbecues outside to cook and dine al fresco. Try the luxe cabins Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge (fairmont.com/jasper) or more casual Bear Hill Lodge and Overlander Mountain Lodge, all open year-round.

Where to eat

The Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen is a rustic-modern eatery with a huge patio alongside the Athabasca River as it heads into the spectacular canyon. The meat-heavy menu features plenty of traditional barbecue and game meats, all designed for sharing. In town, pop into Andromeda Coffee for excellent coffee and made-from-scratch baked goods, and the iconic Patricia Street Deli for fantastic sandwiches, homemade butter tarts and soft caramels (made from the owner’s mother’s recipe).

What to do

Jasper is home to the second-largest dark sky preserve in the world; this winter, the Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen offers Stargazers Dinners – three-course meals followed by guided views of the stars with astronomical guides from Jasper Planetarium, and some of the largest telescopes in the Rockies.

When temperatures drop, safely explore a maze of natural ice sculptures, caves, fossils and towering frozen waterfalls stretching over 30 metres up the walls of Maligne Canyon from the frozen canyon floor.

Yoho (Field, B.C.)

On the edge of a brilliant green lake, Emerald Lake Lodge is a much-loved collection of individual and multi-unit cabins.Scott Bennie/iStockPhoto / Getty Images

With some of the biggest ice fields and highest peaks in the Rockies, Yoho National Park sits between Banff National Park and the Kootenays. Fittingly, Yoho is a Cree expression of amazement or awe, and this scenery delivers. At its centre, the tiny community of Field (population: under 200) began in the 1880s as a tent settlement to house workers on the Canadian Pacific Railway; it’s now a hidden gem for anyone seeking an uncrowded escape to the Rockies.

Where to stay

On the edge of a brilliant green lake, Emerald Lake Lodge is a much-loved collection of individual and multi-unit cabins. With wood-burning fireplaces, limited WiFi (only in the lodge) and no TVs, it’s a great place to unplug. In the town of Field, Truffle Pigs Bistro & Lodge has 12 cozy rooms, and there’s the option to rent the whole “pigpen” with a group of family or friends.

Where to eat

Truffle Pigs Bistro in Field has been a sought-out culinary destination for decades. With a rustic dining room and heated patio, its lunch and dinner menus are built on Alberta ingredients, and you’re fine showing up in hiking gear. There’s also a nice lineup of beer, wine and spirits. Cilantro Café at Emerald Lake Lodge has a grab-and-go window and a patio surrounded by some of the world’s most gorgeous scenery; the casual menu features game meats raised on their own Canadian Rocky Mountain Ranch. For a finer dining experience, walk up the path to the lodge dining room, which has a pool table and games area above.

What to do

Walk the easy five-kilometre trail around picturesque Emerald Lake, or take one of the sleigh rides the lodge offers between November and March. Check out the natural bridge – a rock formation over the Kicking Horse River where waters from the Field valley flats flow through a canyon to the Amiskwi River.

Golden, B.C.

At Golden Skybridge, Canada’s highest suspension bridges span a breathtaking canyon in the Columbia Valley, 426 feet above a winding river and 200-foot waterfall.Chris Amat /Golden Skybridge by Pursuit

Golden is often thought of as a gas and coffee stop en route to the Okanagan, but at the centre of six stunning national parks, it provides a perfect base to explore mountains, lakes, trails and falls.

Where to stay

Sleep in the woods without the effort of setting up camp, or having to sleep on the ground, at Camp Moose Trail in the majestic Purcell Mountains. The private tents are equipped with queen beds, proper linens and wood stoves for maximum coziness.

Where to eat

Reposados serves up Mexican-inspired tacos on its own homemade corn tortillas, with plenty of plant-based options: Pulled jackfruit, grilled broccolini and crispy cauliflower, and battered avocado with cashew cheese.

What to do

At Golden Skybridge, Canada’s highest suspension bridges span a breathtaking canyon in the Columbia Valley, 426 feet above a winding river and 200-foot waterfall. Cross the first, then wander down the canyon to cross back on the second. There are six panoramic viewing platforms, three kilometres of forest paths, a 1,500-foot zipline, and in the works, a bungee swing. If you have kids in tow, let them loose at the treetop village play park while you grab a snack. The Golden Skybridge operates from May through October.

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