Travelling Alberta’s Cowboy Trail
Our plans to someday travel Alberta’s Cowboy Trail finally became a reality after getting rid of some bad tires from Canadian Tire that slowed us down in our travel plans. Thankfully in Calgary they changed us out of those X Trail tires for our KO2’s and everything has been fine since then, that nightmare in a previous post.
So Yea Haw! and let’s get the Cowboy Trail covered, it’s already mid July and we have some ground to cover. The best thing about writing much later from my diary notes is one gets to view the photos and relive the four months of summer travels.
NOTE of Interest: This whole trip we did not make one campground reservation, if we had made reservations along the way our tire problem delays would have created a nightmare with those reservations. We will never fall into the trap of having to make reservations and plan our travels by the day and clock, if it comes to having to make reservations we will probably quit travelling. We had no problem finding places to stay without adding restrictions to our travel life. After spending a week visiting Charlotte’s brother and sisters and our two adult children who all unfortunately live in Calgary. I lived in Calgary for a period and Charlotte grew up in Calgary but it was smaller then, now to me it’s just carbon monoxide, cars, gravel trucks and people everywhere. Some love it, it’s just not me, it’s home to the famous Calgary Stampede. If you want to catch a real rodeo check out the ones in Bragg Creek, Sundre and many of the small communities along Highway 22. They don’t call it the Cowboy Trail for nothing. At small town rodeos one can taste the dirt sitting right next to the action and get to know the cowboys and cowgirls up close. You have probably guessed I do not like big cities, let go country.
The Cowboy Trail starts south at Cardston, Alberta and travels Highway 5 to Highway 6 near the Waterton Lakes National Park, north on 6 to, I think Lundbreck, where it becomes Highway 22 north to Longview, Alberta. We jumped on 22 at Longview so probably missed a lot in the Mountain View, Pincher Creek area. Pincher Creek Rodeo August 15 to 18th and only $15 per adult (top that Calgary) still on the bucket list.
Chris, our daughter’s partner gave us the tour heading from Calgary to Bragg Creek a very interesting area in the foothills. I’m not sure how we got from there to Highway 40 as he took a pretty much unused Forest Service road through the back country.
We hit Highway 40 in Kananaskis Country known as the Kananaskis Trail and headed south to Longview, Alberta. The Trail is 148 kms long and passes through Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and the Highwood Pass. This is Canada’s highest paved road, a beautiful side drive in the summer, as the pass is closed each year from December 1st to June 14th due to high snowfall and to protect wildlife. This was a great side trip taking us to our start point on the Cowboy Trail at Longview, a beautiful community set in the foothills of the eastern Rockies.
I will not do the Trail justice and even at that it will take several blogs to cover the little we did discover and enjoy, as we were pushing north to the Dawson Creek area after our delays. Leaving Calgary we stopped briefly in Bragg Creek to pick up supplies then on to Sundre, Alberta where we stopped for the evening. A nice campground on the outskirts along the river it cost us $35 with power for the night a little noisy from the highway but not bad.
The camper had shifted from the high side winds in southern Alberta so I took the time to jack the camper and straighten it on the truck. Some hiking included checking out the local RV dealership where we were in for a surprise. The fifth wheel units were massive including two bathrooms, fireplace and too many slide outs to count and a lot more dollars than I could count. I would hate to have that thing follow me around and find space to park it. I was very happy to get back to my cozy, go anywhere, park anywhere truck camper, one bathroom to clean. Cozy and content we called it a night. Our next stop was in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta.
We did not spend much time in Rocky Mountain House but went to nearby Rocky Mountain House Historical Site and camped there. Rocky Mountain House is a beautiful small community of approximately 6,500 residents in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Rocky Mountain House became a firmly established town by 1912. The town has a long history dating to the 18th century with the presence of British and Canadian fur traders during the westward Canadian expansion. In 1799, the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company each established the Rocky Mountain House and Acton House fur trading posts. Trade with the local aboriginal peoples continued until 1821 when the companies merged, they continued to trade until 1875 and closed the Rocky Mountain House post. The name of the settlement however remained. Were told the Post there was opened and closed seven times in its existence.
Rocky Mountain House was also a stop over for the explorers such as David Thompson even as it now is for those travelling the David Thompson Highway or Highway 11 west through the mountains to Banff National Park. Put that one on your bucket list if you like mountain driving.
The official Cowboy scenic Trail is well suited to all types of RV travel big and small. However it’s advisable to download maps to your GPS or have a hard copy as scenic routes often take you out of cellular coverage. We found some incredible scenic trails, some to explore at hopefully a later date, however just a note do some checking on road conditions. Scenic roads in Canada can be beautiful paved highways to gravel and dirt roads to forest service roads. Not all these are designed for towing long trailers or Class A and C RV’s. Roads can be windy and narrow with little pullouts as we found out. Good advise is to always check with the local residents if unsure.
Part Two coming in the next post. Images and a little of what we learned about Rocky Mountain House National Park Historical Site, a very interesting National Park for sure. then we continue our journey along the Cowboy Trail.
Thank you for giving me a reason to relive our summer and share a few images with you. Your interest and comments make it worth while and perhaps will inspire others to actually find the beauty and interesting places in these areas for themselves. If your interested in planning a trip on the Cowboy Trail you can do more checking at ExperianceTravelGuides.com/Library
It’s just all so easy in a truck camper hope to meet you down the road.
Charlotte (Editor in Chief)