Alberta

Province Code
AB

The wind is strong from the east. Our jackets flap, our hair tangles and our invisible scent carries with the wind. If it was our day for driving the buffalo over the edge of the cliff, we’d go hungry. The massive mammals would have smelled us long ago and thundered away. At Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site near Fort McLeod, you find out just how much that buffalo meant for survival for the Blackfoot Nation.

On April 29, 1903 at 4:10 a.m., 82 million tons of rock broke off Turtle Mountain’s summit and came hurtling down on the sleeping town of Frank. While the slide avoided the main part of town, at least 90 people were killed. The Frank Slide Interpretive Centre describes what life was like before, during, and after the disaster, and shares amazing tales of heroism and survival through modern, hands-on exhibits.

“We like to say that Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump and the Royal Tyrrell Museum are the battleships, and we are the Royal Yacht,” says Howard Snyder, manager of the Remington Carriage Museum with a twinkle in his eye. There is indeed a regal feeling about this grand building – at 64,000 square feet – full of carriages that have transported dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth II, Pierre Trudeau, and Ulysses S. Grant.

Nestled in the southern Canadian Rockies, the Crowsnest Pass – or fondly referred to as “The Pass,” boasts spectacular scenery, a rich coal mining history, friendly communities, and great hiking. Whether you’re just passing through and want a short hike to break up the drive, or have a weekend to bag some peaks, there is a wide range of trails in The Pass that will take your breath away. With so many hikes to choose from, I called upon local residents, Pam Drover and Heather Davis, to help select the top 5 hikes in the Crowsnest Pass.

“This is one of the tougher routes I run,” says Chris Humphries as we finish warming up. “The hills are killer, and they sneak up on you,” he says of the route that makes up Medicine Hat’s popular Conquer the Ridge half marathon.

The Cypress Hills rise 600 metres above the surrounding prairies making them the highest point between the Canadian Rockies and the East Coast. The unique mix of climate, geography, and ecosystems create a home for an extensive diversity of plants and animals. The entire area is also steeped in rich history with archeological evidence confirming human habitation as far back as 8,500 years.

Nestled in the Foothills, on the Cowboy Trail, Sundre is where you’ll find good old-fashioned Western hospitality, unlimited recreational opportunities, and best of all a break from busy, city life.

Frogs hop under fern leaves as trembling aspen whisper above. Sun filters through the high forest canopy as the breeze stirs the treetops, sight and sound combined bringing to mind a sense of shimmering.

Everybody loves the mountains, but nobody likes the long drive out to see them. If you make the trek, you’ll often find yourself among throngs of tourists, standing in queues from sunrise to sunset. It’s a beautiful landscape, but one full of selfie sticks, elbow bumping and mounting frustration.

Brian Hamilton, our captain, tells the tale of the Kinosoo, or “big fish” for which Cold Lake is named. Legend has it that a giant fish bit a Dene warrior’s canoe in two as he paddled across French Bay to see his beloved.