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Saddle up or jump in your car and hit the Cowboy Trail

Something for everyone on Alberta's Highway 22
The Cowboy Trail is 700 kilometre stretch on Highway 22 between the Rocky Mountains and the vast Canadian prairie. PHOTO: Stock image/Metro Creative Connection

There are still a few weeks of summer left and that means you have time to hit the open trail! The Cowboy Trail, a 700 kilometre stretch on Highway 22 between the Rocky Mountains and the vast Canadian prairie, whisks you away on a wild west adventure. From activities to dining and everything in between, there is something for everyone on the Cowboy Trail.

Book a trail ride

There are several outfitters on the Cowboy Trail that can saddle you up for a guided horseback ride. Historic Reesor Ranch offers horseback adventures in addition to walking tours, guided ATV tours, cattle drives and delicious ranch house meals. Moose Mountain Horseback Adventures offers day rides and pack trips with well-conditioned horses for experienced and novice riders. These are just two of the many outfitters and trail ride companies you’ll find on the Trail. Check them out to find the one that suits your family or group and enjoy some time under the open skies.

Visit an attraction – or five

Whether you are a couple travelling, a family with kids, doing a solo trip, or someone who prefers to spend time in museums and historic locations, there are attractions along the trail for you.

One such attraction is the Sundre & District Museum Featuring the Pioneer Village and World of Wildlife. Open year-round, here is where you’ll see how the area’s early pioneers lived, and the communities that still influence life in Sundre today. The museum features eight heritage buildings, a gallery with changing displays, and a wildlife exhibit with more than 170 mounted animals from around the world.

Are you an art lover? Then stop in at the Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond where the work of nearly 200 artisans are on display. In addition to fine art in a variety of mediums, you can purchase cards and local books. Bluerock is proof that you don’t need to be in a major urban centre to experience one of the finest art galleries in the province.

Tuck into a meal

One of the best features of any trip is the food, and The Cowboy Trail does not disappoint.

Take your taste buds on an adventure with Marv’s Classic Soda Shop and Diner. This 1940s inspired gem features traditional ice cream treats from Canada’s only operating soda shop. You’ll love the homestyle burgers and home-cut fries, choose from more than 150 varieties of bottled or tinned soda, and dance along to the '40s hits that play in the background. Don’t leave without a trip to the on-site nostalgic candy store!

It’s fun to go back in time, but if your taste buds want something a little more modern, the Oldman River Brewing taproom is open and serving up “good, honest beer.” This family run craft brewery provides craft beer and local nibbles to help complete your experience in southwest Alberta. It’s an easy stop in Lundbreck when you are on your way to the ski hills during winter, and a must-stop destination for anyone travelling the Cowboy Trail.

More to explore

These are just a few things you’ll do, see, and experience when you hit the Cowboy Trail. There truly is something for everyone on this special stretch of highway. When you’re not in a museum, horseback riding, or dining out, you’ll be falling in love with the scenery, the wildlife, and flora and the fauna along this iconic trail. Summer isn’t over yet, so get out and enjoy this Alberta gem. The open skies, and the winding trail, are calling your name.

Nerissa McNaughton is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Great West Newspapers. This story was funded by the Facebook Journalism Project Supporting Local News Coverage of COVID-19 Program via the Local Media Foundation.

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