Wet and wild weekend in Sundre: Horseback riding, shooting rapids, golfing and eating fresh berries

Sundre Pioneer Village
Photographer
Karen Ung

Wet and wild weekend in Sundre: Horseback riding, shooting rapids, golfing and eating fresh berries

KAREN UNG

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.

It's a place where people say hello to each other on the street, and cheerfully welcome visitors. Locals are proud of where they live and happy to share their favourite spots for wild strawberries, wild horses, good eats, and adventures. There's more than meets the eye in this small, but vibrant frontier town. From exploring a Pioneer Village and playing world-class golf, to horseback riding and white-water rafting, you can do it all in one weekend - in Sundre.

Take a page from our journal and be inspired to #ExploreSundre.

#ExploreSundre this season. Plan your adventure...

DAY 1 – Explore Sundre

Little Country Cappuccino
Photographer
Karen Ung

9:30 a.m. - Little Country Cappuccino

“Another batch of cinnamon buns will be ready in 20 minutes,” Valerie tells us. We make do with the last two because they’re pretty big.

10 a.m. - Sundre Museum, Pioneer Village, and World of Wildlife

The Sundre Museum and Pioneer Village whisks us back to the early 1900s with interesting exhibits, displays, and original buildings. Jaime Marr, executive director, shows us around and asks the girls if they can find two bells to ring in the village. It's a fun treasure hunt and keeps them engaged as we explore each building.

At the World of Wildlife, we go on a safari around the world with summer student Kayleigh Wolfe, learn what a hunting “Grand Slam” is, feel furs, and search for rare replicas in the amazing collection of 170-plus trophy bird and animal mounts.

Kodiak BBQ Sundre
Photographer
Karen Ung

12 p.m. - Kodiak BBQ & Deli

Ribs will never be the same after Kodiak's famous apple wood-smoked barbequed ribs. We indulge in Death by Chocolate after (Sherry’s recommendation) and love it.

Sundre Golf Club
Photographer
Karen Ung

1:30 p.m. - Sundre Golf Club

As we get into our carts, we admire the immaculate, tree-lined fairways. It's easy to see why many of the club's members stay in Sundre all summer to play golf. The course offers challenging, world-class play (6,778 yard, Par 72 design) at a reasonable price. Fun fact: The 2017 Alberta Open was held here in June.

Snake Hill Sundre
Photographer
Karen Ung

4 p.m. - Snake Hill Recreation Area

After fun on the front 9, we head to Snake Hill for a peaceful urban hike through towering aspens.

5 p.m. - Check in to Best Western Plus Mountainview Inn & Suites

Our home away from home is a luxurious, spacious suite with pillowtop beds, workstation, and sitting area.

Sundre Golf Club
Photographer
Karen Ung

5:30 p.m. - Sundre Golf Club Clubhouse

Dinner finds us at The Clubhouse for great views, food, and service. The servers know the regulars by name and make everyone, including us, feel at home.

7 p.m. - Swimming at Mountainview Inn & Suites

A swim and soak in the hot tub rejuvenate us after a day of exploring and playing outside.

DAY 2 – White-water rafting or horseback riding west of Sundre

8:30 a.m. - Breakfast at Mountainview Inn & Suites.

The delicious hot breakfast is just what we need for the busy day ahead.

9:30 a.m. - Drive to Mukwah Rafting/Sunset Guiding and look for wild horses

We see two herds of majestic wild horses along Highway 40 and later learn over 600 wild horses live there (Source).

OPTION A

10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. - Mukwah Rafting: “Full Jaunty” half-day white-water rafting trip

Alan, our guide, hollers “Forward 3!” and nine paddles cut through the water three times. We're heading into Nationals, a long run of Class 3 rapids that is Alan's favourite. “More rapids!” Emi screams joyfully from the front of the raft. My daughters Emi, 6, and Miya, 8 grin from ear to ear as they're bounced in the air and splashed.

You'd think they've done this before, but it's their first time white-water rafting. They've had a couple hours to ease into the bigger stuff and are loving every second. Earlier, Miya and I did some cliff jumping. It's been an amazing day of firsts that we will never forget!

Sunset Guiding Sundre
Photographer
Karen Ung

OPTION B

10 a.m. – Noon - Sunset Guiding & Outfitters: Two-hour trail ride (longer rides available)

It’s the girls’ first time riding big horses, instead of ponies. Miya is on Noodles and Emi is on Kitty - and they’re excited. As we ride through open meadows and forest to Kline Lake, Emi turns around and waves “Hi Mama! Look at me!” countless times. She’s so happy, she’s forgotten to be shy around the family riding with us.

Five-year-old Miah is the youngest in our party, also riding for the first time. She’s dreamed of this day for years, and rides like a boss, giving a little whoop as her horse trots to catch up with the others. Her mom, Darcie, keeps telling her to hold on, but she's not afraid. It says a lot about Miah and how gentle her horse is.

Along the way, our guides Merle and Larry, point out wildlife and tell us about the wild horses in the area. (On longer tours, you can ride out to see them.) Between the scenery and conversations, the trail ride is a wonderful experience for the whole family and we look forward to doing it again soon.

12:30 p.m. - Lunch at Sunset Cafe

Peggy’s homemade hamburgers on freshly baked buns and super thick milkshakes are a must-have if you’re staying on Panther Road!

2 p.m. - Relaxing at Panther River Retreat, Sunset Guiding

This afternoon is all about playing in the water, reading, and picking wild strawberries.

Where to Stay

Mukwah Rafting has treed campsites and rustic double-occupancy cabins (bring your own bedding). Enjoy hot showers, riverside sauna, fire pits and volleyball court. 45 minutes from Sundre.

Sunset Guiding's Panther River Retreat offers cozy log cabins (sleep 2-4) with power, beds and bedding, and a small fridge, and RV sites with power and water. Onsite amenities include a cafe, gift shop, hot showers, and riverside fire pit/picnic area. 50 minutes from Sundre.

Tall Timber Leisure Park
Photographer
Karen Ung

Tall Timber Leisure Park RV is a large, well maintained RV park in Sundre, minutes from shopping and dining. It boasts large, treed lots; a pool and whirlpool; owner's lounge; convenience store; two playgrounds; and campground with full hookups.

Best Western Mountainview Inn & Suites - Our home away from home is a luxurious, spacious suite with pillowtop beds, workstation, and sitting area.

Getting there

Sundre is just 90 minutes north-west of Calgary, on the scenic Cowboy Trail.

For more information about Sundre, head to their official tourism website.

For more on all the adventures in Alberta, search #ExploreAlberta 

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