Five ways to explore Pincher Creek
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Surrounded by prairies, historical sites, and the Rocky Mountains, Pincher Creek often gets left out of a traveller's itinerary. That can happen when there are so many beautiful sites nearby – like Alberta’s newest provincial park – Castle. You just have to walk around town, talk to the locals, look a little deeper, and you’ll be in the know.
I decided to take a road trip and check it out. Here are five things I discovered, like a local rodeo and a car show, places to get back to nature or just sit and enjoy a delicious ice cream, with a cupcake chaser.
1) Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village
Checking out the rare AMX classic car, just one of the many delights of the Pincher Creek Cruise and Shine Show.
Taking place one day each year in mid-June, the Pincher Creek Cruise & Shine Show attracts a cool array of incredible vehicles. Most of them are classics but there are newer models, too. One of the cars that really caught my eye was the AMC Experimental AMX. We spoke to the owner, a passionate car enthusiast who told us that this car broke 209 records in its debut back in 1968. Produced until 1970, it was the only other steel-bodied, two-seater ever produced in America aside from the Corvette of the same era. He jumped in and started the engine to demonstrate the car's power. Yep, impressed. While the cars are beautiful to look at it, it's the people and their stories that make this an event worth attending.
3) The Cowboy Show
The Pincher Creek Cowboy Show is always a hollering good time.
Did you know that this is the oldest ranch rodeo in Canada? The Cowboy Show is a small rodeo with "ranch cowboys" competing in a variety of rodeo-style events. You won’t find the same big-time rodeo as the Calgary Stampede, but that’s because these are real working ranch folks, not show-business competitors who do this as a sideline for fun. Which makes it all the more of grassroots kind of event and gives you a glimpse into the Alberta’s ranching roots. We got there in time to see the cowboys and cowgirls bucking horses, a high energy event of stamina and courage. We browsed the trade show, where local vendors and artists sell riding tack, such as harnesses, ropes, and saddles. This is truly a small-town Alberta experience and a fun way to hang with the friendly locals and learn more about Pincher Creek
4) Walking trails and wind surfing
Exploring the inner-city trails in Pincher Creek.
While more rugged nature exists not too far from Pincher Creek in Alberta’s newest park, Castle Provincial Park, there are also beautiful, easy walking trails closer to town at the Municipal Campground. We also learned that a black bear had been seen in the area that same day, proving that wildlife is never too far away in southern Alberta. For those looking for more adventure, another popular activity is windsurfing, which happens at nearby Windy Point at the Oldman Dam Provincial Recreation Area. Although Pincher Creek is one of the windiest places in Canada, we arrived on a rare windless day. We marvelled at the stunning views all around us and it gave us a reason to come back and watch the windsurfers – and maybe try it ourselves.
5) Grab an Ice Cream
After a day in the sun, it was time for a cold treat at the local favourite, Stardust Sweets & Treats. Ice cream and cupcakes are their specialties and guaranteed you’ll feel like a kid again here. Flavours range from licorice to Canadian Moose (a chocolate and peanut butter swirl combo). The ice cream was served in cardboard cars, a fitting way to celebrate the Cruise & Shine show.
We ate our ice cream out on the patio and talked with the owner about her plans to help bring more tourists into Pincher Creek, I realized this is what I love about small towns. It's so easy to talk to people, learn their story and make a connection.
If You Go
Hit the road to explore Alberta's South along Highway 3 this month and be sure to share your discoveries on social media with the hashtag #BucketlistAB and #ExploreAlberta - you could be featured on our social media channels. Check out www.BucketlistAB.ca for itineraries, stories and lots more video on Southern Albertan experiences.