Grow Your Glow In These Southeast Alberta Hot Spots
As the sun dipped below the western horizon, the cloud-streaked sky turned crimson red. And as I sat on a fire-red boulder, a concretion, to be exact – to soak it all in. The summer heat, the energy, at Red Rock Coulee was coming to a close. But, thankfully, my awesome adventures in and around Medicine Hat were far from over.
In this southeast corner of Alberta, there is a unique feel to the prairie energy for everyone who visits. The prairie, golden fields and Red Rock Coulee, meld into endless skies, peppered with parks and picnic spots for locals and visitors. Outdoor enthusiasts will find a wide range of activities to enjoy and a variety of destinations in this region. Here's a roundup of my favourite spots.
Running in the Red Rock Coulee.
With such a strong array of destinations within the region, the road trip options list is long and to save on gas for a growing number of travellers, electric vehicles are an option. That’s why the City of Medicine Hat and Medicine Hat College have joined the Peaks to Prairies Initiative, stringing together a series of charging stations along Highway 3, connecting Medicine Hat to Crownest Pass and back to Calgary. This makes it so easy to explore.
Biking in Cypress Hills, Elkwater.
Forty-five minutes southeast of Medicine Hat the Cypress Hills rise to the highest point in Canada between the Rockies and Labrador. Here lies the community of Elkwater within the countries only interprovincial park. Pine-coated slopes tumble down to a beautiful prairie lake where a tidy boardwalk rims the shore. Biking (there are bike rentals available at the marina and at the Visitor's Centre) and a stay in their comfort camping cabins are popular activities at this little lakeside tourist town of Elkwater in Cypress Hills InterProvincial Park.
Biking at Redcliff.
Closer to Medicine Hat the incredible mountain biking trails at Redcliff, a community right on The Hat's doorstep, I made a very cool discovery. Could this be Little Moab? The sun-scorched coulees and desert-like terrain gave these tucked-away trails a definite “Utah” flavour. It was badlands riding at its best. (“Death Valley,” which slips and slides through an arid ravine, gets the nod as my favourite trail in this area.)
Driving in an electric vehicle at Echo Dale Regional Park.
Another favourite stop - because it's so peaceful - was Echo Dale Regional Park. Don't tell anyone, but this just might be the best picnic spot in Alberta, complete with a lake for swimming or SUP-ing on a hot day or trying to catch a rainbow trout in the stocked lake. Though just 10 minutes from Medicine Hat, you'll feel like you're a long ways away.
The bridge at Sandy Point Park.
Sandy Point Park, is also a haven for travellers and campers seeking complete solitude along the banks of the South Saskatchewan River. If you choose Sandy Point Park, it's also a great fishing destination, located approximately 100 kilometres north of Medicine Hat on Highway 41. Along the way, you'll encounter mile after mile of rolling, unspoiled prairie where the red-tailed hawks outnumber farmers by a five-to-one count. Or thereabouts!
Pinto McBean, Bow Island’s monument to the harvest.
Racking up the miles can leave you needing to power up, so here’s a spot to quench the thirst - Highway 3’s Bow Island, only 40 minutes from Medicine Hat. This agricultural hot spot has what you need with a frosty milkshake and a selfie with Pinto McBean, the region’s monument to the bounty of the harvest. Among many other "agri-trophies," Bow Island takes gold as Canada’s top spearmint producing community. Dale Thacker and his team at www.MintFarm.ca in town invite you for a farm tour, give them a heads up about when you’ll make it for a unique connection to the land.
It was easy to fill up our two-day trip, from sunup to sundown, just exploring to our heart's content. And, yes, at the end of the day our energy was all but zapped and with great reason. With our basecamp at Medicine Hat, with its collection of dining, craft beer and entertainment options, we were fueled up perfectly - and to do it all over again the next day.
When You Go
Uncover all of the above #MedHat experiences to be had in and around one of Canada’s sunniest cities. Share what you find while travelling using #MedHat and #BucketlistAB you could be featured on our social media channels.
Book now and go, www.TourismMedicineHat.com
#MedHat is investing in alternative transportation through some innovative ways. Hop on the Medicine Hat Sunshine Trolley and/or take them up on their free bike rental offer to explore 115 kms of trails. Find out more.
ZenSeekers, Medicine Hat Tourism and Travel Alberta have partnered to bring you the #BucketlistAB expedition - explore now.
Hit the road to explore Alberta's southern region 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.