Connect Indigenous history, adventure on the land in Rocky Mountain House
Rocky Mountain House region is home to Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, a stunning golf course, a beautiful provincial park and much more.
Rocky Mountain House, AB - “Lead the way,” my husband Greg said as we hopped on our bikes at Crimson Lake Provincial Park. We had been to Crimson Lake before, but we had never explored it on bikes and I had always wanted to. The Amerada Trail was calling my name. The gently rolling 10-kilmotre gravel trail hugs the shoreline and passes all the best beaches.
Rocky Mountain House makes a great getaway for couples and families, long into the fall season. Surrounded by lakes, a beautiful river, and old growth forest, and home to Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site (where you can camp overnight in a tipi), the area is naturally beautiful and has many wonderful attractions.
A Rocky Mountain House Outdoor Fun Itinerary
Less than an hour drive west of Red Deer, Rocky Mountain House makes a fantastic escape to nature and a great place to experience small town hospitality. Here’s a three-day itinerary to help you make the most of your visit to this special community.
Morning Day 1: Golf and Lunch at Pine Hills Golf Club
Pine Hills Golf Club was my first round of the year, so we decided to book a lesson before we played this beautiful 18-hole course. Our instructor, Graham was fantastic. I was much more confident as I stepped up to the tee off box at the first hole.
The golf course was challenging and beautifully maintained. The terrain is rolling and the greens and fairways are surrounded by large tamarack pines. After our round, we dined at Restaurant 19, which has delicious food and a great outdoor patio that overlooks the course.
Evening, Day 1: Enjoy local craft
For a taste of some great locally made brews, head to Rival Trade Brewing and enjoy great craft beer made with local ingredients and named for famous people in Rocky Mountain House’s history.
Day 2: Explore the Fur Trade at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site
Spend the second day immersing yourself in the fur trade. Between 1799 and 1875, fur trading forts sat on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River near Rocky Mountain House. Two rival companies competed to trade with First Nations and Métis People. Today, Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site is operated by Parks Canada.
You can visit a historic fur trading fort, see artifacts, explore interactive exhibits, see a bison herd, explore a blacksmith shop, hike interpretive trails and much more at this site. When we stopped at the Métis camp, a costumed interpreter talked about the different kinds of furs that were historically found in this part of Alberta.
“Do you know what this fur is?” he asked as he held up a small dark brown pelt. I guessed it was a mink and my husband guessed it was an otter. My husband was right. “Otter fur is very waterproof and historically Indigenous People used this type of fur for coats and gloves that could be worn in wetter weather.” He talked about the fur trade and Indigenous culture and it was fascinating.
We enjoyed exploring the onsite interpretive centre, walking the trails and finding the Parks Canada red chairs, exploring the archeological sites of the former forts, climbing the bison lookout for an expansive view of the site, and relaxing on the deck of a cabin that overlooks the North Saskatchewan River.
If you’re looking for unique overnight accommodations in Rocky Mountain House, there are fully equipped cabins, trapper’s tents, and tipis at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site. The accommodations come with a Fur Trade Camp Kit which includes a bison hide, period cooking kit and utensils, blow tube and flint/steel fire-starting kit, bannock mix, trapper’s tea, spices, oil, and soap.
Day 3: Cycling or Hiking at Crimson Lake Provincial Park
Spend all of your third day exploring Crimson Lake Provincial Park. There are eight trails in the park including the Amerada Trail along the shoreline. There’s also a wheelchair and stroller accessible boardwalk at the Twin Lakes Day Use Area.
Crimson Lake is a popular place for swimming, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and boating. It’s also a great place to spot birds. We saw a pileated woodpecker in a tree near the trail.
There’s so much to see in Rocky Mountain House that you may be pressed to see and do everything in three days. If you decide to stay longer, there are lovely campgrounds at Crimson Lake Provincial Park.
When You Go
Rocky Mountain House is 82 kilometres west of Red Deer on Highway 11 and Highway 22.
Here are links to some of the experiences you’ll want to catch:
Book your tee time online at Pine Hills Golf Club.
Taste the local craft beer at Rival Trade Brewing
Make a visit to enjoy nature and history at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site
Explore the trails, and camp at Crimson Lake Provincial Park
Visit the town’s event calendar to tie in another local event.
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