Following the Cowboy Trail gives you a stunning look at changing landscapes – the kind you've seen in countless Westerns. You'll also get a glimpse into Alberta's fascinating history, in small towns and working ranches along the way.
Start your tour on the Cowboy Trail (Hwy. 22) and head west to Bragg Creek
The Cowboy Trail:
Follow this 640 km (397 mile) trail along Hwy. 22 from Mayerthorpe to Pincher Creek, then south on Hwy. 6 and east on Hwy. 5, where the Trail ends in Cardston. Along the way, you can discover the real West and all its art, food, culture and hospitality.
Starting in Calgary? Join up with the trail in Cochrane.
Stops Along the Way
Just minutes north of Calgary on Hwy. 1A, Cochrane's a booming town whose ranching roots run deep. Explore the western, antique and craft shops or stop at one of the restaurants for a bite to eat.
Don't miss MacKay's famous ice-cream – locals will tell you there's nothing better than a scoop on a hot day (or a cold day, for that matter).
South of Longview on Hwy. 22, you can explore the Bar U Historic Ranch. Since its establishment in 1882, the ranch has been host to famous personalities, including Edward, the Prince of Wales and the Sundance Kid. Explore the working ranch and get a taste of how the region's first settlers lived, then stop for a treat at the Bar U Café, or browse the Pekisko Creek General Store.
Keep traveling south on Hwy. 22, then east on Hwy. 3, and you'll find yourself in Pincher Creek, home of some of the best ranching in the province. There are no foothills here – the prairie stops abruptly at the foot of the mountains.
Annual events include a professional rodeo, cowboy poetry gathering, and country fairs. Visit the Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village for a glimpse of how the region's first settlers lived.
From Pincher Creek travel south along Hwy. 6 and east on Hwy. 5 to Cardston. Here, at the end of the Cowboy Trail, you'll find the Remington Carriage House Museum. The museum houses one of the best collections of horse-drawn vehicles in the North America – over 250 carriages, wagons and sleighs.
Waterton Lakes National Park
Head back to Hwy. 6, and south, to Waterton Lakes National Park, where you can soak up the scenery while you take a boat cruise, golf, ride horseback, canoe, bike, or play golf or tennis.