The Cowboy Trail
Along the foothills of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains is a narrow band of mixed forests and grasslands known for its moderate climate, a wide variety of wildlife species and broad ecological diversity. This attracted First Nations peoples to the area hundreds of years ago. Alberta ranching families first settled the territory in the 1880s and transformed the rolling grasslands into cattle country.
Today, communities along this corridor are linked together by The Cowboy Trail, a ribbon of pavement extending form Cardston to Mayerthorpe. The Old West is still evident in the art, history, food, hospitality, and culture of the foothills residents. Along the way, you’re likely to see cowboys out herding cattle, sometimes right along the highway, and families out for a horseback ride.
From Cochrane or Longview you can turn west into the heart of the Rocky Mountains to experience Kananaskis Country or Banff National Park. Expect to be overwhelmed by the rugged mountain scenery and the pristine wilderness literally at your doorstep.
There’s plenty to do along The Cowboy Trail. Stay at a guest ranch or working ranch. Experience a trail ride with an outfitter into some of Alberta’s prettiest country. Take in a rodeo, cowboy festival or a pow-wow for a day. The western spirit comes alive in the small communities along the trail with special cowboy-flavoured events.
Enjoy western hospitality up close and become part of the community while you enjoy a pancake breakfast. Watch a small-town parade, shop for local crafts and western antiques, or cheer during a rodeo. Listen to poets celebrate the western way of life. Watch native dancers move to the beat of a drum. Stay an extra night at a bed-and-breakfast and watch dawn break on the eastern slopes.
Now is the time to saddle up and drive The Cowboy Trail!