This region attracted settlers later than the vast open tracts of the southern prairies because the land had to be cleared before the tough job of making a living could begin. So you won’t find the huge ranches typical further south. But don’t be fooled, cattle, horses and cowboys have called this area home right from the beginning. They still do.
Well before Lewis & Clark explored the American west, David Thompson, the well-known mapmaker was surveying the Canadian Rockies. On one journey in 1800, his route intersected portions of what would eventually be dubbed the Cowboy Trail.
Like many present day visitors, Thompson was struck by the overwhelming grandeur of the Rockies. His journal speaks of one spot he called “The Plain of the Grand View” where “we had a grand view of the Rocky Mountains. All its snowy cliffs to the Southward were bright with the Beams of the Sun, while the most northern were darkened by Tempest.” The spot was close to Sundre’s future site.
No doubt Thompson would be astounded at the changes since his journeys of discovery over 200 years ago. But he might also be pleasantly surprised to see the vast tracts of pristine wilderness that still remain – home to herds of wild horses, cattle and elk.
Two centuries after Thompson, this country continues to lure adventurers, eager to experience all that this wild and untamed region has to offer. But now they have a choice to see it from the comfort of their car, on foot or better yet from the back of a horse.
The Sundre Pioneer Museum has an extensive display of local history in original pioneer buildings. The Museum also boasts the Chester Mjolness World of Wildlife exhibit which is one of the finest displays in the West.
Sundre is home to several great golf courses that are open for your enjoyment with full service camping on the river nearby.
Recharge yourself with a delicious cappuccino or a double scoop ice cream cone at one of our cozy coffee shops. Enjoy a savory Greek dish or Chinese dinners at one of our award winning restaurants.
For a night out, Sundre offers a range of establishments to fill your needs. Head towards downtown to one of the lounges, kick back those dusty boots and enjoy a cold one. Whether you are looking for a relaxing night out or some dancing and live entertainment, you will likely find what you are looking for.
And don’t forget to check out the variety at the Farmer’s Market every Friday evening (May- September).
Did You Know?
Local rancher George Bugbee shot and killed a world-record grizzly bear in 1949 after the bear charged a hunting party. The bear weighed 725 kilograms (1,600 pounds).
Did You Know?
The Forestry Trunk Road was built over 60 years ago to provide forest fire protection for Alberta’s east slopes along the Rockies. Paralleling the Cowboy Trail, adventurous drivers can travel north or south along the Forestry Trunk Road as far south as the Crowsnest Pass and north to Grande Prairie.
Mostly gravel but paved in sections, this all weather road has sections that may be closed during the winter season. The FTR provides access to wilderness areas, remote fishing streams and the Forest Reserve.
Alberta Forestry still welcomes you to pull off the road, find a spot near the river or in a meadow and pitch your own wilderness retreat.
A drive up the Red Deer River is a must do trip. Follow the river west on the Coal Camp road and you will pass by some of Alberta’s nicest whitewater paddling. Otter Rafting, Mukwah Tours, Rural Route Tours and Sunset Guiding provide half day and multi-day adventures. At the Forestry Trunk Road junction, the Mountain-Aire Lodge and Campground can provide gas, a meal or overnight stay.
Continuing west up the river, the road breaks into a valley ringed by peaks. Parks Canada raises its horses here on the historic Ya Ha Tinda Ranch, “the little prairie in the mountains” along with thousands of wintering elk on the east slopes of Banff National Park. Sunset Guiding and the Outpost at Warden Rock base their wilderness experiences here. Take a real stagecoach ride into the Ya Ha Tinda to the Outpost.
Bergen, Bearberry and Westward Ho all have unique and interesting General Stores to resupply your troupe. Bergen’s world famous beef jerky will keep your car quiet for a long, long time.
On your way up to Ya HaTinda walk in a short distance to the spectacular beauty of the Big Horn Falls.
Discover history and shop for unique creations from local artists at the Bearberry Heritage and Art Center. While you are there stop for a visit at the popular Bearberry Creek Greenhouse and Water Gardens. Work up your appetite touring around the area and stop in to quench your thirst and enjoy some good cookin’ at the family friendly Bearberry Saloon.
Wagons West RV Park has full services with Internet at your site. Westward Ho Family Park along the bank of the slower Little Red Deer River has spaces for tents and RVs. Or set up camp amongst the trees at Tall Timbers Campground, which offers a swimming pool and concession.
Located in the Town of Sundre on the west bank of the Red Deer River with 31 sites – 2 full service, 17 power only and 12 unserviced. Campers have access to heated washrooms with showers, picnic table, fire pit, sites with mature trees, playground, day use area, sani- station and firewood ($). For reservations or more information please contact: May-Sept (403) 638-2130 or Off Season (403) 638-3551 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: (403) 638-3551
Web Site: www.sundre.com