Summer brings great weather and with it, the promise of fantastic adventures spent in the great outdoors. It’s time to leave your worries behind and take in the majestic wonders of Central Alberta. There’s plenty of thrills to find, but the first step is getting out of the house and into the wild. So with that in mind, let’s get you out the door and ready to venture the great outdoors in Mountain View County and Lacombe County.
Olds College Botanic Garden
This stunning 25-acre space features 3 phases of gardens. Comprised of both native prairie plants and ornamental plants, this garden space is unique because it’s not just built for display. Being on a college, the garden is set-up for courses and instructional purposes while still maintaining a gorgeous aesthetic. Olds College Botanic Garden boasts 1.3 kilometres of pathways and trails throughout the wetlands and gardens.
Geocaching: the biggest and best treasure hunt you could ever go on. With the help of GPS-enabled devices, you can go on hunts that traverse entire regions. Register an account on geocaching.com and use a set of coordinates provided to help you locate the hidden treasure. Then once you find the treasure, replace it with something of your own to keep the hunt alive for others. There’s many geocaches dotted around Lacombe County and Mountain View County; you’ll have enough for weeks, let alone an entire day of hunting!
Agri-Tourism for All Ages
Both Lacombe County and Mountain View County are agricultural hubs. While it’s nice enough to take a country drive and admire the stunning prairie views, sometimes you want to be able be part of the agri-tourism experience.
Kraay Family Farm
Kraay Family Farm in Lacombe County is one such spot to get your agricultural fill. They sport over 40 family-friendly attractions, including their world-famous corn maze. Shoot pumpkins out a cannon, watch the pig races and bounce on their giant jumping pillows (fun for both kids and parents). Kraay Family Farm, is open from July to October (July 28th marks their summer 2018 opening!).
Ellis Bird Farm
For those looking for something with a bit of a slower pace – Ellis Bird Farm is an excellent option. This working farm in Lacombe County is perfect for birders, but anyone can appreciate a leisurely stroll through their beautiful gardens and pathways. While there, visit their Ellis Cafe for a delicious lunch featuring local ingredients or for an afternoon tea.
Alberta is a rodeo province and Mountain View is a rodeo county. During the summer months, Sundre, Carstairs, Water Valley, Olds, Didsbury and Dogpound all hold rodeos annually. Meaning you can expect to find all the high-flying rodeo action from May to September throughout Mountain View County. For something a bit different, check out Oldstoberfest, annually held in September – it’s Bavarian culture meets prairie heritage.
A working farm just west of Carstairs, PaSu Farm offers both a restaurant and a gift shop. At the boutique gift shop expect to find PaSu farm-made woolen products, sheepskins and moccasins as well as items from around the world with a focus on natural fibres and high quality craftsmanship. In their restaurant, enjoy fine dining with panoramic views of lush rolling hills, farmland and the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Parks, Beaches and Everything In Between
Beach Time in Lacombe County
Aspen Beach Provincial Park was the province’s first provincial park to be opened, way back in 1932. Today it’s also home to several popular shallow beach spots. It’s right on Gull Lake, an ideal destination for those looking for the comforts of a beachfront experience complete with a scenic boardwalk. There’s campgrounds, boat launches, picnic tables and day-use areas dotted around the lake. As well Sandy Point is close by – providing the same next-level summer beach experience. After all, one of the best things about summer weather is the beach.
Camping, Fishing & Hiking in Mountain View County
Meanwhile, Mountain View has a great thing going on for those who enjoy getting out into the great outdoors. Popular campgrounds include Westward Ho Park – an expansive year-round camping facility on the banks of the Little Red Deer River just outside of Sundre, as well as Water Valley Campground – a seasonal spot also located on the Little Red Deer River, just north of Water Valley.
Local fishing holes include Hillers Dam and Winchell Lake which are both annually stocked with Rainbow Trout. Those on the hunt for Mountain Whitefish should try Davidson Park which offers access to Fallen Timber Creek, or Wayside Park N’ Fish which offers access to Dogpound Creek. More specifics about fishing areas are available on Mountain View’s Parks & Recreation page. Hikers, head to William J. Bagnall Wilderness Park for a picturesque 1.2 loop trail through the woods to a creekbed.
So with that said, there’s plenty of fun out in Central Alberta waiting for you. What will your next unforgettable Central Alberta adventure be like?
Photo credit: Travel Alberta.
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