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Sample Tours: Prairies

The Brokeback Mountain Trail ... and more

Immerse yourself in the spectacular mountain scenery featured in the movie "Brokeback Mountain".  If you haven't yet seen the movie, pick up a copy to watch on your trip and recognise places and scenes from the movie.  Don't be confused! The actual movie is set in Wyoming, however the filming was done in Alberta, Canada.  Follow the Brokeback Mountain trail in an RV rental from CanaDream and have the vacation of a lifetime in Southern Alberta's uncrowded wilderness.


Duration: 7 Days
Total Distance: 885 km/538 mi
Tour Map - Brokeback Mountain Trailview larger map
Itinerary
Entrance to Eau Claire Market, Calgary - Photo Credit: CanaDream
Day 1 - Arrive Calgary
If you are arriving by air today and picking up your CanaDream motorhome, phone 1-800-461-7368 for pickup from the airport. If you are going from the airport to a hotel, phone your hotel to find out if they have a courtesy pickup service, otherwise make your own way to your hotel.  full details

We recommend that you stay at least one night in Calgary prior to picking up your motorhome so you are rested before beginning your drive..

If you are picking up your motorhome the day after an overnight stay at a Calgary hotel, phone CanaDream anytime after 08:00 to arrange your pickup time.

Recommended places to visit in Calgary are:  

Downtown Calgary

Stephens Avenue, Calgary Tower, Olympic Plaza, Glenbow Museum, Calgary Science Museum, Princes Island Park, Devonian Gardents in TD Square. (We recommend you use public transport to travel downtown as parking is difficult and very expensive).

Outside of Downtown
Heritage Park, Fort Calgary, Canada Olympic Park, Calgary Zoo, Telus Spark

 

Hoodoos, Drumheller, Alberta - Photo Credit: Travel Alberta
Day 2 - Calgary to Drumheller – 120 km/75 mi

It’s another world today as you explore the Alberta Badlands and the world of the dinosaur.

As you travel north east from Calgary towards Drumheller, the rich, rolling farmlands suddenly break away to reveal an astonishing, twisting, turning canyon, walled with multi-coloured layers of sandstone, mudstone and coal alternating with shale sequences.  

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The rock layers date back to the late Cretaceous Period, just before the demise of the dinosaurs. The Drumheller Badlands are one of the few areas in the world where sedimentary layers from earlier time periods have been scraped off by natural processes, exposing a rich cache of fossils and even complete dinosaur skeletons.

Plan to spend a few hours visiting the Royal Tyrell Museum, a world-class facility dedicated to the study of Drumheller’s early residents, the dinosaurs. Visitors to the museum can explore hundreds of preserved fossils and take part in interactive displays and exhibits.

Amongst other attractions worth visiting in the area are Horseshoe and Horsethief Canyons, Badlands Historical Center and the World’s Largest Dinosaur. Stay overnight in the Badlands region.  The Dinosaur Trail RV Resort, located 11 km west of Drumheller in a quiet rural setting on the banks of the Red Deer River, is a good choice for a campground here.  This full service RV resort offers a discount to CanaDream guests.

 

View over Waterton Lake - Stock Photo
Day 3 - To Waterton National Park - 416 km/245 mi
Travel south today, stopping in the town of Okotoks, with its typical Canadian Main Street, small businesses and restaurants. The next small town you will come to is High River with its historic Railway Station and western style buildings.  full details

Explore the area east of High River and search out the towns of Millarville (famous for its farmers market held on Saturdays throughout the summer), Turner Valley (it was here, in 1914, that Canada's first major crude-oil discovery was made), Blackie (where Ennis gets into a fight outside the bar), and Black Diamond. These towns are all part of Diamond Valley – the Heart of the Cowboy Trail.

For an unusual diversion take a gas plant tour in Turner Valley . The tour tells the story of the area, once one of the most active oil and gas fields in the British Empire.

From here, head south, bound for Pincher Creek – most noted for Kootenai Brown’s Pioneer Village.  Continue south on Highway 6 to Waterton Lakes National Park, full of charm and natural mountain splendour. We recommend you spend at least two nights here exploring the area.

 

View over lake and Prince of Wales Hotel, Waterton - Photo Credit: Travel Alberta
Day 4 - Waterton National Park
Waterton Lakes National Park has a variety of activities you can enjoy year round! Immerse yourself in the peaceful serenity of the park in the winter and take in some cross country skiing, snow shoeing, or just a stroll in the snow! Hiking trails are open year-round, offering a unique experience, breathtaking scenery, and a variety of flora and fauna. Waterton Park offers a huge variety of fishing experiences.  full details

You can fish at the most beautiful alpine lakes the Rocky Mountains have to offer. Waterton Lakes is home to a huge variety of animals and birds, giving you the opportunity to experience wildlife in its natural habitat. With so much to choose from, you’ll have difficulty deciding how to spend your day.

If you're visiting Waterton Lakes National Park between June and September, consider taking a trip over the border into Montana.  Glacier National Park, Montana has a beautiful scenic drive called the "Going to the Sun Road".  This road is generally open for only 3-4 months of the year and is passable with vehicles 21 feet long or under.  CanaDream's Deluxe Van Camper is suitable for travelling this road.

The Chief Mountain border crossing usually opens on June 1st and is the easiest way to cross between Waterton and Glacier National Parks.  The hours at this border crossing are 0700-2200 daily until October 31st.

Mountains in Kananaskis Country - Phot Credit: Travel Alberta
Day 5 - Waterton to Cardston to Kananaskis – 270 km/169 mi
Leave Waterton today and travel to Cardston to visit the Remington Carriage Museum.   This museum has the largest collection of horse-drawn vehicles in North America, with over 240 carriages, wagons and sleighs.   full details

Drive by the Red Coat Inn Motel in Fort MacLeod where several scenes were shot.

18 km west of Fort MacLeod is world famous Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest buffalo hunt sites of the native Albertan people. Here you can learn about and understand the way of life of the native inhabitants of Alberta.

After visiting here, travel on to the township of Cowley, west of the township of Pincher Creek, where Jack and Ennis meet at a bar and where they have their first beer.

Leave Cowley and travel north along Highway 22 through the foothills of the Rocky Mountains until just south of Longview and the Bar U Ranch, a National Heritage Site, and one of the oldest ranches in Alberta. It’s full of original buildings, ongoing archaeological digs and intriguing exhibits.

From Longview, it’s a breathtaking journey into the Kananaskis Valley as you leave the flat lands and arrive in the high mountain region of Kananaskis. In Peter Lougheed Provincial Park you’ll find the Galatea Bridge "where Ennis picks up his supplies" and King Creek "where Ennis meets the bear". The scenery in this area is spectacular and there are some interesting trails at both places. There are many campsites in this area but perhaps you’d like to visit Canyon Creek Campsite where filming was done for the movie.

(Note that the Highway 40 from Longview to Kananaskis Village is closed from late fall until late spring, generally opening in mid June.  If you are travelling outside this time, you will need to take an alternative route to Kananaskis).

 

Elk in Kananaskis Country - Photo Credit: Travel Alberta
Day 6 - In Kananaskis Country
Take some time to stroll through Kananaskis Village, beautiful at any time of year. Wander down a woodland trail, touch the clear icy water of a mountain creek, smell the fresh pungent aroma of juniper, scramble up the scree of a mountainside – hiking is glorious in Kananaskis for hikers of all ages and abilities.  full details

The variety of hikes available is incredible. A short hike that is appropriate for the whole family is Troll Falls. From the parking lot at Nakiska, this hike is at most an hour long and hikers are rewarded with a beautiful waterfall at the end of the trail.

There are numerous hikes of different lengths, difficulty and terrain. The information centres in Kananaskis have maps and reports concerning all of the trails.

Close by Kananaskis Village is the popular recreation area of Ribbon Creek – each season here brings its own joys. Many walking trails branch off from the car park and it’s worth taking some time to explore. 

Lake Louise - Banff National Park, Alberta - Photo Credit: CanaDream
Day 7 - Kananaskis to Calgary or Banff – 79 km/49 mi (to Banff) or 115 km/72 mi (to Calgary)
Spend more time in Kananaskis before traveling on to Banff or back to Calgary later in the day. Suggested places to visit are the Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes where you can take short hikes, watch the bird and wildlife and, depending on the time of year, the plant life. full details
Later today travel on to Banff or back to Calgary.  If you decide to travel on to Banff from this point, you might like to check out our Western Rocky Mountain loop tour.  This tour is a natural extension of our Brokeback Mountain trail and takes you to Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, Mount Robson, Kamloops, then back to Calgary.

If you're planning on dropping off your RV in Calgary on Day 8, we recommend staying at Calgary West Campground on the western edge of the city close to Canada Olympic Park.  This full service campground offers a discount to CanaDream guests and is an easy one hour drive to our Calgary location.  Unless you have arranged a late drop-off, your motorhome is due back between 08:00 and 10:00.  If you have a flight later in the evening, you are welcome to leave you bags at our station and do some last minute shopping or sightseeing.  Check with our friendly counter staff to find out what time you need to return to catch our free shuttle to the airport.



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