These beautiful summer days are perfect for exploring the countryside around Calgary. One of my favourite drives is the Cowboy Trail, which is Highway 22, south from 22X to the Crowsnest Pass. Tucked in between Highway 2 and the Rockies, this is a wonderful drive, meandering through such small towns as Longview and Black Diamond, and wandering along beside the foothills.
For some great trivia on the Cowboy Trail, and off-the-beaten-path places to visit as well as suggested restaurants and accommodation, take a look at The Cowboy Trail by D. Larraine Andrews. For instance, did you know that the Sarcee name for Black Diamond is klas-hlath-tidi, meaning white mud, while the name, Black Diamond, refers to the abundant black coal found in the area? Or would you like a recipe for Bread Pudding and Whiskey Sauce from Memories Inn in Longview or perhaps Butterflied Prairie Oysters from Rusty Luca of Lucasis Ranch?
Among the many places to visit along the trail is the historic Bar U Ranch. Some of the more well-known names associated with the Bar U are John Ware, the Sundance Kid, H.R.H. Edward Prince of Wales and two of the founders of the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede - George Lane and Patrick Burns.
Visit the Cowboy Trail Tourist Association site for more places to go, things to do and a map.
(Check 511, Alberta's official road report, for road conditions since the recent flooding.)
Best of all, when you get to the Crowsnest Pass and Highway 3, there is lots more to see and do. More about that next time.
The library has orther wonderful books which will help you plan your day trips and find some of the hidden corners. Happy trails!