Cowboy Trail N, Hwy 22 & David Thompson Highway
Calgary to Icefields Parkway via Rocky Mountain House
398 km one way
The heartland of Alberta, where pioneers settled and made way for what is now the connected highways between the prairies and the rockies.
Start out on the Cowboy Trail heading north out of Calgary and experience the essence of Alberta’s ranch land through rolling foothills up to Rocky Mountain House.
Connecting Rocky Mountain House to the east with the Icefields Parkway, the David Thompson Highway is a direct route into the heart of the Rockies’ high scenic drama.
The foothills west of Rocky give way quickly to the hard-rock Mountains, which rise quickly in the west. The road is swallowed along the way, until you realize there are mountains ahead, behind, and all around you. The sense is of a massive, natural fortress that you’ve slipped inside.
Prairies to Peak Road Trip Itinerary
Stay at The Prairie Creek Inn just outside of Rocky Mountain House.
An artificial lake on the North Saskatchewan River lining the David Thompson Highway between Saskatchewan River Crossing and Nordegg. It was created in 1972 with the construction of the Bighorn Dam. Although man-made, it still possesses the blue colour of other glacial lakes in the Rocky Mountains.
Columbia Icefields and the Athabasca Glacier
The Columbia Icefield is the largest icefield in the Canadian Rockies, covering some 230 sq km (89 sq mi) to a depth of 365 m (1,200 ft) and some 28 km (17 mi) long. Draped over the continental divide on a high alpine plateau along the Alberta-BC border, it receives an average of 7 m (23 ft) of new snowfall per year.
Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site
Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site is one of Canada’s fine examples of how the fur trade helped shape the nation. Enjoy exhibits, walk through archaeological remains of the four forts, get hands on experience with Métis skills of the fur trade.
There is abundant wildlife in the Rocky Mountain House area including grizzlies, moose, and bighorn sheep. Fishing is a popular sport year round in this area.