A Look at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, Alberta

While my daughter and her partner, and my grand-daughters were all at work or school, I went exploring to the north, to see a historic site that’s been on the must-see list for many years. Now it’s still on my must-see list, at a time when it’s open!

The fast way from Airdrie to Rocky Mountain House is mostly freeway, but I was in no hurry, so I headed west on Highway 567, Big Hill Springs Road. This is really pretty country. Going this way, it’s just over 200 km (124 miles) each way.
West on Alberta Highway 567, Big Hill Springs Road
I’ve already discovered that the navigation system in the Cadillac is very poor – I’ve gotten some extremely poor routing – but haven’t totally given up on it. It got me to the community of Rocky Mountain House, and eventually led me down a gravel road, past this photo-op barn.
Barn near Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
A couple of minutes after the nav system said that I was at the park, I was about to turn around when I saw the gate.
Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, Alberta
The park’s Web site said that the park was closed until April 30, then gave the hours from May 13th on, but gave no information about what to expect today. It was closed, but I walked around the site – the structure is the site of a fur trading fort built in 1799.
Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, Alberta
Among the displays is one of the large voyageur canoes used in the 1967 Centennial Voyageur Canoe Pageant, the longest canoe race in history, at 5,283 kilometers (3,283 miles).
Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, Alberta
The interpretation is simple but I found it to be very effective in taking me back 300 years.
Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, Alberta
A viewing platform gives a good look at the area.
Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, Alberta

It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that this was the back part of the large park, so the navigation system had indeed led me astray again. But I saw enough to know that I want to return in the summer when everything is in operation.

Only 24 hours off the lot, the new XPLORer was already very dusty! The nav system said that the nearest car wash was 66 km away (that also turned out to not be true, but I got cleaned up there anyway). 🙂
Cadillac CTS beside the North Saskatchewan River
A bison farm near the park, with a couple of calves in the herd.
Bison near Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
Various types of oil and gas rigs are seen often – these ones are right beside the bison farm.
Oil rigs near Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
I saw some bright colours on the North Saskatchewan River as I crossed on the bridge at Rocky Mountain House, and went down to investigate. Environment Canada was doing a river rescue course for some of its workers.
river rescue course on the North Saskatchewan River
After a day of exploring, the evening was Grandpa time – I picked up one of the girls at home, picked up my daughter and her partner at work, then drove another half-hour east to watch the other grand-daughter playing softball. It was a lovely evening for some small-town family fun.

As soon as I post this, I’m off to another southern Alberta historic site – more sunshine, more history, and more photo ops 🙂


A Look at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, Alberta — 7 Comments

  1. I took my youngest son to Drumheller, AB when we lived in Edmonton. The country down there is different from anything I have seen. Is the new car going to be a summer car ?

  2. I really like Drumheller’s unique location – you’re driving along endless flat prairie and all of a sudden a big hole opens up with a town at the bottom 🙂 I got all-wheel-drive on the Caddie so it will be a good year-round car.

  3. The “photo op barn” that you passed on your way down to the park used to belong to my family. I grew up in that barn- swung from the hayloft, moved cattle through the corrals, and hung my saddle in the tack room. My family owned and farmed that land before the park even existed. In fact, the govt. reclaimed that parcel of land, tore down my great granddad’s garage and made an archeological exhibit.

    I love Rocky Mtn House with all my heart. I am sad that no one in our family took over the farm and that the barn has fallen into disrepair.

    I hope you enjoyed your time in Rocky. It’s a great place with great people.

  4. PS: Would you be willing to send me a copy of that photo? It brings back a lot of memories and I’d really appreciate it.


  5. Thanks for posting, Megan – I really love it when something I’ve posted brings back good memories for someone. I’ve emailed you a hi-res copy of the photo of your old barn.

  6. I work for the Confluence Heritage Society, Friends of Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site. I am so glad you enjoyed yourself when you came to visit our fur trade forts. Please do come back in the summer and you can take in the interpretation and exhibit. We typically open May long weekend and are open 7 days a week until Labour Day weekend.