Exploring Rocky Mountain House, Alberta – the community

The first day of our 3-week wander back to Whitehorse was Day 43 of the trip – Thursday, June 7th. Rocky Mountain House was the day’s destination, and I wanted to have a good look at both the community and the historic fur trading posts site.

I love the Welcome to Rocky Mountain House, “Where Adventure Begins” sign (or whatever you properly call a structure like that). The community began as a fur trading post in 1799 – that sort of date is not one we often see in western Canada.

Welcome to Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
I initially parked at the community centre, which was a handy spot to take Bella and Tucker for a good walk. The nearby visitor centre was the next stop, primarily to get information about the History Walk downtown, but I picked up lots of other information as well from a very helpful staff member.

Visitor Centre and Museum at Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

The visitor centre parking lot is small and not very RV-friendly, but I found a spot at the bottom of the property that worked for me to unhook the Tracker so I could go exploring.

The R. L. Zengel Legion Park is between the community centre and visitor centre. The small picnic area is notably nice.

Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
I was saddened to see this sign at the Legion Park. Maybe disrespectful people are simply everywhere now.

Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

The History Walk is what drew me to downtown Rocky Mountain House, but I stayed much longer than I expected, for two reasons. First, the History Walk has a game involved, but also, the streetscape aspect of the downtown revitalization that’s been done is beautiful.

The History Walk consists of 21 plaques like the one in the next photo. It describes Anna Chevalier, who gained fame as one of Dr. Carver’s Diving Girls, diving off high platforms while on horseback!

History Walk in downtown Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
A brochure leads you around to the plaques, though I never did find #7 or #13 – I searched and searched until it wasn’t fun anymore. Even without those plaques, though, I figured out the word puzzle, and in the morning collected my prizes, a Rocky Mountain House branded keychain and lip balm 🙂

History Walk in downtown Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
The History Walk brochures begins here at The Brick home furnishings store. Free day parking for RVs is normally available there, but it was Farmer’s Market day when I was there and the lot was full.

Farmer's Market at Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
The broad sidewalks downtown have wheelchair-accessible ramping at many locations, and the entire streetscape is very welcoming (although I only saw a few people).

Downtown Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
A closer look at the heritage-style street lights.

Heritage-style street light in downtown Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
The next photo shows the Provincial Building, home to government offices. Rocky Mountain House’s downtown is rather unusual in that few stores selling products other than food are there – other than 2 drug stores, it’s largely services, including spas, health services, beauty services, etc.

Downtown Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
Murals decorate a few of the shops.

Mural in downtown Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
I really like this quirky paint scheme 🙂

Downtown Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

I took photos of all the History Walk plaques I found (19 of the 21), then worked out the wining phrase when I got back to the motorhome. Having seen no other good option, I put out the main slide in the motorhome and parked at the visitor centre for the night.

This was my view at 05:25 Friday morning, with Extra Foods and Canadian Tire on the opposite side of the highway. It was a beautiful, very colourful sunrise a few minutes later.

Dawn at Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
Just before 06:30, the dogs and I went for a long walk in the lovely morning light. The area we overnighted in has a wide range of community services, including this large sports complex, the Christenson Sports & Wellness Centre.

Christenson Sports & Wellness Centre at Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
I had seen signs for the Centennial Campground about 4 kilometers away, so after our walk took the Tracker for a look at it, for future reference. I wasn’t impressed – the sites are small for a rig our size, and it’s quite pricey at $22 for unserviced and $32 for a site with power.

Centennial Campground, Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

When I got back to the motorhome, we had breakfast, then I prepared to depart for the National Historic Site. When I tried to pull the slide in, I got a big surprise – it wouldn’t move! It had been giving me grief for a while, and I had tried to get it serviced at Airdrie, with no luck. The woman on duty at the visitor centre called a local RV shop who said they’d send a technician out. When I went back to the rig, I managed to finally get the slide in, so called the shop and said that I could bring it in if they had a spot to look at it. They did.

Westend RV Repair was on Highway 11A a few kilometers away, a few hundred yards from the North Saskatchewan River. I dropped the RV and said I wouldn’t be far away when they needed me.

The closest place to chill with the pups was a boat launch on the opposite side of the river, a place I’d stopped at before because of the railway bridge in the next photo. It was very warm (about 24°C), so being close to water was great.

North Saskatchewan River, Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
A small group was about to launch their canoes but seemed to be waiting for somebody or something, then a family showed up. Three of the canoeists tried the water – it was apparently quite cold 🙂

North Saskatchewan River, Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
Three power boats arrived and played around in the area before one came to shore and picked up a woman and cooler then sped off.

North Saskatchewan River, Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
I decided to have a quick look at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site – an orientation for our later return. The metal framework in the next photo replicates the layout of the original fortified fur trading post, named Acton Post, from 1799.

Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, Alberta
I took this photo of Westend RV Repair as I went by on the way to another site on the river. My motorhome is in the right-hand bay.

Westend RV Repair, Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
This riverfront proved to be much better than the boat launch had been, and Bella and Tucker had fun playing in the shallow water. I was very surprised to find only one other vehicle there, at the far end of the beach.

North Saskatchewan River, Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

I went back to the RV shop just before noon, and they were just finishing up. The slide works like new, and the bill was very reasonable. I’m still learning things about the RV, and the tech was great about showing me how to maintain the slide properly so this doesn’t happen again.



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