A ranching road trip with Calgary as the backdrop…

Experiencing the country with Calgary as a backdrop...

Experiencing the country with Calgary as a backdrop…

Return trip from: Calgary

Total driving kilometers: 175 give or take…

Itinerary Suggestions: 13

Best time to travel: Saturday

Sometimes it’s hard to be tourists in your own backyard; however, this scenic day trip makes it all worthwhile.  Nestled in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, this fertile ranching land, located southwest of Calgary, makes for a fantastic foodie, gardeners, and photographical adventure for all ages.

Route Map

Itinerary Suggestion #1: Spruce Meadows

Numerous years ago, this horse jumping facility was only known to the inner circles; however, today it is known as one of the best international horse jumping venues world-wide.  Throughout the year, the grounds host a variety of events to tickle anyone`s fancy.

Suggestion #2:  Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area

Located a couple of kilometers off of Highway 22X, west of Spruce Meadows, this area offers scenic views of the sweeping foothills with the City of Calgary acting as a backdrop.  Please keep in mind that you must register for hikes and dogs are not allowed on site, something that caught me off guard since my Fido was anxious to get started.

Suggestion #3:  The Hamlet of Priddis

An adorable little hamlet, just off of Highway 22X.  Also known for its golfing community.

Suggestion #4:  Leighton Art Centre

This hidden gem is nestled in the rolling hills 10kms from Highway 22 on a lonely back road – watch for the signs.  (Please do not use goggle maps for verification, please use the directions noted on their site.)  Known for its it numerous art programs and craft shows for the young and old covering numerous months of the year.

Suggestion #5:  Millarville Farmer’s Market

A favourite for many Calgarian’s, the Market (located at the Millarville Raceway) is a shoppers delight.  Whether you are in the market for handmade gifts, or vegetables from the garden, this market has everything.  Open Saturday’s only and admission is $2 per vehicle. Located south just off of Highway 22 – signs point the way.

Driving along the back roads, near Millarville...

Driving along the back roads, near Millarville…

Watching the cattle graze...

Watching the cattle graze…

Suggestion #6: Millarville Anglican Church

“Christ Church was constructed in 1896 at the instigation of the Reverend Webb-Peploe, the first Anglican minister in the Millarville area. Because of poor health, Webb-Peploe had relinquished his pastoral duties in England and left for western Canada. He acquired a quarter section of land in the Millarville area in 1894 and had a house built of vertical logs. Church services were being held in private homes, and Webb—Peploe was determined that a church should be built. He donated a five-acre parcel of land for the church and in 1895 contracted Charles Schack to oversee the construction of the building, to be done of vertical logs like his home.  Christ Church was dedicated on May 6, 1896. It stands on a foundation of local sandstone and concrete. The church bell, which first rang in Christ Church on June 2, 1930, was actually found during the demolition of the old Alexander Block in Calgary. It had been the bell of the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer, the first Anglican Church built in Calgary.

The Christ Church interior is unique. The furnishings are a combination of local materials and donations, many from overseas. The Gothic stained glass windows in the attractive five-sided east chancel wall were placed by Miss DeVere Hunt in memory of her brother who lost his life in the Boer War (1899-1902). The Communion Table, pulpit, and lecturn, in keeping with the rest of building, were made of small, rough logs. The alter cloths and kneeling rugs were gifts sent to Webb-Peploe from friends in England.

The cemetery ground was consecrated in 1920, and an impressive memorial, depicting a broken column, was erected in honour of those who died in the First World War. Many of the old time residents of the area are buried here and special services are still a regular event at the church.”  The Turner Valley Oilfield Society

Millarville Anglican Church

Millarville Anglican Church

Suggestion #7:  Chuckwagon Café, Turner Valley

Featured on the Foodnetwork, this hamburger joint is worth the stop, even if there is a lineup!

Suggestion #8: Marv’s Classic Soda Shop, Black Diamond

Now that you have stopped for the burger, you now need desert!  Filled with the 50’s ambiance, Marv’s is a great place to stop for a soda or ice cream, but please keep in mind, this place also cooks a mile high meal – for those who are still hungry of course!

Suggestion #9:  Vale’s Greenhouse, Black Diamond

Since you are still in town and full to the brim, why not stop and take a walk around this stunning greenhouse.  The surrounding grounds provide a beautiful selection of plants perfect for our chilly climate in addition to a lovely gift shop.

Suggestion #10:  Okotoks Erratic, Okotoks

Along Highway 7, you will come across the Okotoks erratic, a historical reminder of the most recent ice age…

Farming in the foothills...

Farming in the foothills…

A cyclers dream...

A cyclers dream…

Suggestion # 11: Chinook Honey Company, Okotoks

Located just off of Highway 7, this Honey Company produces some original items that many of us may not have tried before.  They also offer tours of their farm, how unique is that!

Suggestion # 12:  Historic Downtown Okotoks

Keeping the history alive, this area has an abundance of shops and restaurants for every type of visitor.

Suggestion # 13: The Saskatoon Farm, near Okotoks

One can experience what a small western town must have looked back in the day; however, this one is surrounding by Saskatoon berries.  Located southeast of Okotoks, this farm has a host of activities in addition to a gift shop, restaurant, and a small greenhouse for all to enjoy.

What a view...

What a view…

This mini road-trip is meant to touch all your senses and I’m sure it has.

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Categories: Alberta Road Trips, Around Alberta, Road Trip Pictures

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

3 replies

  1. Love this – there are a few places on this list that I haven’t been to yet…will have to rectify that! 🙂

  2. Just found your blog today, Happy New Year to you. I love your love of our “area” . If you are looking for beautiful scenery, take hiway 22 past Priddis and just at the bottom of the steep hill before you hit Priddis Creek Estates (on north side of road) take the turn off to “Homeplace Ranch” This is called the Coalmine road. Follow it through the back country back to Priddis, it’s a glorious route with amazing scenery. I am a second generation road tripper, as a kid my folks took us for routine sunday drives. I still enjoy this form of exploration, now we do it on a Motor Bike.
    I am enjoying your travels so many are so familiar to me.

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