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Driving Alberta’s Cowboy Highway

A few weeks ago we had a choice. We could drive a section of Alberta’s Cowboy Highway (Highway 22) from the Calgary area to Pincher Creek en route to Waterton Lakes National Park or drive the main north-south Highway 2.

Hands down the Cowboy Highway is a more interesting drive – at any time of the year.

"Early morning light over the fields"

Early morning light over the fields

The folks at Travel Alberta seem to be the ones that came up with the name – very apropos considering the highway follows the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains and passes through a whole lot of ranch and cowboy country.

The section I’ve driven so far is the one between Millarville and the Crowsnest Highway (Highway 3). Because of its proximity to the mountains you get wonderful cloud formations. The topography is more interesting too. Rolling hills with a Rocky Mountain backdrop are hard to beat. Throw in loads of raptors – we saw at least fifty hawks on our drive -plus cows, horses, deer and fox and I think you’ll find the drive to be both stimulating and beautiful. The miles pass very quickly.

"Barn in the morning light"

"Early morning fog along the highway"

Early morning fog along the highway

"Early morning fog gives the hills an eerie feeling"

"Gorgeous morning light on the fields"

Gorgeous morning light on the fields

"Cow in winter along the Cowboy Highway"

"Big skies with wild cloud formations"

Big skies with wild cloud formations

"More wild clouds"

More wild clouds and big winds

"It's haying season"

Its haying season

"Heading south on the Cowboy Highway"

Heading south on the Cowboy Highway

"Windmills on the horizon as you approach Pincher Creek"

Windmills on the horizon as you approach Pincher Creek

"Haying season"

Do you have a favourite highway you like to drive?

Leigh McAdam

Author Leigh

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure – & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project – a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

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