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A Rocky Mountain House Weekend of Luxury & Adventure

Sitting smack in the middle of some of Alberta’s oil country, Rocky Mountain House, might not seem like a destination for a weekend getaway – let alone a luxurious weekend getaway. So I was pleasantly surprised not only with my stay at Prairie Creek Inn, but at the activities available.

It’s a two hour drive to reach the inn from Calgary. Already popular with people from Edmonton and Red Deer, it’s not as well known to people in Calgary, who tend to head west says owner Terri Cameron.

Two of the buildings that make up the Prairie Creek Inn

Two of the buildings that make up the Prairie Creek Inn

Our room – the Aspen Treehouse room – as you can see in the photo below – is roomy and beautifully decorated. Even with two large windows, it feels very private. On the one side, the only thing you might see is birds and deer. On the other – perhaps a fleeting glimpse of another guest sharing the adjacent room in the Treehouse. The bathroom is luxurious with a big soaker tub, a large shower and a sink area with enough room for a couple of toiletry bags (I can’t believe how many places don’t get this right. I hate it when my toothbrush falls into the toilet bowl.)

Our room at the Prairie Creek Inn

Our room at the Prairie Creek Inn

Prairie Creek Inn in Rocky Mountain House

Our room has a private sitting area outdoors

The inn is a great place for rest and relaxation. In fact it would be easy to do nothing but curl up with a good book, watch a movie from the video library or sit by the river and watch the world go by. I only managed a bit of R&R but I did enjoy lingering over breakfast and dinner.

Overlooking Prairie Creek

In good weather you can relax by Prairie Creek. In winter you can ski or snowshoe the creek

Adventures and activities in the Rocky Mountain House area

I asked many people what there was in the way of cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in the area. The first and only place mentioned was the Pine Hills Golf Course. I prefer skiing in wilder areas but because I was new to Rocky Mountain House, I figured it was worth exploring, even for a short time.

There are a couple of loops at the golf course; it’s all very pretty but the snow cover was unusually thin for early March. Wax disappears in minutes from skis so a four kilometre loop is far more taxing than normal. It’s hard skiing on ice! In a normal winter, the golf course would make a fine destination for a workout.

Thin snow cover on the Pine Hills Golf Course

Thin snow cover on the Pine Hills Golf Course

We did find a Visitor’s Guide to the Rocky Mountain House area so while sipping lattes and eating muffins at the Pebble Ridge Coffee House in town, we came up with a plan for the afternoon. Check out the trails at Crimson Lake Provincial Park, just a 17 minute drive away.

With over 20 kilometres of trails, the park is ideal for cross-country skiing in winter (or hiking in summer). We chose to do the 10 kilometre Amerada Trail around Crimson Lake. Although signs say that the trail isn’t groomed, it must see enough skiers that it’s easy to follow tracks. Signs every kilometre mark your progress and there are benches as well. The snow conditions weren’t great – icy like the golf course but the trail is truly beautiful. We stopped a couple of times just to admire the view. The park was busy with people ice-fishing but we saw no other skiers.

All told we skied about 14 kilometres over the day but with so much slip-sliding on skis it felt like twenty.

Crimson Lake Provincial Park skiing

Several kilometres of pure bliss skiing in the aspens

Delightful skiing around Crimson Lake

Delightful skiing around Crimson Lake

Crimson Lake near Rocky Mountain House

About the five kilometre point on the trail

Exploring Highway 11 – The David Thompson Highway

The next day our plan was to do a loop drive starting and ending in Rocky Mountain House. But that’s not how it worked out.

The day started with a drive to Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, though unfortunately it was closed. It tells the story of the vibrant fur trade in the area between 1799 and 1875.

There are a lot of oil wells in the area

There are a lot of oil wells in the Rocky Mountain House area

Buffalo art at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site

Buffalo art at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site

From there we drove Highway 11, the David Thompson Highway to Nordegg. The plan was to visit Crescent Falls and then return to Rocky Mountain House via Highway 734, a Forestry Trunk Road, where we could visit Ram Falls. This would be an outstanding drive to do in summer but I wasn’t so sure about the driving once we got there. It’s a quiet road in early March and I don’t trust our car on snowy hills. We decided to continue to the Icefields Parkway and return to Calgary from there.

Our first stop was at an overlook into the Bighorn Gorge. The views up and down the gorge are nothing short of spectacular.

Bighorn Gorge - three kilometres up the road

Bighorn Gorge – three kilometres up the road

Next was Crescent Falls – an equally beautiful sight even with bad lighting.

Crescent Falls off of David Thompson Highway

Crescent Falls

Continuing southwest, we drove past Abraham Lake to reach the Kootenay Plains and the trailhead for the hike into Siffleur Falls. This area deserves a full day of exploration. We made it as far as the first waterfall, but there are two more waterfalls if you continue up the valley.

Suspension bridge en route to Siffleur Falls

Suspension bridge en route to Siffleur Falls

Siffleur River

What a wild place this would be to see in spring

Siffleur Falls

John at the overlook to the first set of falls

The drive from Nordegg, and particularly from the Kootenay Plains to the Icefields Parkway is gorgeous. Mountains and glaciers filled our line of sight for miles.

Beautiful mountain scenery southwest of Nordegg

Beautiful mountain scenery southwest of Nordegg

Mountain and glacier scenery that competes with the Icefields Parkway

Mountain and glacier scenery that competes with the Icefields Parkway

For  a weekend without much in the way of plans, we sure covered a lot of territory!

Have you visited the area between Rocky Mountain House and the Icefields Parkway?

A Rocky Mountain House Weekend of Luxury & Adventure - truly the nicest B&B/inn I've stayed in Alberta

This post was sponsored by Travel Alberta but all thoughts and opinions as always are strictly my own. 

Leigh McAdam

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
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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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Join the discussion 15 Comments

  • Jackie Smith says:

    Wow, now this is my kind of place. What a lovely room and a perfect looking setting!

  • Mike says:

    You’re right, those falls will be amazing in the next month or two. LOL..I most definitely don’t see you as a skiing around the golf course kind of gal and obviously you went on the wilder adventures. Crimson Lake looks amazing. But what really caught my eye was that incredibly cozy, warm room and bed!! I would love a nice escape like that right now. Have a great day, Leigh! :)

    • @Mike Golf courses really aren’t my style so I was very happy to discover Crimson Lake. And I will go back and explore the country to the west as it’s so beautiful. That room is one I’d go back to as well – with a few good books, a bottle of wine and I’d plan on some R&R.

  • Nancie says:

    What a gorgeous spot for a weekend getaway. Your room looks super comfy.

  • paula schuck says:

    Actually when I visit Alberta I am almost always there on business or for a conference. I would love to just spend some time there admiring the mountains. Your pictures of the mountains themselves are gorgeous. Just so remarkable to be standing there absorbing the natural beauty of Alberta.

  • Victoria | Girl Tries Life says:

    This looks amazing! I have not ventured out that way, but it’s definitely getting added to the list.

    • @Victoria AS someone who lives in Calgary I find myself heading in the direction of the mountains most of the time. It’s nice to know there’s an oasis of luxury not too far away.

  • Patti says:

    Well, this just looks like a little slice of heaven – and snow! Beautiful spot and I always enjoy your photos, you definitely have a sense of adventure!

  • Priscilla says:

    Beautiful photos of the mountains and the golf course area for cross-country skiing. I am more of a downhill person since when I tried to do the cross-country thing I broke my tailbone!
    I love your accommodations – they look amazing and like they would be super in the summer too.

  • sara says:

    Wow! I love those holidays with a mix of Luxury & Adventure! Prairie Creek Inn looks so perfect for a relaxing week exploring nature! We are going to Canada in August so I will have it in mind!

  • Matthew Hirtes says:

    I’m a big fan of street art but those buffaloes are pretty special. They’d really brighten up my hike. Along with the amazing natural scenery.

  • Meg Jerrard says:

    This looks amazing! Thanks for the tip – we’re heading through in May, so while we probably wont have as much snow as you have pictured, I imagine it would sitll be a phenomenal stay in summer. Thanks!

  • Cate Prag says:

    I am planning a trip from Crescent Falls to Vancouver. I would prefer to take a couple of days and explore.. can you tell me what might be the ‘must sees’ on our route? Thank you! Your pictures are spectacular!

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