THE COWBOY TRAIL
One of my favourite drives is the Cowboy Trail, which meanders through such small towns as Longview and Black Diamond, and wanders along beside the foothills, with great vistas across rolling fields to the mountains. The Cowboy Trail is actually Highway 22, tucked in between Highway 2 and the Rockies. We travelled south from 22X to the Crowsnest Pass.
For some great trivia on the Cowboy Trail, and off-the-beaten-path places to visit as well as suggested restaurants and accommodation, take a look at The Cowboy Trail by D. Larraine Andrews. For instance, did you know that the Sarcee name for Black Diamond is klas-hlath-tidi, meaning white mud, while the name, Black Diamond, refers to the abundant black coal found in the area? Or would you like a recipe for Bread Pudding and Whiskey Sauce from Memories Inn in Longview or perhaps Butterflied Prairie Oysters from Rusty Luca of Lucasis Ranch?
A tip from one of our CPL staff members - "We had dinner at the Longview Steakhouse a couple of weeks ago. My husband said the salmon was delicious. It is owned by the Belmoufid family and located at 102 Morisson Road, Longview, right beside the Esso. The phone number is 403-558-200. It is a bit pricey compared to stopping in for a burger at the hotel, but is good food. They let us in even after we were out in the woods for 4 - 5 days." And, of course, the restaurant is noted for its steak dinners.
Among the many places to visit along the trail is the historic Bar U Ranch. Some of the more well-known names associated with the Bar U are John Ware, the Sundance Kid, H.R.H. Edward Prince of Wales and two of the founders of the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede - George Lane and Patrick Burns.
Visit the Cowboy Trail Tourist Association site for more places to go, things to do and a map.
Marcin, a CPL staffer, suggests that the adventurous traveller take the Forestry Trunk Road from 22X to Coleman. (This is Highway 40). It's a maintained gravel road. Some sections are excellent (smooth,good visibility) and you can safely travel at 80 km/h. Some others are not as good (limited visibility, pot holes especially near the texas gates). The road condition also depends on the season. These roads tend to deteriorate in the fall and get fixed in the spring. It's a great access road to numerous hikes in the Highwood/Cataract area. (The same road also goes north towards Nordegg.)
Best of all, when you get to the Crowsnest Pass and Highway 3, there is lots more to see and do. More about that next time.
For books on exploring Southern Alberta, choose the tag, staycations.