September 16, 2021

Veterinarian Daily News

Veterinarian Daily News

30 of the Best Things to Do During Summer in Medicine Hat and Palliser Region

16 min read

Red Rock Coulee; Credit: Kevin Jones/Flickr

Covering the southeastern corner of the province of Alberta, the Palliser region is rich in history and gorgeous natural areas. There are plenty of places to explore – from tiny villages to big cities, from farmland and rural museums to state-of-the-art facilities. Explore the outdoors by hiking, biking, boating, fishing or golfing. Have some indoor time at one of the many museums. Drive the highways and byways to discover all the beauty and wonders of this amazing region.

Palliser Region; Credit: Palliser Economic Partnership

Red Rock Coulee

 

This Provincial Natural Area is a stunningly unique place to visit this summer. Located near Medicine Hat, the off-the-beaten-track area is well known to those who live around here, but a well-kept secret for those travellers from other areas. The 800-acres are home to the unusual, pre-historic red rock formations, some of which are over 8 feet across (2.5 meters), putting them among the largest sandstone concretions in the world. If you like to hike, there is an opportunity to get out and stretch your legs for awhile here, and if you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a beautifully unique pronghorn, mule deer or rabbits. Be aware that there are rattlesnakes and rare northern scorpions in this zone. Details

Directions

 

See the World’s Largest Teepee and Explore an Archeological Site

The incredible Saamis Tepee is actually the tallest tepee in the world and can be found right in the city of Medicine Hat. This tribute to the native heritage was originally built for the Calgary 1988 Olympics. Entirely made of steel, this excellent site provides visitors with a chance to learn about the heritage and history of the First Nations of the area with informative, storytelling panels and displays. Below the Tepee lays one of the Northern Plains archaeological sites – the Saamis Archaeological Site. There is a great self-guided walking tour that will show you all about this area, which was once a buffalo camp and meat processing site. Experts believe over 83 million artifacts are buried at the site. You will need anywhere from a half-hour to a couple of hours to enjoy this site. Details

Directions

Catch the Big One by Medicine Hat

The South Saskatchewan River is the perfect place to try your hand casting for Alberta’s largest game fish – the powerful sturgeon. Prepare yourself for the fight of your life, because these fish don’t give in easily. There are more varieties of fish to throw a hook for as well, including walleye, sauger, goldeye, pike, mooneye, and burbot. If you don’t have your own boat or equipment, you can partake of an amazing fishing opportunity with one of the local operators, such as Alberta Sturgeon Fishing Adventures or Real Adventures.

The Medalta Museum

This fantastic museum is located in the city of Medicine Hat. Having been an industrial factory in a previous lifetime, this museum is located in the historic Clay District in the city, now a National Historic Site. Currently, the complex is being used as a great exhibit space with interactive displays that guide you through the historic process of pottery making, introduces you to artists-in-residence and display old and new pottery. There is a lot to discover here, including the historic brick factory. Allow for a couple of hours to truly enjoy the site. Details

Directions

 

Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre

Another fantastic visitor experience to be had in Medicine Hat, this Heritage Centre is home to an incredible art gallery and museum. One of the newest additions to the Medicine Hat cultural scene, this Centre came into being in 2005 and hosts an incredible number of arts and culturally based exhibits and shows. Details

Directions

 

Echo Dale Regional Park

Rated as the best park within Medicine Hat, if you are up for a sunny day of lying on the beach or swimming in a cool lake, this is the destination for you. There are hiking trails to explore, a campground to stay in, and a concession to enjoy. The boating lake is fantastic for getting out on the water and catching some rainbow trout. You can even visit a historic farm site located on the west side of the park, or let your kids spend time on the new playground. Whatever you choose to do here, it will make an enjoyable day. Details

Directions

Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park

This fabulous unique Interprovincial Park spans an area that covers southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan. There is much to see and do in this gorgeous park – camping, hiking, historical sites, wildlife viewing, mini-golf, water sports, fishing, zip-lining, biking, golf and more. (Some activities may take you into Saskatchewan.) There is so much to experience here that you will probably want to spend more than one day here. Details

 

Walking Tour of Historic Downtown Medicine Hat

On a beautiful day when you have plenty of time to explore, you may want to experience the walking tour of the Historic Downtown of the city of Medicine Hat. This is a bit of a walk, a total of 2.4 kilometers, but you can take your time and enjoy every historic step. The charming brick buildings that line gas lanterned streets are the perfect place for an afternoon stroll this summer. Learn about the oldest cinema building in Alberta, or check out the many murals on building sides and down back alleys. There are tons of places to eat and shop as well, so give yourself plenty of time to explore. Details

 

Etzikom Museum and Historical Windmill Center

This very unique museum and historical site is located about 100 kilometers outside of Medicine Hat along the Red Coat Trail. Featuring restored windmills which encompass over 200 years of Canadian wind power, the outdoor section of this Centre is incredible. Don’t forget to check out the indoor museum area though, with their interesting, interactive displays and exhibits from different time periods, and which feature pioneer life, First Nations artefacts, fossils, petroglyphs, along with a historic church. Details

Directions

 

 

Prairie Memories Museum

A lovely little museum located in Irvine, approximately 35 kilometers from Medicine Hat, this is a stop that anyone interested in the rural history of the province should make. Portraying the pioneer life on the prairies, the buildings and exhibits of artefacts let you step back in time to experience life back then. Buildings include a schoolhouse, church, and lumber store, among others. Details

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Bassano Dam

Built during a four-year span from 1910 to 1914, Bassano Dam is not only an interesting historic site to visit, but also provides excellent views of the dam and the river valley. There is a picnic site that can be enjoyed, or take along your fishing gear to drop in a line below the dam, where there is some excellent fishing to be had. If you like, you can even arrange a tour of the dam! Details

Directions

 

Majorville Cairn and Medicine Wheel

This fantastic site marks a ceremonial site of the Blackfoot peoples, and archeologists have found that this particular site has been used for more than 4,500 years. The wheel consists of a central cairn, 28 spokes and an outer ring of stones. A significant number of artefacts have been found here over the years, including evidence of teepee ring sites nearby. This site is still considered sacred, so please respect it when visiting. Details

Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park

Just a short drive from Calgary, this historic park is the site of the signing of Treaty No. 7. The Park is dedicated to showcasing the Siksika Nation’s language, culture and traditions. Inside their eco-friendly museum, you can learn how the Siksika First Nation culture developed. There are interesting interactive exhibits, along with a chance to taste traditional indigenous foods at the on-site restaurant, and the gift shop features locally made products. You may find that you are treated to a dance or craft demonstration, or take an indoor guided tour with a local Siksika interpreter. You will also want to spend some time outdoors, where you can enjoy a self-guided tour of the numerous historic sites. Details

Directions

 

White Barn Fun Farm

The perfect place to visit this summer if you have kids tagging along, the Fun Farm offers visitors a chance to get up close and personal with their animals. This is a premium interactive animal experience that kids and adults of all ages will enjoy. You can book a tour of the farm with one of the family members or workers, if you want to learn more about how the farm runs or any of the animals. Take along cash for your entrance fee or be prepared to send an e-transfer, as no debit or credit is accepted at the property. Details

Directions

Dinosaur Provincial Park

Approximately 50 kilometers from Brooks you come across one of the most incredible provincial parks in Alberta. Dinosaur Provincial Park is a wonderful destination for those looking for some unique landscapes or an outdoor activity. This UNESCO Heritage Site, along with having some of the most stunning badlands scenery, also contains some of the most important fossil discoveries ever made from the ‘Age of Reptiles’, in particular about 35 species of dinosaur, dating back some 75 million years. There have been more than 150 complete dinosaur skeletons uncovered here. There are trails to explore, campgrounds to stay in, and tours that can be taken if you want to learn more about this fascinating area. Details

Directions

Brooks Aqueduct

This Provincial Historic Site was built between 1912 and 1914 and is a fascinating look into the history of how irrigation systems were built and used in the area. Enjoy the self-guided walking trail, with its informative panels to learn more about this impressive structure. Admission is by donation. Remember to put on a good pair of walking shoes, don some sunscreen and take along some bug repellent. Details

Directions

 

Lake Newell – Kinbrook Island Provincial Park

Definitely, one of the province’s best-kept secrets, the Provincial Park’s area includes islands on Lake Newell which are nesting areas for double-crested cormorants and white pelicans. This is a birder’s paradise. Check out the interpretive marsh trail by the campground to learn all about the species of birds commonly found in the area. You can also spend some time on the lake fishing or enjoying water sports. Powerboats are allowed here, but check out the restrictions before popping your boat on the water. Details

Directions

25 Things to Do in Newell County

 

Red Roof Studio

Another fantastic reason to visit the town of Duchess, this locally owned and operated art studio provides visitors to the town a great place to check out works from local artists. The owners show off their photography skills and other beautiful works, and you can even take an art class. Other talented locals provide crafts, art, sculptures and more for purchase. If you like, arrange an art weekend by staying at their on-site bed and breakfast and arranging an art party. Details

Directions

 

EID Historical Park

This interesting historical park was originally set up by some local farmers and residents who wanted to preserve the history of the people who settled and helped shape the area. There is a total of 17-acres here, including the first ever grain elevator in Alberta to be declared a historical resource. Farm equipment, a variety of buildings, the first fire truck from Scandia, and much more await you at this fun park. Please note they are not open on Mondays and Tuesdays. Details

Directions

 

Brooks & District Museum

Dedicated to the preservation of the history and artifacts of the Brooks area, if you like museums this one is well worth a visit. Built back in 1974, the museum has an incredible seven acres of historical buildings and items to learn about. The museum is organized to be a “Walk Through The Ages”, with the collection including exhibits portraying the ranchers, the war years, the N.W.M.P., the Canadian Pacific Railroad, and the Eastern Irrigation District. The museum also houses displays recognizing the early ranching community including John Ware, the first black cowboy; the oil industry; and the Sutherland Colony. Details

Directions

Redcliff Historical and Museum Society

This fairly new (built in 1981) museum features all you would like to know about the Redcliff area. The town has a surprisingly rich history, including coal mining, tornados and the local businesses which have been built and thrived here. There is an extensive archive that can be used for family research if you happen to be from the area. This volunteer-run museum is an excellent example of how a community can come together with a single goal of preserving the past. Check their Facebook page for open days and hours. Details

Directions

 

Bow Island Roadside Attractions

If you are driving through or around Bow Island, you should definitely take some time to check out all the cool roadside attractions in the area. The Bow Island region has an incredible number of roadside sites to take pics in front of, including an Oil Derrick, some very large Sunflowers, a statue called Pinto Macbean (due to the beans grown in the area), the World’s Largest Putter, a very cool Dinosaur, a Buffalo Weather Vane, and even some Cacti. If you are looking for another roadside attraction in the southern zone, Brooks has one of a Helmet Lizard!

Fishing in the Forty Mile Coulee Reservoir

Try your hand at catching a big one in this reservoir this summer! With Walleye, Northern Pike, Yellow Perch, Lake Whitefish and Burbot swimming here, you have a pretty good chance at catching something. Bait is allowed and fishing is allowed from May 8th. The reservoir is 11 kilometers long and you can get some good-sized fish here if you are patient. You don’t need a boat, although it’s handy to have one, but you can also fish from shore here. Don’t forget your fishing license. If you would like to stay, there is plenty of camping here as well. Directions

Directions

 

Hanna Roundhouse

This 1913 Canadian Northern Railway Roundhouse is a historical treasure and an incredibly unique site. Originally built as a railway servicing and storage building, you can now tour the Roundhouse with a volunteer to learn about the important historical aspect of the building and the railroad. While it was built with ten stalls originally, five more were added by 1921. It is constructed with poured concrete, and later additions were added in brick. It was closed in 1961 due to its inability to house the new larger diesel locomotives. After its closure by the railway, it was used by a farm manufacturing firm, and then a cattle auction market. It even makes an appearance in Nickelback’s “Photograph” music video. Details

Directions

Oyen Crossroads Museum

As with most of the small-town museums, this one tells the story of the settlers who came to this area to homestead and live. Consisting of nine original buildings, focusing on specific areas with interesting artifacts from both the pioneers and pre-settlement days. There is even some farm equipment to view, and an escape room has been added for the pleasure of visitors. Details

Directions

Milk River Natural Area

The beautiful rolling grasslands of this wilderness area offer backcountry hikers an opportunity to get off the beaten track. The grasslands are cut through with deep canyons, valleys, and coulees, and flanked with rugged badlands. There are many streams, springs and oxbow lakes throughout this lovely natural area. Hundreds of species of native plants and animals, some of which are very rare in Canada, are found here. The site also contains many geological features including one of only five igneous rock dykes known on the Canadian plains, as well as several fossil and archaeological sites. Details

Directions

Hanna Walking Tour

You can choose to walk, or drive, the short distance in Hanna that will take you through the history of this railroad town. Starting at the caboose and Visitor Information Centre, you can follow the footsteps of the early railroaders to the town that grew into a centre for railway traffic. The route takes you to the Four Corners in downtown Hanna, where the coming of the rail line sparked real estate speculation, new business and big dreams. Continuing on, you walk through the residential district to see the homes of Hanna’s settlers before entering the Pioneer Village and Museum. Details

Hanna Pioneer Museum & Village

You can continue the journey into the past from the walking tour of the town to this interesting Pioneer Museum and Village. Volunteers will be happy to guide you through the decades of history, as you discover a full block of historic buildings filled with interesting antiques and turn of the century artefacts. This is something that every visitor to Hanna should experience. Details

Directions

 

Veteran Museum

The Village of Veteran has its own museum. Yes, that’s right, the Veteran Museum. If you Google this you are likely to get a long list of museums dedicated to the veterans of Alberta and much to do with the war years. However, this is not the basis of this particular museum, which is simply named after the town itself. The origins of the settlers in this area are varied, and the nearby Nose Hill was once a meeting place during the second North-West Rebellion, so the history here is interesting and unique. Details

Directions

Prairie Elevator Museum

Since 1991, the grain elevator in Acadia Valley has served as a historical museum and tea room for visitors to enjoy. Only open in July and August, you can take a peek at the still working equipment in the elevator and learn about the history of these impressive structures. Step next door into an Eaton’s catalogue house for some tea and snacks before or after your visit to the elevator. Details

Directions

Catalogue House Drive Tour

The phenomena of catalogue houses stretched through the 1910’s and 1920’s, when lumber was scarce on the prairies and mail order houses became popular throughout the province.

Eaton’s, based in Winnipeg, recognized a valuable opportunity and began offering houses through their catalogue, with everything included, such as the plans, lumber, hardware, and even the glazing, in the form of a build-your-own-house kit that was delivered to the nearest railway station.

This driving tour takes you by the catalogue houses between Empress and Oyen. Most of the houses are private residences, with the exception being the Pioneer House at the Oyen Museum site and the Tea House associated with the Prairie Elevator Museum in Acadia Valley. Maps are available at That’s Empressive, a Tea House in Acadia Valley, Prairie Bells B & B in Oyen, the Oyen Pioneer Museum and at the Tourist Information Kiosk at the junction of Highways 9 and 41, as well as the link below. Details

Golf Courses

 

Medicine Hat Golf Courses

The city of Medicine Hat offers some great opportunities for golfers of all abilities to get out and hit a few balls along the pretty and unique courses here. There are six courses to play at in the city or the surrounding area – Connaught Golf Club, Cottonwood Coulee Golf Course, Desert Blume Golf Course, Medicine Hat Golf and Country Club, Paradise Valley Golf Course, and Riverview Golf Club. Grab your clubs and spend a day or six enjoying the links!

Rolling Hills Golf & Country Club

Located at the edge of the town of the same name, this is a fantastic 9-hole course that is suitable to any golfer, no matter their experience. You can usually get a tee time on short notice, and they do even accept walk ins (although calling ahead is always recommended). Take some time to enjoy the course and then sit back and relax in their full-service clubhouse restaurant. Details

Directions

Duchess Golf Club

Located by the tiny town of Duchess, this is a challenging course with lovely long holes, lots of water and sand features and extremely reasonable rates. Take advantage of the country golf course and lower prices than the city courses and choose to play an entertaining 9 holes or 18 holes. Details

Directions

Brooks Golf Club

A perfect place to spend a morning or afternoon hitting some balls, Brooks Golf Club is more than just a standard golf course. Along with a fantastic 18-hole course, with more than 6,500 yards of hitting distances, this golf club also has a large area dedicated to their driving range with both mat and grass tee areas. As well, they have a large putting green and a chipping and pitching area to help you perfect your golf skills. Enjoy the beauty of the prairies while making your way around this lovely course. Details

Directions

Bow Island Golf Club

An unexpected gem of a course in the Bow Island area, this relatively inexpensive golfing opportunity lets players of all ages enjoy a round or two. This 9-hole course is well maintained and popular for visitors, so you probably want to book a tee time in advance. With long, green fairways and decently challenging greens, you may find yourself wanting to return every weekend. Details

Directions

Sage & Thistle Golf Course

Located in Bassano, this 18-hole golf course is situated in a lovely area. The long fairways are flanked by lots of trees and dotted with waterways. An inexpensive option for golfers, you may be able to walk up to get a tee time, but reserving in advance is certainly recommended. This is a course designed for all skill levels and every golfer will enjoy the pretty surroundings. There are golf carts that can be rented, and a licensed clubhouse to enjoy before or after your round. Details

Directions

Meadows Executive Par 3 Golf Course

Another lovely golf course located in Brooks, this Par 3 is perfect for those inexperienced golfers, or those who don’t have time to play a longer game. The course measures 1,320 yards from the longest tees and features three sets of tees for players different skill levels. This oasis on the prairie is a 9-hole course, with a great pro-shop, clubhouse, lessons and more. Details

Directions

Desert Blume Golf Club

This premier golf club offers players a chance to golf in pristine desert conditions in southern Alberta. This 18-hole course is considered world-class as it has hosted many tournaments over the years. Seasoned golfers will find enough challenge here that they will want to return throughout the summer months. Along with the fantastic course, you will find a pro-shop, licensed clubhouse, equipment and cart rentals, caddy services, and all the practice areas you could want. Don’t forget to take along some sunscreen, as this is an open course with few trees. Details

Directions

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