The bison and the Aboriginals have always known the shallow crossing in the Red Deer River was the passage between Alberta’s north and south. A trading post was built on this strategic spot and a permanent settlement mushroomed around it. The old river crossing grew to become Red Deer, Alberta’s third largest city.
Smack in the middle between Edmonton and Calgary, Red Deer is teeming with nature, culture and outdoor adventure. Rolling hills of aspen parkland are carved into deep canyons by the timeless forces of the Red Deer River. Wander along its banks on 100 km (62 mi) of trails, or uphold the local summer tradition of floating down the river on an inner tube.
Check out Red Deer’s vibrant arts scene of galleries, theatres and live music. Savour the local delicacies of farm raised bison or elk. Get ready to revel – there’s always a party in Red Deer, celebrating local history, heritage, even asparagus.
Rebels. Rodeos. Rivers. Revel. Here’s your insider Red Deer checklist!
Arts, Culture & History
Wander through the Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery to view its 85,000-piece collection, which includes clothing and textiles and First Nations and Inuit art. Milk the cow, feed the chickens, bake bread and discover life on the farm in 1905 at the Sunnybrook Farm Museum.
Westerner Days is Red Deer’s biggest shindig, hands down. Dust off your cowboy hat and join 100,000 Albertans for the festivities. A week of rodeo, livestock shows, parades, food, exhibits, rides and concerts. Woohoo!
Share the passion for hockey and cheer on the local boys at a Red Deer Rebels WHL hockey game. Call the plays from the press box or accept the challenge of a wheelchair race. The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is an interactive tribute to Alberta’s phenomenal contribution to the world of sports. Ski and board day and night at Canyon Ski Resort, Alberta’s biggest ski hill outside the Canadian Rockies.
Explore nature and history in Waskasoo Park with 85 km (53 mi) of hiking trails along the Red Deer River and Piper and Waskasoo creeks. Explore the Kerry Wood Nature Centre and Gaetz Lake Sanctuary on 300 acres with two oxbow lakes, bird blinds and viewing decks. Wander around historic Fort Normandeau. Rent a paddle boat at Bower Ponds, or take a trail ride through a country retreat in the heart of the city at Heritage Ranch.
Just 25 km (15 mi) west of town, Sylvan Lake is a beach-goer's haven in summer and a classic Canadian adventure in winter. When the weather’s hot be sure to visit Wild Rapids Waterslide Park. Work up to the zero gravity Sidewinder by starting with the speed slides, whitewater rides and tower slides.
More curious than ever about the region’s people, parties, landscapes and adventures? Discover the nearby towns of Lacombe, Innisfail, Olds and Stettler. You’ve only scratched the surface of Central Alberta.