Cochrane to Longview: approx. 105 km (65 mi)
The Cowboy Trail takes you on a journey through the heart of the old west. The trail starts in the north at Mayerthorpe, west of Edmonton and winds south on Hwy 22 through the high ranch country flanking the eastern slopes of the Rockies all the way to Cardston in the deep south. You can spend several days exploring this route, which covers 735 km (457 mi).
This trip focuses on the route from Cochrane, west of Calgary, south to Longview.
- From Calgary, head west on Hwy 1A to Cochrane, 36 km (22 mi). Stroll the main street with its old fashioned store fronts, shops and cafés. Nestled in the Bow River Valley, the town is famous for its MacKay’s Ice Cream. Walk off that triple chocolate cone along the footpaths that border the Bow River or hike up the hill to see the life-size iron statue of a rider and horse, the pride of the town.
- Head south on Hwy 22 for about 30 minutes to Bragg Creek, home to some excellent bakeries, fine restaurants, and craft shops. You are on the edge of Kananaskis Country and there are plenty of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
- Continue south 48 km (26 mi) to the town of Turner Valley, where oil was first discovered in 1936. Stroll the broad streets typical of so many prairie towns. Shop for authentic western arts and crafts.
- Just five minutes further down the road is the artisan town of Black Diamond, which along with Turner Valley boasts an emerging arts community. Many of the artisans have relocated from Calgary. Tour the galleries and shops. Have lunch in a 1950s style diner complete with a retro candy store.
- Save room for dessert and continue south 17 km (11 mi) to Longview. Stop in at Canadian country music legend, Ian Tyson’s Navajo Mug for the best homemade pie this side of anywhere! And no trip here would be complete without some treats from the famous Longview Jerky shop.
- Just west of the junction of Hwy 22 and Hwy 540, is The Bar U Ranch National Historic Site. Established in 1882, the ranch was visited by the likes of the Sundance Kid and H.R.H. Prince Edward of Wales. Take a horse-drawn wagon ride and tour this place that stands in tribute to the ranching history of western Canada.