Hidden Gems: Rocky Mountain House Historic Site Hiking
There are a number of paths you can take on a visit to Rocky Mountain House, several specifically in their National Historic Site just 6 km west of town.
As they say, “follow in the footsteps of Indigenous Peoples, fur traders, trappers, and legendary explorers David Thompson and Charlotte Small,” as you trek around these sites at the roots of the Canadian fur trade.
Along with protecting pieces of history across 500+ acres of land, it provides a safe home for numerous species of animal, from the free flying mountain bluebird, to a paddock of regal plains bison.
But! No matter if they’re behind a fence or sniffing around your shoes, these are all still wild animals. Do not approach or feed them under any circumstances.
Length: 0.8 km loop
Circling the archeological remains of two Hudson’s Bay Company forts (check out them chimneys), you can enjoy listening stations featuring interpretive panels and stories exploring the history of the area as you traverse forest and field.
Fun Fact! The field is actually a graveyard, the resting place of 26 First Nation and European people involved with the fort and fur trading between 1799-1875. A plaque marking the site states: “Creator has raised them upon Eagle’s wings and carried them home on the breath of dawn. May all that pass, pause and bow their heads in respect.”
David Thompson Trail
Length: 3.2 km loop
This riverside track heads to the oldest fort sites, including the first built in 1799 by the North West Company. A great mid length hike, you’ll discover historical facts and stories at each listening station along the banks of the North Saskatchewan River.
Petro Canada Bicentennial Trail
Length: 5 km, one way
Make a meal of this hike between the site and town of Rocky Mountain House, through the old growth forests, and whimsical aspens of Clearwater County. Make sure you wear good shoes!
Shared Access Trail
Length: 1 km, one way
This final hike is a paved trail between the Visitor Centre and Campground. Great for campers staying in the area, this access road is commonly used by everyone from hikers, bikers, locals walking their pets, and Parks Canada vehicles so make sure you stay aware at all times when sharing this road.
Keep in Mind
- Be weather aware! Bring water and an extra layer or two of clothing as necessary
- Remember to use sunscreen and insect repellant
- All pets must stay on leash and be cleaned up after
This historic site also has several picnic areas if you’re making a day of your visit, where you can catch a glimpse of the passing bison and listen to the rush of the North Saskatchewan River. Designated picnic tables and trash cans are on site for use so there’s no excuse to leave a mess! Forgot a snack? The Trading Post Gift Shop offers snacks and drinks for purchase.