Blazing Alberta’s Historic Mormon Trail is a historical adventure worth taking.
The Mormon Trail is typically thought of as a dirt trail winding the plains of Nebraska and scaling the Rockies of the West, but this historic path goes far beyond the Salt Lake Valley. Part of the Mormon Trail goes as far north as modern-day Glacier National Park in Montana, along the "Yellowstone to Banff" corridor. This branch of the Mormon Trail was forged in 1887 by one of the last covered wagon migrations--a group of 40 Mormons from Utah. Soon after, another group was sent north to construct Alberta’s first large irrigation works, the backbone of Southern Alberta’s agriculture.
Today, four cities founded by these pioneers along Canada’s Mormon Trail offer travelers fun opportunities to experience the history, scenery, and entertainment of Southern Alberta—no covered wagon required.
Start your journey along the Mormon Trail in Cardston, Alberta, home of the beautiful Cardston Temple and the Remington Carriage Museum. Minutes away from the Montana border and the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, Cardston offers a striking view of the mountains and exciting opportunities to explore the outdoors: river sports, great golf, trail rides, and mountain hikes are all minutes away.
Satisfy your inner pioneer by visiting the Remington Carriage Museum. The museum shows what wagon life was like through displays, lively interpreters, and over 250 horse-drawn vehicles. Cardston still offers the entertainment of the pioneers: music and dancing! On Main Street, enjoy a family-friendly musical at the Carriage House Theatre, but book ahead—most shows sell out. Relive the fun of a barn dance, the highlight of a pioneer’s week, at the Great Canadian Barn Dance; or take a beautiful horseback ride in the meadows on a hundred-year-old ranch, both in the rolling countryside near Cardston (www.gcbd.ca or www.mountainmeadowtrailrides.com).
Hitch up your wagon, grab your cowboy hat, and follow the Mormon Trail east toward the little town of Raymond, home of Alberta’s first rodeo. With a population of 3800, Raymond offers a tight-knit community with activities for the whole family. The Aquatic Center provides water slides and diving boards for those hot and tired from a day on the dusty trail.
Raymond also offers a golf course, ice arena, and motorcycle park, but don’t forget to live the history of this pioneer city. The Raymond Pioneer Museum chronicles the lives of the early settlers. The Ridge Park Campground, on the shore of Ridge Reservoir, offers experiences the pioneers could never have dreamed of. Make the most out of your Alberta experience and enjoy camping, boating, picnicking, windsurfing, and fishing in the reservoir.
Don’t get too settled—it’s on to Stirling. Even though the town hosts exactly one gas station/deli/store, it has many historical sites, including a restored railway station, the Galt Historic Railway Park, and the Michelsen Farmstead. In fact, the whole town is considered a National Historic Site due to its well preserved ‘Plat of Zion’ layout. Rest your hide and feed your troops at the Country Barn Bed and Breakfast and have a frighteningly good time at Stirling’s famous Haunted Mansion.
Finish your trail blazing in Magrath, founded by Mormon irrigation and railway workers in 1899. This little oasis has the motto: "Uniting to build the world’s greatest community. Welcome. Home." Feel at home at Magrath’s eighteen-hole golf course—one of the few places for Sunday eating and drinking on the trail. Campers and picnickers will not be disappointed by the bird watching or leopard frog hunting opportunities along the Galt Canal path system. Here, the Covered Wagon RV Park provides a perfect central location for exploring both ends of the trail.
Experience Canada’s Mormon Trail 21st-century-style by choosing to stay in the quaint South Country Inn or Covered Wagon RV Park. Vacation packages are available through www.themormontrail.ca and include accommodations and entertainment passes with Mountain Meadow Trail Rides or the Great Canadian Barn Dance, and admission coupons for the Raymond and Remington Museums.