Located right next to beautiful Highway 3, not too far from Crowsnest Pass, Pincher Creek often gets left out of a traveller’s itinerary. That’s just what happens when you’re so close to a major tourist attraction. People tend to just stop for gas and keep on going. This time, however, we decided to stay and uncover some of the hidden gems that make Pincher Creek a cool destination to visit.
Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village
The first place we visited was the Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village, which is home to 24 heritage buildings, two museums, a gift shop, and a visitor information centre. From the outside, it doesn’t look that big but as we explored the area, we were so impressed by how well it was all put together. We walked around a beautifully manicured and restored historical village, which rivaled some of the best we’d ever experienced. I love places like this because it’s a really interactive way of going back in time to a previous era. We got to walk inside restored vintage buildings, see classic cars, and learn some of Alberta’s history. I especially loved seeing both the old gas station and the old general store, which houses all sorts of products that would have been available at the time, including pharmaceuticals, baby carriages, and wedding dresses. Sometimes it’s truly incredible what hides behind a fence.
The Pincher Creek Cowboy Show
We were lucky to visit Pincher Creek on the day of the Cowboy Show and would highly recommend to anyone interested in rodeos. What I liked about this one is that it’s a small rodeo with “ranch cowboys” competing in a variety of rodeo-style events. What makes a “ranch cowboy” different from the cowboys you might see at a pro rodeo is that these cowboys actually make their living on ranches, rather than from rodeo performances. Here, they compete against other ranches as a way to have fun and show off their skills. We missed the first half of the event but got there in time to see them bucking horses and rounding cattle up to put them in moving trailers. We then toured the artisan market, which had local vendors and artists selling cowboy-style goods such as harnesses, ropes, and saddles. For anyone who loves the cowboy lifestyle, this is an event you don’t want to miss.
Visit the Cruise and Shine Show
If you’re going to the Cowboy Show, as per our recommendation, you should definitely check out the Cruise and Shine Show, which is held on the same day. This event attracts car lovers from all over the place, bringing their classic cars to show off. We spent a couple of hours looking around, gawking at the various classic Mustangs, Corvettes, and Bel-Airs. But the car that stood out the most for us was the AMX Experimental, which none of us had ever seen before. This gorgeous red muscle car was pristine from top to bottom, so much so that we sought out the owner to ask him some questions. He then explained that this car broke over 209 records when it came out in 1968, but was never really sold for regular use. That’s what I love the most about small towns. The people are open and friendly, eager to share their story with you.
Things To Do in Southern Alberta
If you’re looking to go much deeper into nature, we highly recommend visiting Castle Provincial Park, which is roughly 45-minutes from Pincher Creek. Not only is this a new Alberta park but it’s located right alongside the Canadian Rockies, making it a perfect place to go hiking, biking, fishing, or camping.
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