Experience Medicine Hat
The town of Walsh is located adjacent to the Trans Canada Highway, just west of the Alberta/Saskatchewan border. The friendly staff in the Travel Alberta Visitor Information Centre here are eager to answer your questions.
Medicine Hat is strategically located 40 minutes west of Walsh on Hwy 1, at the eastern terminus of the Crowsnest Highway (Hwy 3). Its location has served it well for more than 125 years. Historically, Medicine Hat was a railroad town, one of three important hubs that served the Canadian Pacific Railway as it helped to “Open the West” in the 1880s.
Today, “The Hat” has a population of 63,000 and it is referred to as Canada’s sunniest city. It is still strategically located for travellers, about 2 hours west of Swift Current and 3 hours east of Calgary. If you want to visit several of the attractions in southeast Alberta, consider using Medicine Hat as your hub, from which many are easily accessible as day trips.
If you wish to linger, Medicine Hat offers some very good accommodations. The most visible landmark here is the world’s tallest tepee! Originally constructed for the Calgary ‘88 Olympics, this 20 storey structure is a tribute to Canada’s First Nations people. History buffs will want to tour the Medalta Potteries factory which will be celebrating its 105th birthday in 2017. Explore this National Historic Site at your own pace with the help of a costumed interpretive guide.
The Crowsnest Highway is the most southerly of three major roadways that link the Prairies to the Pacific. Referred to often as simply “The Crow”, it runs through Lethbridge, westward to the Crowsnest Pass, at the British Columbia (B.C.) border.
With a population of 92,000, Lethbridge is the 4th largest city in Alberta and perhaps the windiest city in Canada. Located just 2 hours west of “The Hat”, Lethbridge is only one hour from the Canada/USA border. American visitors often arrive in Lethbridge from Montana via Hwys 15 and 4 through the Coutts border crossing. The history of Lethbridge is steeped in aboriginal Culture. If this appeals, visit Fort Whoop-Up and be sure to stop at Fort Macleod.
Fort Macleod, home of the Museum of the North-West Mounted Police, is one of the oldest communities in Alberta. The popular Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is 30 minutes northwest of Fort Macleod.
If you make it to the Crowsnest Pass, be sure to visit the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre and explore the Bellevue Coal Mine. From here, it’s a short drive south from Pincher Creek to the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. For more info pick up a copy of our sister publication, Experience the Mountain Parks. Or, if you are heading north, select a copy of Experience the Cowboy Trails and follow Hwy 22 from Hwy 1 at Lundbreck Falls.