We do spend a fair bit of time traveling or planning our next trip but we haven’t spent much time exploring our own province of Alberta. In late spring we decided to hit the road for a day trip south of Calgary. We had a goal of checking out Westwood in Black Diamond for lunch. We had seen some of their recent sweet treats on Instagram, and since we are both blessed with a sweet tooth, we knew we had to check it out. Black Diamond is about 60km (36 miles) from downtown Calgary.
We also knew that while in the area we wanted to stop at Eau Claire Distillery in Turner Valley but that would be a late day stop. Turner Valley and Black Diamond are a mere 4km (1.5 miles) apart.
Obviously we needed something to do between those two stops to not feel like total gluttons. Since we were looking for something a little more active we landed on a hike in nearby Sheep River Provincial Park or Bluerock Wildland Provincial Park. Neither of us had been to either, so it felt like a great little adventure.
So on a beautiful Saturday morning, after a quick stop for coffee at Monogram Coffee, we hit the road. We made it to Black Diamond for lunch and the homemade doughnuts at Westwood did not disappoint.
We got back on the road to make our way to the find these provincial parks. As we approached, the scenery got more and more breathtaking.
Our first stop was when we saw a sign indicating a 2.2 km hike. That seemed like a reasonable distance given that we had already worked out in the morning and aren’t avid hikers. Either we followed the wrong trail or the sign was wrong but that hike lasted about 20 minutes. It did however bring us to a beautiful spot. Below is a picture of the end of the trail.
After that quick “hike”, we got back on the road and continued our drive through the park. We stopped a few more times where we saw other cars parked to see what there was to see. When we hit the end of the road we decided to stop there to explore a bit. It is a beautiful place with facilities, benches and fire pits on a first-come first-serve basis. It is a perfect place to set up for a picnic or for a gathering with friends and family. This stop is beside the Sheep River with the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, making it postcard worthy. To be completely honest, we have no idea where either one of the parks began and ended.
After such a long hike re-hydration was necessary. We made our way back to Black Diamond to check out the grand opening of Hard Knox Brewery. It is a family owned brewery right on the highway with great beer and friendly staff.
At this point we had worked up an appetite. Chuckwagon Café is right next door to Eau Claire distillery and has a legendary burger reputation. They were recently featured on You Gotta Eat Here. We dropped in to fill our bellies with delicious burgers and crispy fries before heading to Eau Claire Distillery to sample their spirits.
If you are in the Calgary area and looking for a trip somewhere a little off the beaten path and definitely less crowded than Canmore or Banff, but just a beautiful, the Sheep River Provincial Park and the Bluerock Wildland Provincial Park are great options. With lots of great food in Black Diamond and Turner Valley, you can’t go wrong!