Home » Canadian Rockies Hiking Guide » Kalyna Country in the Canadian Rockies
An amazing eco-tourism area located in east central Alberta, the region was home to the largest settlement of Ukrainians and Eastern Europeans in Canada. Stretching from Edmonton to Saskatchewan, this unique Canadian Rockies travel destination measures over 20,000 square km in size. It is difficult to see everything in one trip, so I’ve created two possible loops that you can take on separate occasions.
The first is a short journey leaving from Edmonton east along Highway 16 to Elk Island National Park. This is a famous wildlife sanctuary and home of the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, an open air museum that is a perfect replica of the past. Here, actors enact old world traditions in fascinating interactive settings. Next, head over to Mundare where you will see the world’s largest sausage. No kidding! Then hop over to Vegreville where you’ll see the world’s largest Ukrainian Easter egg. Don’t forget to take pictures or the folks at home will never believe you! From here take Highway 45 to Highway 15 where you will pass through Fort Saskatchewan and then back to northeast Edmonton.
Your second option will take a few more days of exploration. Go southeast from Edmonton on Highway 14 through Strathcona County. Bring your clubs and enjoy the Jack Nicklaus golf course. In the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area and Strathcona Wilderness Centre you will find excellent hiking trails where the wildlife abounds, so be sure to make time for lots of outdoor activities.
Continuing east you will arrive at Tofield and Beaverhill Lake, one of the best bird watching locations where over 200 species of birds can be found. You will then travel to Viking, the hometown of the National Hockey League’s Sutter brothers. Driving past waving fields of wheat and rambling ranches, you should then stop in Wainwright where you can visit the Railway Park Museum. Head north on Highway 41 to Vermilion to visit the Heritage Museum and then continue to Elk Point where you’ll see the enormous statue of Peter Fidler, one of the early Canadian Rockies explorers. Don’t bypass Fort George Buckingham House where you can visit the 1700s trading post that was part of Canada’s illustrious history.
Press on to St. Paul, known for the world’s first UFO Landing Pad. From there go west on Highway 28 to find yourself in Smoky Lake. If it’s October, you’ll be lucky enough to witness the Championship Pumpkin Weigh-off, an important annual event. Then pop over to the south to visit the Victoria Settlement where you will see the oldest building in Alberta still standing on its original foundation.
Take Highway 28 back to Edmonton, stopping at Gibbons to take out your clubs again in order to enjoy the Goose Hummock Golf Resort.
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