David Thompson Country
David Thompson Country is a network of wilderness parks in the Alberta Rockies region on the eastern slopes and foothills of the Canadian Rockies. This is a large region but its eastern boundary is about hour and a half drive west of Red Deer, along the David Thompson Highway (Highway 11).
Towns & villages
- − small hamlet and former coal mining town
- − small settlement west of Nordegg
The area derives its name from David Thompson, a British-Canadian fur trader, surveyor, and cartographer who mapped of North America. Thompson used Rocky Mountain House, a fur trading post, as a launching point to find passage to the Pacific Ocean, and traveled west through the area to the headwaters of the Columbia River.
Abraham LakeAn artificial lake along the North Saskatchewan River and Alberta's largest reservoir. The lake has the blue color of other glacial lakes in the Rocky Mountains. During the winter, trapped methane from decaying plants on the lake bed causes frozen bubbles to form under the ice on the lake's surface. This phenomenon creates bubbles that become trapped within the ice, in suspended animation, just below the surface as the lake begins to freeze.
address: 4002 Stuart Street, NordeggThe Brazeau Collieries Historic Mine Site is a Provincial and National Historic Resource; guided tours of this industrial coal mine site during the summer months. Tours are two-hour-long guided walks. Journey through a 1950s coal briquette plant or tour the auxiliary buildings to discover how this remote facility operated and go into a mine entrance. Tours of the Brazeau Collieries Historic Mine Site start at the Nordegg Heritage Centre.
Crescent FallsA series of two waterfalls located on the Bighorn River. Camping and hiking available.
Ram Fallsphone: +1 403-845-8349Camping and hiking available. There is no drinking water or firewood available on site, so please plan ahead and bring your own before you visit. Cellphone reception is also very limited in Ram Falls Provincial Park, so it is best to print a map instead of relying on GPS.
Kootenay Plains Ecological ReserveThe Kootenay Plains were visited by David Thompson in the early 1800's. The area has long been important to Aboriginal people; several sundance lodges are located on the plains. The reserve protects an area that is significant for historical, native and environmental reasons while the nearby Kootenay Plains Provincial Recreation Area provides a basecamp from where to explore it. Activities include birding and backcountry hiking, including a 5-km trail from the day use parking area to Siffleur Falls. Public access in the reserve is restricted to foot only and overnight camping and open fires are prohibited in Ecological Reserves.
HikingDavid Thompson Country offers numerous hiking opportunities for both day and overnight excursions.
- Horseback riding
phone: +1 403-721-7433address: Cline RiverFamily run outfit with a 50 year history of guiding unique Wilderness Horseback Vacations into some of the most untouched and spectacular wilderness of the Canadian Rockies. McKenzie’s offers a variety of hourly trail rides in scenic locations, a genuine Cowboy BBQ, as well as host a variety of special events.
phone: +1 403-844-0408Offers day rides, back-country and base camp cabin rentals, camping available.
Miners' Cafephone: +1 403-721-2277address: 3 Stuart St, NordeggFamous for its pies, also serves soup and sandwiches. Closed Wednesdays.
phone: +1 403-721-2103address: Cline RiverFeatures a 45 unit hotel, a 108 site campground with showers, washrooms, firewood and laundry, as well as fully serviced cabins. Fuel and restaurant on site.
phone: +1 403-721-2117Eco-tourism country inn and cabin in the Rocky Mountains, close to Banff National Park. Overlooking Abraham Lake, the lodge is surrounded by mountains and forests. Open year-round, we offer rooms in the lodge with partial meal service or self-contained units in our cabin and apartment, for guests wishing to prepare their own meals.
phone: +1 403-721-2230address: 205 Grouse Meadow Lane, NordeggEach cabin is self-contained with a fully equipped kitchen and bathroom, electric heat, wood-burning stove, propane BBQ, and private deck. There are 3 cabins available for short or long term stays. No wi-fi.
phone: +1 403-550-4682address: 305 Shunda Creek Road, Nordegg
phone: +1 403-721-2140address: 321 Shunda Creek Road, Nordegg
address: NordeggSeveral properties to choose from, All properties have wood burning fireplaces and outdoor fire pits and are a great home base for exploring the West Country on foot, bike, skis, horse, quad, or snowmobile.
David Thompson Highway
Beaverdam Provincial Recreation AreaSmall, quiet campground has access to canoeing, kayaking, and hiking, or head downstream to find a good fishing hole.
Dry Haven Provincial Recreation AreaSmall campground has open and treed sites suitable for tents and RVs. Fishing and hiking opportunities abound in the surrounding area.
Fish Lake Provincial Recreation AreaOver 100 sites, including power, unserviced, waterfront and pull-through sites. You may canoe or boat using an electric motor on the lake, which is stocked with rainbow trout. There is hiking, mountain biking, swimming, and access to OHV trails in the area.
Goldeye Lake Provincial Recreation AreaGoldeye Lake is a popular with canoeing, swimming and excellent fishing. Nearby hiking trails include Coliseum Mountain, Baldy Mountain, Bighorn River at Crescent Falls and Siffleur Falls.
Kootenay Plains Provincial Recreational AreaThe Kootenay Plains are significant for local Aboriginals because of the grave sites located on the plains. The nearby ecological reserve protects the area's unique grassland vegetation.
Saunders Provincial Recreation AreaThis recreation area (accessible by road and water) provides access to the North Saskatchewan River for canoes, kayaks, rafts and river boats. The trip to Rocky Mountain House takes approximately 8 hours by canoe.
Thompson Creek Provincial Recreation AreaOn the banks of the North Saskatchewan River in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. There are over 50 well-treed sites, suitable for RVs and tents. A trail leads to scenic views of the river valley.
Forestry Trunk Road
Aylmer Provincial Recreation AreaUnserviced campsites but be prepared getting here with a vehicle that is capable for winding gravel roads. Situated next to the North Saskatchewan River, Aylmer is an excellent site for canoeists looking to start their journey or have a break on their trip along the river.
Brown Creek Provincial Recreation Areasmall, treed campground provides opportunities for activities in the surrounding area: fishing, mountain biking, OHV trails (outside the recreation area), wildlife viewing and backcountry skiing.
Elk Creek Provincial Recreation AreaSmall unserviced campground, fishing nearby at the Elk Creek Fish Pond
Peppers Lake Provincial Recreation AreaSmall campground has quiet, treed sites with close lake access. Go fishing or tour the shoreline by canoe or electric powered boat. An equestrian staging area is located 2 km away.
phone: +1 403-845-8349Over 50 sites and is a mix of first come, first served sites and sites available for reservation. The first come, first served sites are self-registration, so make sure to bring cash or cheque if you plan to take advantage of them. The campground has vault toilets, and there is no firewood or drinking water available on site. As the evenings can get quite chilly in the early and later parts of the season, it is advised that you bring an ample supply of firewood.