Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the fresh, coolness in the air, sleeping with the windows wide open, watching the brilliant sunrises and sunsets, and of course the amazing colours. It is a feeling of reset as we transition into routine and away from the long days of summer.
The changing season also brings a whole new opportunity to explore areas that are transformed by fall. Check out these five colourful spots, and some fantastic Canadian music, on your next day trip around Southeastern Alberta!
Distance from Medicine Hat: 50 Km (Approx. 40 minutes)
Song for the Road: “Nothing Like the Freedom” by Deborah Romeyn
Red Rock Coulee is one of the most unique places to visit at anytime, and tops the list of day trips for fall. An area that can be slippery in spring and hot in summer, it becomes an explorers dream in fall. The enormous red rocks create a striking pose against the golden brown of the landscape and the clear air often gives you an unmatched view to the distant Sweet Grass Hills. Pick up a lunch at Premium Sausage in Seven Persons, AB as you drive by, and plan to spend the day walking and exploring among the coulees and rocks. As always, leave no trace of your visit and go prepared to pack out what you pack in!
Distance from Medicine Hat: 65km (Approx. 50 minutes)
Song for the Road: “Ain't It Grand” by Gord Bamford
Cypress Hills is a year-round haven for outdoor enthusiasts, giving you a taste of the mountains in the midst of the prairies. Whether you are heading out to hike, bike, boat, fish or picnic, the stunning mix of vegetation and colours will add to your experience. You can immerse yourself in colour down any of the amazing forest trails, or you can enjoy the contrast of the lake and colours as you explore the lakefront boardwalk. Maps are available at the Visitor Center, and make sure you start or finish with a treat at the 12-34 Cafe!
Distance from Medicine Hat: 120km (Approx. 1 hour 15 minutes)
Song for the Road: “Barrett's Privateers” Stan Rogers
Kinbrook Island is a grand oasis on the prairies, popular with summer crowds looking to cool off at the beach. Often forgotten as the weather turns, Kinbrook Island is a fall paradise for a day trip or camping. The towering trees turn a bright golden yellow and the days are often calm, making boating a wonderful option on the lake. The park has wonderful, easy (and some accessible) trails that will take you along the waterfront or through the marsh and amongst the birds. The waterfront area boasts an incredible picnic area right beside the beach, so pack a lunch or your portable barbeque to relax and enjoy it!
Distance from Medicine Hat: 165 km (Approx. 1 hour 40 minutes)
Song for the Road: “This Moment That We're In” Kyle Church
Dinosaur Provincial Park in fall is stunning. The cottonwood trees that line the river bank are extra spectacular, and the treed campground puts on an equally stunning display. Dinosaur Park is another area that can get treacherous when wet and uncomfortable when hot, making fall the perfect time to go. There are many marked trails that are good for kids and families, as well as the area inside the ring road, which is open for imaginative exploring. Stop in the Cretaceous Cafe for some treats before you go!
Distance from Medicine Hat: 0 km. (Approx. 15 minutes to anywhere!)
Song for the Road: “Northern Girl” Terri Clark
Police Point Park is nothing new if you're a seasoned Hatter, but definitely a park that should be on your list of fall day trips. The park encompasses over 240 acres of natural area and is a haven for many species of wildlife. What makes a fall visit so spectacular is the colourful display put on by the 200 year old Cottonwood trees that fill the park. Dirt, paved and accessible trails wind throughout the landscape, letting you spend as much or as little time as you have exploring on foot or by bike. Be sure to visit the interpretive center to learn more about the area and take in the frequent displays they have available. Pack a lunch for a picnic or support the nearby Zucchini Blossom Market and Cafe for an extra special treat!
Adventures continue in so many new ways as we transition through the seasons. Keep your desire to explore and discover our world alive and enjoy a colourful adventure along the way!