In the early 1880’s, the vast rangelands, ideal for cattle, drew cowboys to the eastern slopes of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. Today this remarkable area is sliced by the “Cowboy Trail” snaking along Hwys #5, #6, and #22 to its northern terminus at the Town of Mayerthorpe.
The small town (pop. 1320) is 130 km northwest of Edmonton on one of the popular routes north to Alaska. The town is part of Wild Alberta, a consortium that highlights the outdoor adventures that abound in northern Alberta. wildalberta.com
This is snowmobile country. Only half an hour away from 500 kms of award-winning trail networks run by the Whitecourt Trailblazers Club. SnoRiders magazine gave Whitecourt the highest rank for ‘Favourite Overall Snowmobiling, Favourite Scenic Snowmobiling Area, Favourite Powder Riding, Most Challenging Riding Area AND the Favourite Area for Family Snowmobiling in Alberta’. In other words, it’s pretty awesome with for everyone with a sled!
8 km east is the Rochfort Museum and its trestle bridge. It has a nice viewpoint, and you can grab a meal at the Trading Post before heading to the Paddle River dam just a few km south.
In summer, stay at the Paddle River Dam Campground. Open May 15 to September 30, this popular site offers boating and camping. It features a stocked fishing pond, washrooms with flush toilets, coin-operated showers, and sports equipment rental. Everything you need for a good time outdoors. You can make a reservations at (780) 284-1753.
In Mayerthorpe itself is the Fallen Four Memorial park, which offers a positive place to pay respect to the four officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. For more info: fallenfour.ca
Significant local events include the Show & Shine Classic Car Show on the 3rd Saturday in June, the Agricultural Fair on the 2nd weekend in August and the Christmas Light Up on the 1st Friday in December.
Mayerthorpe is located at the junction of Hwy 43, The Canamex Corridor, and Hwy 22, the northern terminus of The Cowboy Trail. We’ve always enjoyed a cowboy heritage and our town is home to many rodeo champions, cowboys, cowgirls, high school rodeo competitors, and Canada’s famous Hay Brothers.
Throughout the year, there are so many activities to enjoy and places to visit that you should plan to spend at least a couple of days in the area. You can camp beside the golf course, stay at the local motel or at one of the nearby country guest ranches or check out the Cowboy Storyboard located in Town along Hwy 22.
Mayerthorpe’s Fallen Four Memorial Park was built in 2008 to honour the memory of four slain RCMP officers, and as a tribute to all peace officers. It is a popular attraction for visitors, a stopping- off point for weary travelers, and a beautiful location for marriage ceremonies and wedding and graduation photos.
From Mayerthorpe, you can head 8 km east to the Rochfort Bridge Trestle and Museum, one of the longest wooden rail bridges in western Canada. If you want to cool off and enjoy some water sports, the Paddle River Dam is just a few kilometers south of the bridge’s viewpoint.
If the thought of an old-fashioned country fair excites you, head into Mayerthorpe on the second weekend of August to enjoy the agricultural fair. You will see bench exhibits, horse and cattle shows, ball games, and enjoy live entertainment and exciting demonstrations. The kids can try their luck at the penny carnival and enjoy the petting zoo.
Whatever the reason for your visit to Mayerthorpe, be sure to stop by our unique gift shops, to eat a great home-cooked style meal at one of our restaurants, and to experience the small town hospitality that we have to offer. Check out our website for more information about our town, visitor activities and attractions available in the area: www.mayerthorpe.ca