Road tripping with a time machine in Three Hills, Alberta

by - Thursday, July 19, 2018

Go back in time - to dinosaur days, medieval times, and the early 1900's - in Three Hills, Alberta.

By: Jeremy Derksen

Ahead, single lane blacktop stretches as far as the horizon, rolling grasslands falling away on either side. Sunbeams dance between stalks of wheat. Three Hills, AB, is road trip territory, but with a historical twist: dinosaurs, cars, swords and clubs are all fair game here.

Horseshoe Canyon, Alberta
Image Credit: Karen Ung
From Three Hills to Horseshoe Canyon is a 45-minute drive south down the Boomtown Trail and east toward Drumheller. The approach is subtle, revealing little until you’re almost on top of the gorge itself, dropping steeply into marbled maroon and beige coulees, pillared with hoodoos and strewn with fossils and ancient rocks.


It’s these kinds of cruising landscapes that probably inspired John Robinson, Ben Maerz and Dwayne Ellis, the three guys who founded Western Canada’s largest cruise weekend, back in 1981. The Three Hills Cruise Weekend attracts over 2,000 cars and 8,000-plus visitors to town each June.

Circling back into town from the canyon, the Kneehill Historical Museum catches the curious eye, with its preserved train station, caboose, schoolhouse and collections building. It also caters to curious hands. Unlike many museums, they encourage typing on the typewriters, stirring the butter churns, hand-spooling the wool and scratch-testing the geological samples.

Sword play at Good Knights Medieval Encampment
Image Credit: Jeremy Derksen
At Good Knights Medieval Encampment, you can take it even one step further and play the role of a lord or lady from the age of Arthurian legend. Luxury camp in medieval style tents (with discreetly accessible running water, electricity and flush toilets), and try your hand at swordplay, archery and leather-making.

Three Hills Golf Club
Image Credit: Jeremy Derksen
Mix in a game of golf — dating back to the 15th century by most historic accounts — at the Three Hills Golf and Country Club, and you can claim stops in as many as five different time periods over the span of just a couple days. From cretaceous to medieval, to early Western settlement and the golden era of the automobile, visiting Three Hills is road tripping with a time machine.


If You Go

Three Hills Golf Course rivals Trochu for some of the best golfing in central Alberta. The two towns are so serious about their golf that each year they compete against each other in a tournament, for bragging rights (as of summer 2018, Trochu held the trophy). Which is better? You decide.

Three Hills is about an hour-and-a-half drive north east of Calgary.

Things to do in Three Hills, Alberta
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Experience the #BoomTownTrail - learn more about Three Hills start planning here.

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