Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site is a hidden Alberta gem! This beautiful Parks Canada site offers camping, Trapper’s Tent, Tipi and Trapline Cabin experiences, an interpretive centre, hiking and so much more! We enjoyed our stay here immensely!
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There are so many places that we want visit right here at home, in Alberta, and that’s why we created our Alberta Bucket List! And we’re excited to continue to add new-to-us places as we discover them. Recently we had the chance to visit Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, and we’re adding it to the list…this place is truly a hidden gem!
Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site commemorates the history of the fur trade in Alberta, which includes the famous explorer, David Thompson. Here you can learn the history of the fur trade in this area, and have a camping experience that takes you back in time!
The surprising thing about Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, is how close it actually is to Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer…most people don’t realize that it’s only about 2 hours and 15 minutes from both Calgary and Edmonton, and 1 hour from Red Deer!
For our first stay here, we decided to try out a Trapper’s Tent! And are we ever glad we did…this is a really fun experience.
Our kids loved it so much! Our youngest who is obsessed with early Canadian history, was particularly over the moon about staying in a trapper’s tent!
I mean seriously though…look how great it is!
You can also stay in Tipis…they sleep up to 8 people.
Or you can stay in Trapline Cabins that overlook the river. Next time we visit, we’ll definitely be staying in one of these cabins! The view is ah-mazing! Also, they can sleep up to 6 people with 2 sets of bunk beds and a queen bed in the loft.
After a full day exploring the campsite we settled in for a fire. Our teens really enjoyed the experience of trying to light our fire with flint and steel! After some s’mores we headed off to bed under the stars.
Our morning view #allthehearteyes
Your camping fee also includes a Fur Trade Camp Kit, which includes a bison hide inside the tent or tipi, a period cooking kit and utensils, a flint/steel fire-starting kit, bannock mix, trapper’s tea, spices, oil and soap. So of course we had to try the bannock mix for breakfast!
During the day there are all kinds of activities to partake in. The kids made beeswax candles….
We went on walks. You can take a hike on any of the area hiking trails…
We snapped pictures in the Parks Canada red chairs…
We took a tour of the Visitor Centre. Make sure to stop here and explore both the exhibits indoors and outdoors!
The exhibits are very interesting…David Thompson’s story is really incredible. As well, there are some really fascinating structures still standing, including these fireplaces from one of the original fort sites.
This Big Adventure’s Thoughts:
Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site is truly a hidden gem! We’ve lived in Alberta our whole life, both in Edmonton and the surrounding area, as well as Calgary, and we had no idea this site was here. The area is gorgeous, the camping is great, the history is fascinating…it’s a must see!
Details for Camping at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site:
- Trapper’s Tents, Tipis and Trapline Cabins are available to stay in. There are also both serviced and unserviced sites for tenting and parking an RV. For rates visit their website here.
- To book your site, visit the Parks Canada reservation page here.
- Your camping fee includes a Fur Trade Camp Kit which includes a bison hide inside the trapper’s tent and tipi, a period cooking kit and utensils, a flint/steel fire-starting kit, bannock mix, trapper’s tea, spices, oil and soap.
- There is no potable water on site, so bring your own. Make sure to bring a lot. The only way to access potable water is to purchase it right in the town of Rocky Mountain House. There is a pump where you can access water for washing dishes, but you have to boil it first.
- The toilets are outhouses, and there are no showers available.
- You can purchase firewood. The bundles are big and good value for your money.
- Dogs are allowed, but have to be on leash at all times.
- There are a number of hiking trails in the area, including a self-guided tour that is really great for kids.
- The park also has a really great visitor centre that tells you the history of the area. This centre opens at 10AM.
- You can also participate in a number of interpretive programs. Learn more about them here.
Tips for camping at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site:
- Bring extra blankets! Make sure everyone has a sleeping bag PLUS at least 1 extra warm blanket. Even when the days are hot, because it cools down a lot a night. And being cold at night is not fun…ask me how I know 😉
- If you can fit them, bring extra sleep mats. Sleep mats are provided when you stay in a trapper’s tent or tipi here, but trust me when I say, an extra sleep mat is really really nice.
- Bring A LOT of water. There is no potable water available on site. (see above)
- You are in bear country here, so make sure to clean up your site at night and when you’re not there. Pack your food and toiletries in large tubs, as this makes putting away things really easy!
- You can walk to the Interpretive Centre right from the campground. It actually takes less time to walk there than drive!
- Make sure to explore the campground, as there are a number of really great points of interest here!
Parks Canada provided us with a complimentary two night stay here at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site. As always, all pictures, opinions and writing are our own. We had a great time! Thank you to Parks Canada for this experience!