Being outdoors instills a sense of wonder and freedom while allowing us to escape to the simplicity and tranquility that nature offers. Located at the foot of Alberta’s Northern Rockies, Grande Cache stretches itself out upon the rolling hills and thick forests of this foothills region.
Grande Cache – An Alberta Outdoor Recreation Mecca
Rugged rocky outcroppings, a vast network of rivers and lakes, thick lodgepole pine forest amidst the gently rolling hills all make for a recreational buffet. Hiking, trail running, river rafting your idea of fun or is it maybe camping, horseback riding or fishing? The vast wild lands and stunning natural beauty of Grande Cache serves up the backdrop as an outdoor adventure and recreation mecca in Alberta.
I recently just got a small taste of Grande Cache while on assignment for ZenSeekers. With help from Wild Blue Yonder Rafting and MD of Greenview Tourism I was able to get a quick but immersive taste of just how naturally majestic Grande Cache is. Read all about my full day through my story and photos at ZenSeekers.com
The stand out activity I did on my day in Grande Cache was a rafting trip with Wild Blue Yonder Rafting Adventures. This family friendly adventure on the water began right outside of Grande Cache. Starting out we put in on the Sulphur River, the narrow winding river is defined by the towering cliffs and rocky outcroppings of the deep Sulphur Valley.
A sense of awe comes over you as the Sulphur River spills in the powerful and wide Smoky River. The towering rock walls remain behind as the two rivers carved a path or “gate” through them leaving us with a profound sense of scale and natural wonder.
If you can’t find the time to take a rafting trip on Sulphur or Smoky Rivers then you absolutely must visit the Sulphur Gates on foot. A short drive north of Grande Cache you turn off the highway to head to the trailhead for the Willmore Wilderness and trail access to the lookouts above the confluence of the rivers and Sulphur Gates.
While visiting the Grande Cache Tourism and Visitor Centre I learned about the Passport to the Peaks local challenge. As someone who is passionate about reaching peaks and spending time in the mountains this was totally up my alley. For the official website and more detailed info click HERE.
On the Grande Cache Tourism website it states;
Passport to the Peaks program celebrates the beauty of the area by identifying the ring of mountains that surround the town. The 21 mountain peak hiking incentive program is divided into Bronze, Silver & Gold categories, depending of the level of difficulty to reach the summits.
Purchase your Passport to the Peaks book at the Grande Cache Tourism & Interpretive Centre. There are cairns on each of the 21 mountain peaks to stamp your Passport once you reach each summit! When you complete each group of peaks, you will qualify for a distinctive pin. Your accomplishment will be recognized on the website and in the Grande Cache Tourism & Interpretive Centre.
With the big uptick in my efforts to push myself as a trail runner last year my love for diverse trails and beautiful regions has increased. My trip to Grande Cache allowed my to learn about the Canadian Death Race that has taken place here for almost 20 years now. For the epic level adventurer this would be an amazing way to visit Grande Cache.
Their website describes the race best ; “The 125km course begins and ends on a 4200-foot plateau, passes over three mountain summits, and not only includes over 17,000 feet of elevation change but a major river crossing at the spectacular Hell’s Gate canyon at the confluence of the Smoky and Sulphur Rivers”.
I have barely scratched the surface here on how impressed I was exploring Grande Cache. While difficult to capture them all I need to highlight two more must visit locations.
First and possibly the greatest asset here would be the Willmore Wilderness, 4597 square kilometres of protected untouched wilderness. The land on which a major portion of outdoor activities are possible here. Pushing right up to the rocky mountains the raw, wild and pristine parkland with its protection allows you to step back in time. No motorized traffic is permitted and access is by foot or horse. The wildlands allow the backcountry enthusiast an immersive discovery into Alberta’s upper foothill natural region on over 750kms of trails.
Secondly would be the beautiful Pierre Grey’s Lakes Provincial Park , this park encompasses a group of small lakes in a serene setting. With its immaculate campground it offers a perfect base camp to explore Grande Cache. The park offers great fishing, hiking, bird & wildlife viewing as well as bike trails.
Be sure to click through on all the resource links I have included in this blog post to search for yourself on Grande Cache. I honestly believe there is something here for everyone. Discover the outdoors and find a connection to the positive and healing energy of nature.
There’s so much to do in #ExploreNWAB – check out these stories for how to get trip planning:
- Be a dino hunter for the day near Grande Prairie
- Swim in a lagoon and go for a mountain vista hike in Hinton
- Hinton is biking mecca: Hit the epic Hinton Bike Park for a thrill a minute
For more on how to #ExploreNWAB, either search the tag on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or read more here. Share what you find when you #ExploreNWAB this summer, using the hashtag and you might be featured on ZenSeekers and/or our partners’ social media channels.
For other road trips and travel destinations check out my Mindful Explorer Road Trip Page As well I am always grateful for a follow on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter where I share more frequent photos and stories daily.