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Rocky Mountain Front Ranges and Foothills

City: Nordegg State: Alberta Country: Canada Season : All Year

Bighorn Country, a 7,000 sq km area of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, includes five of the six ecosystems found in the province of Alberta from boreal forest to alpine. It represents one of the least disturbed regions of the Rocky Mountains, with endless forests and mountain chains, but few roads and limited access into the backcountry. From the vast, undulating forests in the eastern section to the mountain peaks and glaciers along the National Parks boundary (up to 3,300 m / 11,000 feet elevation) there is an endless variety in natural attractions (forests, mountains, rivers, lakes and waterfalls), abundant wildlife and interesting Frst Nations (American Indians) and pioneer history. Touristically, this area has been left in the shadow of the well known mountain parks, but the lack of tourism infrastructure, traffic and residential development are one of its main attractions. This gem of a natural area is beyond doubt one of the hidden secrets in Alberta. Access is easy and available year round from the Icefield Parkway (Hwy 93 between Lake Louise and Jasper) in the west, or along Hwy 11 (David Thompson Hwy) entering the mountains from Red Deer and Rocky Mountain House to the east. The hamlet of Nordegg is the hub for the area, at the intersection of Hwy 11 and the forestry trunk

road, which runs north to south. Some more tourism development can be found at Cline River and at the junction of Hwy 11 and 93 at Saskatchewan River Crossing in Banff Park. There are numerous campgrounds in the region, but few fixed roof accommodations (3 motels, 1 eco-tourism lodge, some cabins and a youth hostel) Three additional businesses provide outdoor education and group accommodation facilities. Outfitters operating in the area cover activities such as trail riding, canoeing, dog sledding as well as guides for rock- and ice-climbing, and mountaineering. A hiking guide book lists 70 hikes between Nordegg and the park boundary alone, not including many others along the trunk road and in the parks themselves. Access to the backcountry from Hwy 11 or the resource roads in the eastern section is mostly on foot or horseback. There are no backcountry lodges or cabins, so trekking and camping are the primary means to access the more remote valleys and mountain ranges. In winter, the area is very popular with ice climbers but also offers great opportunities for winter hiking, snowshoeing, winter camping and dog-sledding


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