Only one hour from Edmonton; Camrose is one of central Alberta’s best-kept secrets. Between the historic downtown’s boutiques and eateries, and recreational opportunities in and around the city, there’s plenty to do all weekend. And with a population of 18,000, Camrose has all the creature comforts you crave, but is close to nature so you can have the best of both worlds. Here’s how to spend a fun weekend in Camrose and Camrose County.
For a five star meal in an elegant environment, dine at Hart House Wine & Tapa. The setting, a heritage home built in 1918, is as lovely as the food and Hart House boasts one of the best patios in town. Reservations recommended!
After dinner, check out the Grand Trunk Wooden Trestle Railway Bridge. It’s a pleasant 800-metre walk along the creek from Stoney Creek Centre (go down the hill from the nature playground and turn right) to the photogenic wooden bridge. Built in 1910, this bridge was part of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway’s line from Tofield to Calgary (Reference).
Want to go further? The Stoney Creek Valley has over 37 kilometres of trails to explore; many of which are groomed for cross country skiing come winter. We will definitely bring bikes next time!
Where to Stay
Our home away from home is Cherry Lane B & B and Café in Camrose County. As we pull up in front of the pretty-as-a-picture café, Melissa comes out onto the porch to greet us. Although Melissa and Adam Wilson opened Cherry Lane on March 16, 2020, at the start of a global pandemic, they have nothing but positive things to say. “The community has been so warm and welcoming,” Melissa shares.
Locals have sent friends and family here to celebrate weddings, anniversaries, and graduations, and it’s easy to see why. The B&B has four beautifully appointed rooms on an idyllic 45-acre property, and gourmet meals add to the experience (Adam is an Executive Chef with several years of experience). We have chosen the Western Room and Garden Room for our stay. There is also a campground – with six power sites and seven unserviced sites – and rustic cabin for rent; perfect if you’re holding a large group event like a wedding or family reunion.
A delicious 3-course meal of house salad; chicken cordon bleu, rice, and roast veggies; and Turtle cheesecake recharges us for a game of Foot Golf. Played with a soccer ball on the onsite repurposed golf corse, foot golf is quick to pick up and fun for all ages. As the sun goes down, we’re happy we’re only steps from our beds in a gorgeous heritage home. The perfect ending to a perfect day!
Cherry Lane B&B | cherrylanebb.com | 19312, Township Rd 440, Camrose County
Nearby Miquelon Lake Provincial Park is also a great place to stay. The park has spacious, forested campsites; a pretty nature walk around the Grebe Pond where you can see several species of birds (over 200 have been spotted in the park), beavers, and garter snakes; and a 3.7 km paved bike path. 20 minutes north of Camrose.
Saturday in Camrose
Camrose grew up along the railway in the early 1900s and many of the original “Boomtown” style buildings can still be seen in the historic downtown district. (Picture simple buildings with decorative fronts that look like they’re straight out of a Western movie.) While you’re there, get a treat and coffee at MainStreet 1908, and do some shopping. Lakehouse Naturals Soap Company is a great place to pick up a locally-made souvenir.
To learn more about Camrose’s history, visit Camrose Heritage Railway Station & Park, and walk the 3-kilometre paved interpretive trail around Mirror Lake. According to my kids, the best things to do at Mirror Lake Park are play at the playground and go to Classy Hotdogs and OleO’s Ice Cream Castle. There’s a Visitor Information Centre, picnic area, and paddling at the lake too.
Insiders’ tip: Stock up on local produce, preserves, and baked goods at the Camrose Saturday Farmers’ Market at Duggan Mall (Saturdays from 10 am – 1 pm) and pack a picnic.
In the evening, choose your own adventure: fishing or beach time.
- Pleasure Island Fish Pond is stocked with rainbow and brown trout twice a year, and has a 644 metre trail around the pond with 10 fishing stations, two bridges, and 30 birdhouses. 10 minutes east of Camrose.
- Pelican Point Park boasts a day-use area, campground, adventure playground, and large, sandy beach on the shore of Buffalo Lake. 45 minutes south of Camrose.
Where to Stay
We made Pelican Point Campground our base camp for exploring Camrose County. The beach and shallow swimming area were wonderful. Don’t forget sand toys!
Sunday in Camrose County
Paddle the calm waters at Camrose County Nature Conservation Centre, or take a nature walk and have a barbecue. The park has trails, fishing (stocked with trout once a year), a picnic area with fire pits, playground, and small sandy beach. It’s a peaceful getaway where birds outnumber humans. We enjoyed walking around the pond and having it all to ourselves. 25 minutes southeast of Camrose.
Traveling south, stop at the hamlet of Meeting Creek and admire the 1913 Heritage Railway Station and 1917 Heritage Grain Elevator. With no tall buildings in sight, you can imagine what the prairies looked like 100 years ago. Indoor areas may be viewed by appointment; phone 780-672-3099. 30 minutes southeast of Camrose.
Plan to stay a while and fall in love with friendly Camrose and its beautiful parks and historic sites.
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About the Author
Karen Ung is a lover of maps, mountains, and mochas. With her Geography degree and experience leading hikes and backpacking trips in the Rockies, she is full of ideas on where to go and what to do. Check out her blog, Play Outside Guide, at playoutsideguide.com