Western Living Magazine
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From a historic ranch to a boat-access glamping site, these retreats are both rustic and kitted out with all the creature comforts.
With the borders closed and Yellowstone Season 4 not due out until November, getting your John Dutton fix just got a little harder. But on an expansive 34,000 acres along the Red Deer River 3.5 hours east of Calgary sits Bar Diamond Guest Ranch.
Bunk down in a historic 113-year-old log ranch house, explore the Badlands hoodoos while snacking on cactus berries or put your feet up on the porch a la Rip Wheeler and sip a bourbon, neat. From $104/night, Bardiamondguestranch.ca
It's never been more important to learn from the stories of Indigenous people and use tourism as a way to rediscover and share the Metis, Inuit and First Nations cultures across Alberta. Métis Crossing, the first Métis cultural interpretive centre in Alberta, offers glamping in Trappers Tents overlooking the banks of the North Saskatchewan River near Smoky Lake. Look for their new boutique lodge with 40 new rooms opening this fall, as well as new glass pod and eco pod overnight experiences coming soon. From $100, Metiscrossing.com
Islands in Edmonton's river valley was once a big draw for the turn-of-the-century Edmontonians keen to get out of the city for some rest and relaxation. Every weekend, women in lace collars and men dressed in their Sunday best would board steamships and head upstream on the North Saskatchewan River for full-day picnicking pleasure.
As of this summer, Urban River Adventures now offers the same experience, but powered with modern technology. Accessible just by boat, guests arrive for glamping or tree tent camping (all gear provided) and can then sign on for kayaking, paddle boarding, island-hopping tours and more. From $250/night, Ura-yeg.ca
Last summer, just 35 minutes east of Edmonton, Elk Island Retreat launched their new Geo Domes replete with mini-fridge, Nespresso and a BBQand wine and charcuterie board delivery as optional add-ons too. Gaze at the northern lights from the UNESCO-designated dark sky preserve, hike or canoe. More than 600 plains and wood bison roam just 3 kilometres away in the 194-square-foot Elk Island National Parktake in a bison backstage tour to learn about conservation efforts like the fact that the park has provided over 2,500 bison to conservation initiatives across Canada and far flung places like Scotland and Russia. From $184/night, Elkislandretreat.com
Jasper National Park plays host to the second largest Dark Sky Preserve in the world offering perfect night-sky viewing with zero light pollution standing between you and the stars. The perfect perch from which to view it all is the old-timey Pine Bungalows, a cluster of cabins sitting on the banks of the World Heritage Athabasca River. Helmed by executive chef David Holmberg of Hawksworth and Cedar Creek Estate Winery, the resort's new Kumama Bistro & Canteen promises to put Jasper on the culinary map. Order groceries for your cabin from fresh produce to meats (Valbella sausage) to craft beer (Jasper Brewing Co) and pre-made meals. Lodge rooms from $271, Pinebungalows.com