The sun is out, the skies are clear, and the birds are singing … it’s summertime in the Tri-Region and there are so many things to do! But with all the excitement that summer brings – festivals, sporting events, pool parties and patios – we often forget to slow down and take in the space around us. For those looking for a simpler, more low-key way to enjoy the sun, we suggest this backcountry road trip through Parkland County’s Hills of Hope.
“The Hills of Hope Historical Society invites you to take a relaxing drive and enjoy a bit of history as well as seeing modern sites. Whether it is an active strip mine to view, historic buildings to admire, numerous cemeteries to stroll through, historic cairns and signs to read, a walk through a village or hamlet, or beautiful scenery and rural tranquility that interests you, this area has it all”.
Blast to the Past
The area referred to as the “Hills of Hope” is within Parkland County, spanning west from RR20 to RR52, and from the border of Lac St. Anne County south to the North Saskatchewan River.
Founded back in 1975, the Society has made it their mission to preserve the history of this area, erecting a number of signs and cairns in places of historical importance. To date, the Society has mapped out 36 points of interest! Who knew there was so much history dotted throughout our rolling prairie hills?
Read all about it!
If you’re a real history buff, you may be interested to know that the Society has also completed two book projects! Visit your local library and grab a copy of “Hills of Hope” (1976) and “Hills of Hope: The Next Generation” (2002) to enhance your road trip experience.
‘Routes to Our Roots’ Trip Itinerary
We suggest visiting the following nine historical sites on your route to our roots! *Please note that accessible washrooms may not be available at all locations.
Why not hit two birds with one stone? Check out the Explore Parkland County GeoTour, and add some geocaching to your day! You’ll find a number of these locations overlap as you explore the unspoiled natural areas of the Tri-Region.
1. Wabamun/Smithfield School District #1307
2. Wabamun & District Museum
3. Rose Valley School District #4276
4. Burtonsville Community & Wanchie School District #2171
5. Keephills School District #2037
Nearby: Explore Keephills GeoCache
6. Upper Whitemud House
7. Hansen’s Corner Community & School District #3112
8. Lucknow School District #1946 – Brightbank Community
Nearby: Explore Hasse Lake GeoCache
Detour: Take a break on your way to the final Hills of Hope destination, and visit one of these great lake spots! Stretch your legs on a hiking trail or take a dip in the water!
Jackfish Lake Day Use Park *note: $20 parking fee during Controlled Access Hours
Hasse Lake Recreation Area
9. Hamlet of Carvel
Nearby: Explore Carvel – Book Exchange GeoCache
Time it Right: Visit the Carvel General Store for some unique treasures (Open Wednesdays-Saturdays 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM; Sundays 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM) or catch the Carvel Station Farmer’s Market, happening every Thursday evening from 5:00 – 8:00 PM until the end of August!
Turn your afternoon drive into a weekend staycation and see if you can hit every point of interest on our Google Map! Share your experiences with us on social media using the hashtags #HillsofHope and #ExploreParkland
Now top up your gas tank, pack a lunch, and get ready to listen to John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads on repeat! Happy hunting!