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Cowboy up in picturesque Foothills County

Located immediately south of Calgary, Foothills County is a place of great beauty and stunning scenery, with history, agricultural heritage, vibrant communities and recreational amenities all within its boundaries.
14-2 Cowboy ranch
Learn what life was like for a ranching cowboy in the late 1800s at Bar U Ranch, a National Historic Site.

Covering approximately 3,600 square kilometres in area, the county surrounds the towns of Okotoks, High River, Turner Valley, Black Diamond, Village of Longview and Eden Valley Reserve, and is home to the hamlets of Aldersyde, Blackie, Cayley, DeWinton, Hartell, Heritage Pointe, Millarville, Naphtha, Priddis and Priddis Greens.

Take a drive on the Cowboy Trail, a scenic route along Highway 22 winding through rolling foothills with panoramic gateways to the Rockies, connecting historic sites, communities, horseback riding, guest ranches, hiking and camping adventures.

For a change of scenery, view the land- scape through the lens of the many artists on display at the Leighton Art Centre, Gallery and Museum. The many farms and farmers markets offer unique shopping experiences along with local produce.

Spend a day at the Bar U Ranch, a National Historic Site, and discover what life was like on a ranch in the late 1800s or learn more about protecting habitats and species through the conservation efforts at the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area. Frank Lake, another protected environment, is a legendary birding venue not to be missed.

Check out these places on your visit to Foothills County:

• Boasting over 180 vendors, the Millarville Farmers’ Market is one
of Alberta’s largest outdoor markets, making it a weekend destination for many in the Foothills and Calgary. The market runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday from June 18 to Oct. 8. millarvilleracetrack.com

Chinook Honey Company – Located just west of Okotoks off Highway 7, it features an apiary and meadery that are both open for tours from June to September. The honey boutique carries many honey- made treats, including ice cream, jams, jellies and sauces, while the meadery offers 12 varieties of honey wine. chinookhoney.com

The Leighton Art Centre is a hidden gem nestled on a spectacular mountain-view ridge in the Foothills. With two distinct exhibition spaces, the gallery hosts regularly changing exhibits throughout  the year. Leightoncentre.org

• A seventh-generation winemaker is  continuing his family’s traditions at Spirit Hills Winery south of Millarville. The flower wines produced at Hugo and Ilse Bonjean’s winery are absolutely unique and served in fine dining establishments throughout the world. Flower wines are produced from Foothills flower nectar and infused with regional flower petals. spirithillswinery.com

This content was produced by Great West Media for Summer Explorer and Great West Media's 2022 Hot Summer Guide.