10 gems you have to see on your next trip between Calgary and Edmonton

May 22 2023, 9:01 pm

Even though the trip from Edmonton to Calgary only takes three hours, it often feels much longer.

Besides the dozens of cow fields, questionable highway billboards and oil derricks, this is one drive that can get pretty monotonous. Fortunately for us, there are tons of interesting and unusual things to see just off the QE II.

Check out some of these gems to help make your next road trip just a little more exciting, from the weird and wacky to the downright stunning.

Torrington Gopher Hole Museum

This museum near Calgary is dedicated entirely to gophers


What: Located just a short drive east of Highway 2 is the whimsical “world-famous” Gopher Hole Museum. The museum features taxidermied gophers dressed up in themed costumes and accessories and posed in front of corresponding backdrops. It may sound a bit morbid, but you’ll want to check this place out.

Where: 208 1st Street SW, Torrington, Alberta
 10 am to 5 pm, Thursday through Sunday

The Donut Mill

The Donut Mill: Sweet spot in Red Deer a must-hit destination

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What: If you have ever driven through Red Deer on the QE II, you have at least stopped or have thought about stopping at The Donut Mill. It’s arguably one of the best spots to grab a donut in the province. The Mills menu has dozens of donut flavours, with fan favourites like Oreo, Rolo, Apple Pie and Rainbow Dip, just to name a few.

Where: 123 Leva Avenue, Red Deer County

Take the scenic route (West)

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What: If you have a couple of extra hours to kill on your trip between Edmonton and Calgary, why not spend some time admiring Alberta’s incredible landscapes? Rather than the QE II, take Highway 22 so that you can enjoy Alberta’s breathtaking mountain views.

Reynolds-Alberta Museum

What: This is a spot you definitely need to see. The Reynolds-Alberta Museum celebrates Alberta’s agricultural and industrial history and has likely the most extensive collection of cars, airplanes, tractors, and industrial machines on this side of the country.

Where: 6426 40th Avenue, Wetaskiwin

Sunnyslope Shelter

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What: Just a little bit further east of the Torrington Gopher Hole Museum is this odd little bunker in the middle of the plains. The Sunnyslope Shelter is a historic site built in the early twentieth century; these types of shelters were common among homesteaders upon arriving on the prairies. It’s a must-see!

Where: Township Road 314, Kneehill County, Alberta

Trochu Arboretum


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What: This five-acre forest garden is a total gem hidden in the middle of the prairies. It looks like a fairytale and is the perfect spot to stop for some much-needed TLC. After staring at the flat landscape of the QE II, this is a perfect treat for your eyes.

Where: 622 N Road, Trochu

Starlite Diner Car


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What: Chances are you’ve driven past this picture-perfect dining car on the QEII Highway, but have you stopped in? You won’t regret it after you try the Starlite Diner Car’s comfort food – and it’s an excellent opportunity to snap some old-school-style content for the ‘gram, too.

Where: 1-3 Heritage Drive #1, Bowden

CrossIron Mills


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What: You never know what you’re going to find at this mega-mall just north of Calgary. Whether your road trip begins or ends at CrossIron Mills, it’s worth stopping in at least once.

Where: 261055 Crossiron Boulevard, Rocky View County

Aspen Beach Provincial Park


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What: This was the first provincial park established in Alberta. Located near Red Deer, it’s a fantastic halfway point to stop and get your legs moving. Visit the gorgeous Ebeling Beach on the shore of Gull Lake and relax in the sand.

Where: Lacombe County, Alberta

Take the scenic route (East)

Google Maps │ Todamo/Shutterstock

What: If you thought those views to the West were unbeatable, the eastern route between Calgary and Edmonton is just as stunning. Stop through Drumheller and explore Alberta’s unique badland landscape.

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