Bragg Creek is a quiet hamlet nestled in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, 34 kilometers (21 miles) south of Cochrane. The ideal location and quiet lifestyle have attracted artists and artisans—the town claims to have more painters, potters, sculptors, and weavers than any similarly sized town in Alberta.
Arriving along Highway 22 from either the north or south, you’ll be greeted upon arrival in Bragg Creek by a slightly confusing four-way stop intersection with a treed triangle of land in the middle. Take the option along the north (right) side of the distinctive polished-log Bragg Creek Trading Post II to access the main shopping center, a Western-themed collection of basic town services interspersed with craft shops and cafés.
White Avenue, also known as Heritage Mile and originally the main commercial strip, has more of the same and leads through an appealing residential area. This road continues southwest to 122-hectare (300-acre) Bragg Creek Provincial Park, a day-use area alongside the Elbow River. With a basket of goodies from one of Bragg Creek’s many food outlets, leave the main parking lot behind to enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the many riverside picnic tables.
Accommodations and Food
Although lacking motels and campgrounds, Bragg Creek is a popular overnight escape for folks from Calgary. Best of a bunch of bed-and-breakfasts is High Country House (call for directions, 403/949-0093, www.highcountryhouse.com, $148–185 s or d), a large, modern house nestled among stands of trees within walking distance of both the river and village. The home has three comfortable guest rooms—two with jetted tubs—a spacious sitting room, and wireless Internet throughout. A healthy cooked or continental breakfast is included in the rates.
Bragg Creek Shopping Centre holds a wide variety of eateries as well as most services, including a gas station, bakery, grocery store, and post office. Around the corner, at the main intersection, is the Cinnamon Spoon (Bragg Creek Trading Post II, 403/949-4110, Mon.–Fri. 6 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 6 a.m.–5 p.m.), with the best coffee in town, as well as pastries, cakes, smoothies, and sandwiches made to order.
At the Steak Pit (43 White Ave., 403/949-3633, daily from 11:30 a.m., $24–36), the setting is early Canadian, yet elegant. Eating here isn’t cheap but is comparable to Calgary restaurants. The menu sets out to prove great steaks don’t necessitate fancy trimmings, and does so with the best cuts of Alberta beef and great spuds.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition