Place: Grande Cache, Alberta, Canada
Grande Cache is located at the foothills of Canadian Rockies, in the province of Alberta. We visited this place in the month of March in 2016. The winter in 2016 was not brutal at all. In fact it was one of the mildest I have witnessed in the western part of Canada.
We started in the morning for Grande Cache from Edmonton, capital city of Alberta. Grande Cache is well connected via road from all major cities in the province. The road trip from Edmonton to Grande Cache took us 4.5 hrs.
We decided to travel via Hinton and Jasper (which was 4 hrs). We did a lunch rest stop at Jasper. We had lunch at this awesome Greek restaurant called, “Something Else”. Very cozy place with a great menu line-up.
While travelling from Jasper to Grande Cache, we took Route 40. On this way, we came across Highway to Alaska – many reviewers mentioned that its the most scenic route to the States.
So we reached Grande Cache in the evening. Very winding, steep roads, yet very scenic and beautiful.
Where we stayed: Not very many options here. However, we picked a great spot – Days Hotel. Very clean and affordable. Big size rooms with fire-places.
Picture: View from the Hotel room, next day
The next day, we went for breakfast at this cute little place named Noelle Cafe. This is situated opposite to the Days Hotel Mall area (by the Legion). The mall area also has other places to eat and shop.
After a heavy brunch, we headed to a park nearby called Labyrinth Park.(Location : Located at the end of 104th Street, to the right of Fireman’s Pit Road). This place is great for photography. View from the park is brilliant and mesmerizing. People visit this place for soul searching. The park has messages written on a few stones surrounding the park.
After the Labyrinth Park, we headed to the Sulphur Gates. (Confluence of Sulphur and Smoky Lake). The roads were in a bad shape, due to melting snow. This area is not guarded as well. Our Mazda 3 was not able to take the hard road, so we had to give it a pass. However here is a picture from Google.
Picture: Sulphur Gates (Source: Google/Internet)
Thereafter, we visited the Information Centre. This place had the highest rating for “most places to visit” in Grande Cache on TripAdvisor.ca at the time of visit (March 2016). After the visit, I know why. The staff were very informative and friendly. The site had a museum too. Locals started this center and now the provincial government provides funding.
Grande Cache is known for “Canada’s Death Race”. The Canadian Death Race is a 125 kilometer foot race through the Canadian rocky mountains in Grande Cache, Alberta. It includes three mountain summits, one major river crossing, and 17,000 feet of elevation change. The race has been held annually on the August long weekend since the year 2000. In 2010 The North Face became the title sponsor and the race was renamed The North Face Canadian Death Race. The North Face’s sponsorship was quietly removed from all promotional material on February 20, 2014. It is organized by a non-profit organization known as the Canadian Institute of Extreme Racing. Racers can compete by themselves or in relay teams of up to five people. This race was started by Dale Tuck, a local marathon runner. In August every year, during the race, the population of town explodes to over 100%. (Town has 4200 people, census 2013)
On our way back to Edmonton, we took the route via Hinton. We decided to stop by William A Switzer Provincial Park. We took a few pictures and strolled at the Kelly’s Bath Tub.
Picture: Kelly’s Bath Tub, William A Switzer Provincial Park
It was a wonderful getaway. Very affordable. It’s an unexplored, yet beautiful place.