Day 13: Bassano to Medicine Hat

Bald prairie

Today is another long day of cycling across flat prairie. Make sure that you have plenty of liquid as there are long distances between towns. There are virtually no trees in the area to block the sun and wind. You can quickly become dehydrated.

Pedal first into Brooks, population 12 498, which is known as “The City of 100 Hellos,” due to the diverse global population that comes to work in the local agriculture industry. Brooks has a small Kiwanis Campground.

South of Brooks is the Brooks Aqueduct, which was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company (CPR) during the 1910s. An aqueduct is a channel used to transport water. This massive elevated canal helped move water from the Bow River to the dry land near Brooks and serves as testament to the hardworking and enterprising pioneers that developed this region. The Brooks Aqueduct is now defunct and is a National and Provincial Historic Site. Tours are available in the summer for a small fee.

Past Brooks is Tillebrook Provincial Park. Although a nice campground in proximity to the highway, it offers the visitor little more than a pleasant place to camp for the evening.

Stop at the side of the road today and read about the first natural gas discovery that took place very close to the highway in 1883, while CPR employees were looking for water to service their train line.

If you see brigades of army vehicles in the area, don’t be surprised. It will most likely just be the soldiers from nearby CFB Suffield training.

Before entering Medicine Hat, cycle through Redcliff, the greenhouse capital of the prairies. Commercial greenhouse farming became successful here because of abundant sunlight, inexpensive natural gas and proximity to HWY 1.

Medicine hat lies at the intersection of HWY 3 and HWY 1 on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River. The name Medicine Hat comes from the Blackfoot word for the eagle tail feather headdress worn by medicine men. The city is known for its vast energy resources, especially natural gas. If you need a bike shop, head to Cycle Path.

From HWY 1 you can’t miss the giant tee-pee originally designed for the city of Calgary during the 1988 Olympics and moved to its present site in 1991.

The giant teepee overlooks the Blackfoot Buffalo Jump. A buffalo jump was traditionally used by aboriginal people to kill buffalo. They herded the giant animals towards the steep drop at high speeds so they could not stop before they went over the cliff’s edge.

The Medicine Hat Gas City Campground is a city run campsite on the west outskirts of the city. This campground is a popular place during summer months. Laundry facilities and a small convenience store are available on-site.

0.0Cycle away from Bassano Campground heading north on 6th Street.
0.6Turn right on 6th Avenue.
1.4Turn right onto HWY 1.
5.1Intersection of HWY 1 & HWY 550.
38.4Intersection of HWY 1 & HWY 36.
46.8Brooks.
56.3Tillebrook Provincial Park. 59.0 Intersection of HWY 1 & HWY 875.
67.5Intersection of HWY 1 & HWY 876.
113.6Intersection of HWY 1 & HWY 884.
140.4Intersection of HWY 1 & HWY 524.
145.3Redcliff.
152.4Cross over South Saskatchewan River.
154.0Turn right at 7th Street SW.
154.3Turn right onto 11th Avenue SW.
155.4Remain on 11th Avenue SW until you reach the campground gate.


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