Why They Want to Visit the Region

It doesn’t matter how often we ask visitors or residents why they love the region, the answers are almost always the same. It always comes down to the feelings we all get when spending time in a gorgeous natural area and the connections that happen when we get away from the busy life of the city.

The main reasons our guests want to visit the region are:

  • The feeling of awe as we enjoy the natural beauty of the region;
  • The sense of connection as we share moments with others;
  • The pride that comes with challenging ourselves to explore off the beaten path; and
  • The ability to get lost in the moment as we spend time away from our daily lives.

Which of these is the most important varies from guest to guest, but a combination of these drives most visits to the region.

What They Want To See And Experience

Even though how visitors engage with the region has changed over the years, what they want to see and experience has remained consistent. Our guests typically mention:

The mountains, including the summits, ridges, meadows and the views from the valley;

  • The waterfalls and canyons;
  • The lakes and rivers;
  • The wildflowers and wildlife;
  • The frozen wonders of winter; and
  • The people that make this place special.

None of these are unique to our region and that’s OK. Curious adventurers love to learn and go deeper in their understanding of the world. We often hear from visitors who choose to travel to Abraham Lake, Lake Baikal and other similar lakes that what they love is seeing how each of them can be so similar yet different.

How They Experience The Region

Why people choose to come here hasn’t changed a lot over the past 50+ years, what has changed is how they engage with the region. The early years of tourism were about outfitters, hunting, fishing and random camping. The activities drawing visitors in changed in the 1990s with ice climbing, mountain biking, climbing, backpacking, paddling and other adventures leading the way.

The early 2000s saw a push toward establishing Nordegg as a historical destination with the designation in 2001 of the Nordegg National Historic Site of Canada. The potential is still there but with the historic site operating on a limited basis, the lack of history-focused tourism products and the rebuilding of the downtown core this has remained a small niche within our destination.

Another change started to happen in the mid-2010s and accelerated with the pandemic. A lot of the activities remained the same but there was a shift from pushing the limits and reaching summits to enjoying the journey and more contemplative activities. Photography, arts, ice walks, sightseeing, evenings by the campfire and shorter hikes became some of the main ways visitors engage with the region.

Horseback riding, random camping, backpacking and climbing are still an important part of the visitor experience. Each change in activities builds on the work of those that came before, leading to a more diversified destination accessible to a larger population.

Seasonal Themes

How visitors experience the region also changes with the seasons. What matters to visitors in the summer is different than what they look for in January. That’s why we structure most of our work around seasonal themes.