Rocky Mountain House, Alberta Canada

Discover Rocky Mountain House, Alberta: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty

Nestled in west-central Alberta, Canada, Rocky Mountain House is a town that offers a rich history and stunning natural landscapes. Located approximately 77 km west of Red Deer, this town is situated at the confluence of the Clearwater and North Saskatchewan Rivers. It also serves as a crossroads for Highway 22 (Cowboy Trail) and Highway 11 (David Thompson Highway). The administration office of the surrounding Clearwater County is also located here.

The Historical Journey of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

Dating back to the 18th century, Rocky Mountain House has a long history marked by the presence of British and Canadian fur traders during the westward Canadian expansion. In 1799, the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company each established the Rocky Mountain House and Acton House fur trading posts. The trade with the local aboriginal peoples continued until 1821 when the companies merged. They continued to trade until 1875 and closed the Rocky Mountain House post. However, the name of the settlement remained.

Rocky Mountain House also served as a launching point for many explorers such as David Thompson, in search for a passage west to the Pacific Ocean. Many travellers used this location as a stop on their way further west or northwest, just as they do into the 21st century.

The next wave of adventurers entered the region at the beginning of the 20th century in search of opportunities presented by lush farmland and the abundance of natural resources. Rocky Mountain House became a firmly established town by 1912. Settlers of Scandinavian origin made up a significant part of early 20th-century settlement in the region.

On October 20, 2021, the town was hit by a magnitude 5.0 earthquake, marking the second-strongest earthquake in the province's history.

The Fur Trade Era in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

Rocky Mountain House and Acton House were a pair of fur trade posts from 1799 to 1876. Rocky Mountain House belonged to the North West Company (NWC) and Acton House to the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC). When the two companies merged in 1821, the name Rocky Mountain House was retained. The posts were opened and closed seven times.

Rocky Mountain House was the westernmost post on the North Saskatchewan and was within sight of the Rocky Mountains. The fort facilitated trade with the Blackfeet and Piegans as well as the Kootenays across the mountains. The Kootenays were prevented from reaching Fort Edmonton by the Blackfeet and Piegans who wanted to profit as middlemen and keep them from getting guns. The fort also served as a base for finding a pass across the Rocky Mountains. The post also produced pemmican and York boats.

The Geography of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

The North Saskatchewan River borders Rocky Mountain House to the west where the Clearwater River flows into the North Saskatchewan River. Crimson Lake, a lake approximately 17 km northwest of town, is home to Crimson Lake Provincial Park.

Climate in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

Rocky Mountain House has a subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification Dfc) that borders on a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb). The January average high of around −4 °C (25 °F) is actually much milder than clear continental areas further east in Canada on similar and lower parallels.

Demographics of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of Rocky Mountain House had a population of 6,765 living in 2,693 of its 3,075 total private dwellings, a change of 2% from its 2016 population of 6,635. With a land area of 13.05 km2 (5.04 sq mi), it had a population density of 518.4/km2 (1,342.6/sq mi) in 2021.

Transportation in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

On the road, Rocky Mountain House is served by Highway 22 and Highway 11. In the air, Rocky Mountain House is served by its airport.

Twin Town of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

Rocky Mountain House is twinned with Kamikawa, Hokkaido, Japan.