The neighboring towns of Black Diamond and Turner Valley are popular day trip destinations – and it’s easy to see why. Located about a 45-minute drive from Calgary on the Cowboy Trail, the towns are nestled in Alberta’s rolling foothills, amid the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. In addition to a picturesque setting, Black Diamond and Turner Valley boast storied histories, friendly locals, and cute main streets with independent shops and restaurants. Follow this itinerary for the perfect road trip.
Discover the Cowboy Trail
Travel to Black Diamond and Turner Valley on Alberta’s Highway 22, better known as the Cowboy Trail. Stretching from Mayerthorpe (near Edmonton) south to Cardston, this scenic route is full of western spirit. If you have more time, take it in on a trail ride or by attending a summer rodeo.
Tour Turner Valley
Follow the Cowboy Trail through scenic ranching country to Turner Valley. A required stop here is the Chuckwagon Cafe and Cattle Co., a restaurant in a red barn famed for its all-day breakfast, delicious Alberta beef burgers, and pie. Turner Valley is also the birthplace of Alberta’s energy industry – it’s where a company first struck oil in 1914. The Turner Valley Gas Plant is now a national and provincial historic site, offering guided tours and an exhibit hall.
Visit a Craft Distillery
Next, head to Alberta’s first independent craft distillery, which opened five years ago. Find Turner Valley’s Eau Claire Distillery in a storied old movie theatre and dance hall. Take a behind-the-scenes tour to learn how the spirits are made using farm-to-glass traditional methods, then top off your tour with a tasting of the distillery’s award-winning vodka, gin, and whiskey.
Travel to Black Diamond
From Turner Valley, drive about five minutes on the Cowboy Trail and you’ll reach Black Diamond. The community was once home to a coal mine that called its high-grade coal “black diamond.” Today, you can find a giant black diamond and reconstructed coal cart – an homage to the town’s past – on the main street.
Satisfy Your Belly
Another main street stop you’ll want to make is Marv’s Classic Soda Shop, a 1950s diner serving burgers, malts, old-fashioned milkshakes, and ice-cream. Choose a classic hit from the jukebox and browse through an extensive selection in the candy shop. For modern fare, head to Westwood, serving locally sourced food and brew and a popular Sunday brunch. Hard Knox Brewery is the newest brewery in town and is a fun, child- and pet-friendly place.
Delve into Arts and Culture
Despite their small size, Black Diamond and Turner Valley have mighty art scenes. Turner Valley is home to Beneath the Arch, a non-profit music society that presents concerts between September and April. Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond specializes in local fine arts and crafts, and hosts a free weekly drop-in art night. And Black Diamond is also home to Firebrand Glass Studio, home to two award-winning artists. Visit their studio to see their artwork or take a glassblowing workshop.