Scene 9: Echo Dale Regional Park
Echo Dale Farm was owned by the Millington Family before being bought by the City of Medicine Hat in the 1980s and was transformed into a park. The lookout is to the right at the top of the hill before driving down into the park. The lookout provides a viewing deck and a spectacular view of the Park’s landscape, South Saskatchewan River and the stratified hills of Redcliff. It also provides the start of various multi-use, walking and mountain bike trails.
The Park offers a number of developed and undeveloped trails throughout the hills and along the river. At the bottom and west end of the Park you will find family facilities including the historic farm and Ajax coal mine tours, concession, swimming and boating lakes, picnic sites, boat launch access to the river, playground, and opportunities to play beach volleyball and baseball. At the bottom and east end of the Park there is a Campground with shelter and washroom. The recreation user can choose to loop back along the red gravel trail and the river to the boat launch area or continue hiking east outside the Park following an undeveloped, winding, and sometimes steep, dirt trail along the river. These trails can lead you to Tower Estates, the Gas City Campground and Harlow Berm Trails. Alternatively, at the Campground one can explore further southwest into the hills where the “Solitaire” dirt trail will take you to a number of destinations: past a Ducks Unlimited pond, to the lookout deck view, or return you down the hills to the boating lake.
There is so much wildlife to observe like the many kinds of butterflies fluttering about the grasslands, grassland birds such as the Western Meadow Lark singing from fence posts and shrubs, or Red-winged Blackbirds singing their “conk-la-ree” in areas of riparian cattails. Or perhaps observe at the Ducks Unlimited pond a Great Blue Heron hunting in the shallows or hear the “winnowing hu-hu-hu” and haunting call of a Wilson’s Snipe as it ascends or dives nearby.
A. Majestic Cliffs
A favourite view from the upper hills of Echo Dale Regional Park. See the red cliffs found along the South Saskatchewan River.
B. Family Paradise
Fishing, boating, and swimming. What more can one ask for? How about Historic Farm tours, campsites, picnicking, volleyball, a playground, and soccer!
C. Historic Farm.
An awareness and education tribute to the importance of agriculture in south eastern Alberta. Also learn about the Ajax coal mine and rail lines that today provide recreation trails, and a blacksmith shop.
A favourite spot for many looking for a quiet and peaceful walk. Named in tribute to Bob Townsend, a dedicated, Grasslands Naturalist.
A popular river and boating lake activity at Echo Dale Regional Park. Kayaking, and many other watercraft pleasures like canoeing, paddle boarding, boating, and floating. They often head downstream towards Police Point or Strathcona Island Parks, and beyond!
- All photos by Len Moser.