The arrival of the Brewster family in 1887 as early homesteaders led to the construction of Bowden's first hotel, "The Brewster House". This landmark drew others and soon Bowden established itself as the stopover for Alberta travellers. Today that role still exists, luring visitors and tourists to some of Alberta's most scenic parks and rivers. As "Gateway to the Parkland", we provide the perfect starting point for your vacation.
Bowden is a family town, celebrating its Golden Jubilee in 1954. Bowden was incorporated as a town in August 1981. Bowden celebrated its 100th birthday in 2004, with young and old alike coming home to help celebrate our Centennial.
Elevation: 3296 Feet
Longitude & Latitude: N. 51° 55.956' ... W. 114° 02.068'
RED LODGE PROVINCIAL PARK
Striking prairie landscape blending into the wooded wonderland of Red Lodge Provincial Park is home to teeming wildlife and untouched natural beauty. On this site, an English settler named Mr. Crichley had a craftsman build him a large log home on the shore of the Little Red Deer River. The logs were painted red, thus Red Lodge became the name of his ranch and later, the name of a small community and the provincial park.
Red Lodge is a fully serviced campground with miles of riverbanks that captivate visiting families. Watersports abound here so be sure to bring your swimsuit. In summer, the water just meanders through the campground and is great for kids to wade in and cool off. Canoeing is a great family relaxation on the river, so come and have fun!
Red Lodge Provincial Park is 15 km west of Bowden on Secondary Highway 587, 222 km south of Edmonton and 113 km north of Calgary. Please call 403-224-2547 to confirm camping fees. Group camping fees are dependent upon the size of your group. Phone: 403-224-2547.
RIVER RIDGE RV PARK & CAMPGROUND
The River Ridge RV Park is located 16 km west of Bowden on Hwy. 587 on west bank of the Little Red Deer River. There is also a group camping area if you're planning a family reunion. Firewood and firepits are available. The security gate is closed at 11 pm. A special treat is the overnight horse corrals on site. Pets are allowed. Open from May to September, you'll definitely enjoy the beautiful scenery and quiet getaway at River Ridge. For rates and availability, call 403-224-2727.
RED LODGE OUTFITTERS & GUEST RANCH
Enjoy a quiet break from your hectic lifestyle at Red Lodge Outfitters & Guest Ranch, just ten minutes west of Bowden. This is a working cattle and horse ranch, homesteaded in 1905. Guests are invited to live a western lifestyle while they reside either in the main ranch house, or in the rustic, yet heated and very comfortable cabins nestled in the natural wilderness. Backcountry trailrides in the North Burnt Timber area of the Rocky Mountains are also available. Take a one to five day trip and enjoy the beauty of the North Burnt Timber area of the Canadian Rockies. Phone: 403-224-2916.
In 1875, the original C & E Trail was developed and settlers began arriving. The first passenger train began in 1891, bringing more settlers. The first survey at Bowden's present site was done in 1900, population 12. The White Swan Creamery was constructed in 1895, and was destroyed by an explosion in 1935. The population was 171 in 1906, a new school was completed, along with the first grain elevator. Telephones arrived in 1911. In 1916, fire wiped out Railway Avenue from Hammond to Nanton Street. Another fire in 1925 destroyed most of the business area and many homes as well.
The area near Bowden was originally called Lone Pine for the well-known stopping place on the Calgary to Edmonton Trail. There are three possible versions for the origin of the name "Bowden". The first, and most widely accepted version, says that a surveyor named Williamson suggested his wife's maiden name. The second states that it recalls Bowden in Melrose Municipality in Scotland. The third maintains that the name commemorates a town in Manchester, England. This was verified by an early postmaster who, around 1905, confirmed the Manchester connection.
BOWDEN PIONEER MUSEUM
The Bowden Pioneer Museum is located at 2201 - 19 Ave, in the old curling rink in Bowden. Governed by the Bowden Historical Society, artefacts at the museum include:
Gerald Robin O'Brien Hoare Home/Studio Exhibit, consisting of a replica of "Bob's" home/studio as well as his cameras, photo equipment and an amazing collection of some of the earliest photographs in this province representing an important, complete picture of Alberta village and farm life at the turn of the 20th century.
Irene M. Wood Avon Collection consisting of over 6000 items of Avon collected over 30 years.
Eastern Star Exhibit which show a meeting room with a long history of Eastern Star in Alberta.
Hardware/General Store which displays our varied collection of memorabilia down the ages found in a pioneer store from angel irons to spice tins.
Chamber of Commerce Avenue shows the many businesses that have been in Bowden over the 100 years of incorporation and some.
We offer Guided Tours by informative friendly staff. Admission - $2.00
Seasonal Opening - May 30, 31 and June 1
June & September - Sundays 1 pm - 4 pm
July & August - Wednesday to Saturday 10 am - 4 pm
July & August - Sunday 1 pm - 4 pm
Bowden SunMaze is a fantastic destination for families, friends or groups looking for an enjoyable day in the country. With 3 acres of U-pick Flowers, 2 acres of U-pick vegetables, 3 corn mazes, a Sunflower maze and play area for children, there is something for everyone in the family.
Open from the last weekend in July until the last weekend in October.
From the Bowden overpass on QEII (Hwy #2); Travel west on Secondary Road #587 4.8 km (3 miles) to Rge Rd 14; Turn Right (North) and the farm is 2.4 km (1.5 miles) down the road.
The Bowden Cenotaph was constructed in 1946-47 in memory of those who served in the Canadian Armed Forces during 1914 - 1918 and 1939 - 1945.
In 1946 - 47, the rock shown in the picture to the right was brought from the Rex Waddell Farm and erected on Highway 2 as a Cenotaph for Bowden. In 1958, it was refurbished and moved to the local school. In 1958, a commemorative plaque was placed below the original plaque. In November 1988, due to the time and elements, Mason Vic Greaves refurbished the cenotaph with split rock and mortar.
BOWDEN HI WAY GOLF ASSOCIATION
Bring your golf clubs! Bowden is home to one of Alberta's neatest and challenging 9 hole golf courses. There's a Pro Shop, clubhouse and a fully licensed restaurant called Jack's Kitchen for your pleasure. Phone: 403-224-2121.