Rosebud, population 88, offers the visitor a range of experiences – an impressive feat considering its size. Named for the wild roses that cover the valley in the summer, Rosebud is now a destination for theatre goers, golfers and small town addicts. Its location at the edge of the Canadian Badlands ensures the scenery is first class too. From Calgary, Rosebud is about a 75 minute drive.

What should you do on a weekend getaway to Rosebud?

The biggest attraction in town is the Rosebud Theatre. People come from all over Alberta to enjoy the programming that starts in March and runs through till December. This year the season ends with the play Miracle on 34th Street.

From humble beginnings as a summer camp for teenagers, the Rosebud Theatre has gone through lots of changes to become what it is today – a professional theatre company offering six shows every year on two stages. Over 40,000 people a year now visit the theatre and little town – enjoying the friendliness of the local community along with an evening of entertainment that includes a buffet dinner before the theatre. There’s also the Rosebud School of the Arts – a Christian theatre and preforming arts college with the students participating in all aspects of the theatre.

A Weekend Getaway to Rosebud, Alberta

Another of the stages in Rosebud

A Weekend Getaway to Rosebud, Alberta

I attended An Inspector Calls

What else can you do in Rosebud?

Rosebud is basically a two street town. You could run through the business area in under a minute. But take your time. Check out the signs detailing the town’s history and you’ll learn a lot. For example, back in prohibition times, pass the ketchup would have had a whole other meaning than it does today. For behind the ketchup, Ben Wishart, the owner of the confectionery kept a supply of whiskey. For 50 cents you could knock back a shot. And apparently he never got caught.

There are several gift shops featuring local artists – with some excellent work that would make great Christmas gifts. If your timing is right you can visit the Rosebud Country Pie Shoppe (Wednesday – Saturday from 2 – 5 PM only) or park yourself at the Thorny Rose Café – and enjoy everything from breakfast to something more substantial along with a drink. During the busy season it’s open from 11 AM until 8 PM from Wednesday to Sunday. Wild Horse Jack’s Grill is another option. Located in a western themed space within the same building where theatre goers dine, you can expect a family friendly dining experience.

A Weekend Getaway to Rosebud, Alberta

This is one of the two main streets in Rosebud

A Weekend Getaway to Rosebud, Alberta

Kith & Kin Artisan Wares – a great little shop filled with local finds

A Weekend Getaway to Rosebud, Alberta

The Hotel Rosebud was built around 1912

A Weekend Getaway to Rosebud, Alberta

For a little town it’s got its fair share of cute stores

A Weekend Getaway to Rosebud, Alberta

Rosebud owes its existence to the establishment of the railways

A Weekend Getaway to Rosebud, Alberta

The view you get off of main street in Rosebud

Where can you stay in Rosebud?

Again, considering the population there is a lot of choice when it comes to accommodation, though almost all of it is the B&B variety. Choose from eight B&B’s and the 10 room Rosebud Country Inn. We stayed at the friendly Rose Cottage B&B, offering three bedrooms, a sitting room and a two course candlelit breakfast. It was a minute’s walk at most to the main street.

What’s near Rosebud one should see?

John and I had brought our bikes with us to Rosebud and had planned to do a loop ride starting and ending in town. But once we got there we noticed that almost all the side roads were dirt so we nixed that idea and headed for Drumheller, 25 minutes away.

We had a couple of ideas of where we wanted to ride but before we got going, we checked out as we always do the beautiful Horseshoe Canyon. It’s particularly lovely in the fall with lots of red and yellow foliage. If you like hiking and exploring give yourself a few hours and head down into the canyon, following easy to see trails until you’ve had enough. You’ll find the parking area 17 kilometres west of Drumheller on Highway 9.

A Weekend Getaway to Rosebud, Alberta

Drumheller and the Badlands Country is 25 minutes away from Rosebud

For a bike ride we elected to do a short easy ride along the 11 Bridges Road to Wayne and the Rosedeer Hotel – Last Chance Saloon – which is normally a popular spot with the weekend motorcycle crowd. The turnoff for the road is 14 kilometres southeast of Drumheller via Highways 10/56. Look for Highway 10X. Keen cyclists will want to include and out and back ride from Drumheller as well.

This road is a winner from start to finish. Follow the road as it crosses the beautiful Rosebud River (which you can paddle in the spring) via 11 one lane bridges. And even though there isn’t much of a shoulder for cyclists, there are so few cars, it doesn’t matter. In summer, treat yourself to an ice cream cone at the store near the Rosedeer Hotel. We turned around and retraced our steps once we hit the dirt road.

For another longer bike ride in the Drumheller area check out – A Loop Ride on the Dinosaur Trail.

A Weekend Getaway to Rosebud, Alberta

The start of the 11 bridges drive over 6 kms to Wayne, Alberta

A Weekend Getaway to Rosebud, Alberta

One of the 11 bridges

A Weekend Getaway to Rosebud, Alberta

Spectacular fall scenery along the Rosebud River

A Weekend Getaway to Rosebud, Alberta

All the bridges are one lane only

A Weekend Getaway to Rosebud, Alberta

Stay at the Rosedeer Hotel in themed rooms or grab a beer at the Last Chance Saloon

A Weekend Getaway to Rosebud, Alberta

This is a particularly nice road to bike – until it turns to gravel

A Weekend Getaway to Rosebud, Alberta

We turned around once we hit the dirt road

A Weekend Getaway to Rosebud, Alberta

There’s a lot to do in the Badlands

Judging from the sign highlighting the area near Drumhller, I have a lot more exploring to do.

If you love theatre, plan a trip to Rosebud. Overnight is best so you don’t have to drive back in the dark.

A Weekend Getaway to Rosebud, Albeta

Thank you to the Canadian Badlands and the Rosebud Theatre for making the weekend a reality.

Leigh McAdam

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta
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