A traditional welcoming ceremony greets visitors to Painted Warriors Ranch in a wide-open, forested setting with dramatic views of the Rocky Mountains.
Enjoy "culture-sharing" guided hikes — learning about Métis and other Indigenous ways of life — while on the lookout for elk, moose, deer, coyotes, wolves and black bears. Take up or hone your horseback riding, snowshoeing, archery or bush survival skills, immersing yourself in a variety of year-round, traditionally based learning programs lasting from one to five days. After a winter excursion, warm up around a campfire over bush tea and hot berry soup with bannock, while listening to stories about the stars above.
Located in the foothills 110 kilometres northwest of Calgary, just off the legendary Cowboy Trail, Painted Warriors Ranch is an ideal place to learn about animal tracking and natural navigation using a shadow stick. Certified training courses are also offered for everything from outdoor cooking and hunting, to equine first aid and horseback riding, which can include multi-day backcountry boot camp adventures.
Join the chef in collecting wild plants and roots used for food and medications, and take part in preparing a traditional evening meal. Then head to bed in a tent — go simple or opt for a luxurious walled tent for a night of glamping. Wake up refreshed to the sounds of birds and nature.
“Our goal is to offer more than just tourism experiences,” says Tracey Klettl, who runs the 100 per cent Indigenous-owned Painted Warriors with partner Tim Mearns. “People are losing their outdoor skills and we’re working to keep them alive since they’re part of our culture.”