Alberta Highway 22

Route map:
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Highway 22 marker Highway 22 marker

Highway 22

Cowboy Trail
Highway 22 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by Alberta Ministry of Transportation
Length574 km (357 mi)
Major junctions
South end Hwy 3 near Lundbreck
Major intersections
North end Hwy 18 near Mayerthorpe
Specialized and rural municipalitiesPincher Creek No. 9 M.D., Ranchland No. 26 M.D., Foothills County, Rocky View County, Mountain View County, Clearwater County, Wetaskiwin No. 10 County, Brazeau County, Parkland County, Yellowhead County, Lac Ste. Anne County
TownsDiamond Valley, Cochrane, Sundre, Rocky Mountain House, Drayton Valley, Mayerthorpe
VillagesLongview, Cremona, Caroline
Highway system
Hwy 21 Hwy 22X

Alberta Provincial Highway No. 22, commonly referred to as Highway 22 and officially named Cowboy Trail, is a 584-kilometre (363 mi) highway in the Canadian province of Alberta. It generally parallels Highway 2, beginning in the foothills of southern Alberta at Highway 3 near Lundbreck Falls. It proceeds north along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains passing through the foothills and ranch country to the aspen parkland of northern Alberta, ending at Highway 18 near Mayerthorpe.

Cowboy Trail continues south and east of Highway 22 by following Highway 3 to Pincher Creek, Highway 6 to Waterton Lakes National Park, and Highway 5 to Cardston.[1]

Alberta Transportation is currently constructing a new interchange at the over-saturated intersection of Highways 22 and 1A in Cochrane.[2] There are also long-term plans for twinning from Bragg Creek to the north end of Cochrane, and the implementation of passing lanes near the highway's south end.

Route description[edit]

Southbound Highway 22, north of Sundre


Highway 22 is the longest and most significant north–south highway in south and central Alberta, aside from Highway 2. It serves as the main artery for the western areas of the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor and the Calgary Metropolitan Region. Having historically run though a lightly populated area – and being paralleled by the 4 lane, higher speed Highway 2 less than 100 kilometres east – Highway 22 did not initially see much traffic[citation needed]. It was built as a 2 lane road with only a handful of passing lanes on its long length, and only a single interchange at Highway 1. Since the mid-1990s, the region west of Calgary has experienced rapid growth, creating heavy traffic on sections of Highway 22[citation needed], particularly between Diamond Valley and Sundre[citation needed].

Southern Alberta[edit]

Highway 22 begins as a two-lane rural highway in the Municipal District of Pincher Creek No. 9 near Lundbreck Falls at Highway 3, the Crowsnest Highway. It proceeds north across increasingly flatter terrain of the foothills, parallel to the Oldman River, and then crosses it before entering the Municipal District of Ranchland No. 66, there are no significant communities in this area. The highway winds to the east of the Black Heritage Rangeland Natural Area, intersecting Highway 520 which branches east to meet Highway 2 at Claresholm. Highway 22 continues north through scenic terrain to the Chain Lakes Reservoir, from which Highway 533 splits east to meet Highway 2 at Nanton. Farther north the highway continues through Longview, Diamond Valley (made up of the former twin towns of Black Diamond and Turner Valley), and Millarville. The highway then jogs west at a T intersection with Highway 22X. Approximately 30 km (19 mi) later, the road turns north again at a T intersection with Highway 66 and passes through a corner of Bragg Creek where there is a signal light. Highway 22 then cuts though a corner of the Tsuu T'ina 145 Reservation passing by the community of Redwood Meadows. Immediately after exiting the reservation Highway 22 reaches an important Roundabout junction at Highway 8, enters Rocky View County and then crosses the Elbow River. From there it heads north past an interchange at the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) and reaches the Town of Cochrane which with a population over 30,000 is eligible for city status.


Highway 22 serves as Cochrane's main north–south artery and is one of only two connecting roads (the other being small neighbourhood road) across the Bow River (which bisects the town in half) in the entire area between Calgary and Stoney Nakoda First Nation reservation at the edge of the mountains. Upon entering Cochrane the two lane highway passes though a major signalized intersection at Fireside Gate/James Walker Trail before dipping down into the Bow River Valley (with an southbound uphill passing lane) before meeting another signal light at George Fox Trail. It then crosses the Bow River on a 2 lane bridge. Upon reaching the other side of the river it passes though three more signal lights at Griffin Road, Quigley Drive and Bow Valley Trail (Highway 1A) in short succession (the later is currently being replaced with an interchange). It then proceeds up a hill (with a northbound uphill passing lane) out of the river valley before meeting one final signal light at Sunset Drive. Shortly afterwards Highway 22 exits the city.

Central Alberta[edit]

Immediately after leaving Cochrane Highway 22 passes the Hamlet of Cochrane Lake and then an important intersection with Highway 567. From there it continues north to the Village of Cremona and then meets Highway 27 at another T intersection.[3] After jogging west it reaches Sundre where it once again turns north to Caroline. After another short westward jog the highway crosses the Red Deer River and heads north to Rocky Mountain House where it runs a short concurrency with Highway 11. From there it continues north to Highway 39 where it jogs west for the fourth time crossing the North Saskatchewan River and reaching Drayton Valley. It continues north from Drayton Valley and reaches Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) at Entwistle approximately 85 km (53 mi) west of Edmonton.[4] After a 8 km (5 mi) westbound concurrancy with Highway 16, it continues north to cross Highway 43 in Mayerthorpe and ends 7 km (4 mi) north of the town at Highway 18.[4]


The original alignment of Highway 22 started at Highway 2 (Macleod Trail) south of Calgary and travelled west to Priddis, where it turned south to Turner Valley and terminated at Highway 7 in Black Diamond.[5] In the 1970s, the province of Alberta began upgrading a series of roads to form a north–south, all-weather highway west of Highway 2. Beginning in c. 1972, the road connecting the Trans-Canada Highway and Cochrane was designated as part of Highway 22.[6] In c. 1973, the numbered secondary highway system appeared, with the road between Cochrane and Highway 27 being designated as Highway 922 (the paved section between Cremona and Bottrel became Highway 22) while the road between Priddis and Bragg Creek was briefly designated as Highway 553,[7] becoming Highway 922 in 1975.[8] Throughout the remainder of the 1970s, Highway 922 was extended from Highway 3 in the south to Highway 57 near Drayton Valley in the north.[8] Coinciding with Highway 922 being paved in c. 1976, Highway 22 was extended from Cochrane to Cremona,[9] while the following year it replaced Highway 922 between the Trans-Canada Highway and Priddis; as part of the project, the section between Priddis and Macleod Trail was renumbered as Highway 22X.[10] In c. 1980, all remaining gravel sections of Highway 922 were reclassified as Highway 22, along with a 18 km (11 mi) section of Highway 7 between Black Diamond and Longview, a 56 km (35 mi) section of Highway 57 between Drayton Valley and Entwistle (the remaining 27 km (17 mi) section of Highway 57 became part of Highway 39) and Highway 755 between Highway 16 and Mayerthorpe.[11] Throughout the 1980s, Highway 22 was paved, with all but a small section near Chain Lakes Provincial Park being completed by 1990 (the latter was completed in the mid-1990s).[12][13]

In 2014, a new $52 million bridge across the North Saskatchewan River near Drayton Valley was completed,[14] replacing the original bridge which was constructed in 1957.[15]

In 2019 the cloverleaf interchange where Highway 22 crosses Highway 1 was modified for safety reasons as part of a rehabilitation project resulting in two out of four loop ramps being removed a new signal light being added on Highway 22.

Starting in 2022 the section of Highway 22 between Highway 1 and Highway 8 began to be realigned and raised to avoid being flooded by the new Springbank dry reservoir in the event of a major flood. The project also included the construction of a bridge carrying Highway 22 over a new canal that will feed the reservoir.[16]


In April 2017, Alberta Transportation announced plans for a new interchange at Highway 1A in Cochrane. After years of delay construction finally began in May  2023, the interchange is expected to take 3 years to complete.[17][18] When finished it will be the first interchange to provided a free flowing movement to Highway 22 though traffic.

Alberta Transportation's 2024 Provincial Construction Program shows new roundabouts on Highway 22 in Bragg Creek and at Highway 567 in the detailed design phase which implies that Alberta Transportation intends to construct them within the next two years.[19] Plans to 4 lane Highway 22 within Cochrane including the construction a new bridge across the Bow River were also referenced as undergoing engineering assessment in the 2024 Construction Program which will likely result in this section being the first 4 lane portion of Highway 22.[19]

Alberta Transportation retained Tetra Tech EBA to complete a study in the feasibility of new passing lanes over a 118 km (73 mi) distance of Highway 22 between Highways 3 and 543.[20] The study was published in August 2011 and determined that passing lanes are justified at several locations, but at the time Alberta Transportation had no plans to proceed with the project.[20] However these passing lanes were also mentioned as undergoing engineering assessment in the 2024 Provincial Construction Program implying that they will likely be built in the near future.[19]

Alberta Transportation has plans to twin Highway 22 between Cochrane and Highway 8 with a longer term widening of up to 6 lanes. These plans also include upgrading the interchange at Highway 1; no timeline has been set for construction.[21]

Major intersections[edit]

From south to north:[22]

Rural/specialized municipalityLocationkmmiDestinationsNotes
M.D. of Pincher Creek No. 9Lundbreck0.00.0 Hwy 3 – Fort Macleod, Lethbridge, Crowsnest Pass
24.215.0Crosses Oldman River
M.D. of Ranchland No. 6644.427.6 Hwy 520 east – Claresholm, Barons
Chain Lakes
Provincial Park
71.344.3 Hwy 533 east / PAR 152 west – Nanton
82.251.1 Hwy 532 west – Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park
Foothills CountyBar U Ranch N.H.S.96.560.0 Hwy 540 east – Pekisko, Cayley
Longview109.167.8Crosses the Highwood River
110.568.7 Hwy 541 west – Kananaskis Country
117.973.3 Hwy 543 east – High River
Diamond Valley127.679.3 Hwy 7 east – OkotoksHwy 22 branches west; formerly Black Diamond
128.479.8Crosses the Sheep River
131.681.8 Hwy 546 west – Sheep River Provincial ParkHwy 22 branches north; formerly Turner Valley
Millarville142.988.8 Hwy 549 westSouth end of Hwy 549 concurrency
146.190.8 Hwy 549 east – OkotoksNorth end of Hwy 549 concurrency
Priddis159.198.9 Hwy 22X east – CalgaryHwy 22 branches west
175.9109.3 Hwy 762 south – Millarville
↑ / ↓176.2109.5 Hwy 66 west – Elbow FallsHwy 22 branches north
Rocky View CountyBragg Creek179.6111.6 Hwy 758 south – Bragg Creek Provincial Park
Tsuu T'ina Nation No. 145Redwood Meadows185.3115.1Redwood Meadows Drive
Rocky View County190.2118.2 Hwy 8 east – CalgaryRoundabout
191.3118.9Crosses the Elbow River
197.3122.6 Hwy 1 (TCH) – Calgary, BanffInterchange; Hwy 1 exit 161
Cochrane208.3129.4Crosses the Bow River
210.1130.6 Hwy 1A (Bow Valley Trail) – Calgary, CanmoreInterchange proposed[17]
218.5135.8 Hwy 567 east – AirdrieRoundabout
Bottrel234.9146.0 Hwy 574 east – Madden, Crossfield
Mountain View County245.4152.5 Hwy 579 west – Water Valley
Cremona250.0155.3 Hwy 580 east – Carstairs
265.3164.8 Hwy 582 east – Didsbury
277.2172.2 Hwy 27 east – OldsHwy 22 branches west; south end of Hwy 27 concurrency
Westward Ho278.9173.3Crosses the Little Red Deer River
Sundre287.3178.5 Hwy 760 south – Bergen
287.6178.7Crosses the Red Deer River
289.6179.9 Hwy 584 west – BearberryHwy 22 branches north; north end of Hwy 27 concurrency
↑ / ↓304.1189.0Crosses the James River
Clearwater CountyJames River Bridge306.0190.1 Hwy 587 east – Bowden
323.1200.8 Hwy 54 east – InnisfailHwy 22 branches west; south end of Hwy 54 concurrency
Caroline328.0203.850 Street
335.9208.7Crosses the Clearwater River
336.1208.8 Hwy 591 west – RicinusHwy 22 branches north; north end of Hwy 54 concurrency
353.9219.9Crosses the Clearwater River
361.2224.4 Hwy 11 east – Red DeerHwy 22 branches west; south end of Hwy 11 concurrency
Rocky Mountain House366.2227.5 Township Road 392 to Hwy 752 south
369.6229.7 Hwy 11A west / Hwy 598 east (52 Avenue) – LeslievilleAccess to Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site
373.1231.8 Hwy 11 west – Nordegg, Saskatchewan River CrossingHwy 22 branches north; north end of Hwy 11 concurrency
379.8236.0 Hwy 12 east – Lacombe
406.5252.6 Hwy 53 east – Rimbey, Ponoka
County of Wetaskiwin No. 10433.4269.3 Hwy 13 – Alder Flats, Wetaskiwin
Brazeau County452.9281.4 Hwy 616 – Buck Creek, Breton
464.6288.7 Hwy 39 east – LeducHwy 22 branches west
470.0292.0Crosses the North Saskatchewan River
Drayton Valley474.0294.550 Street
475.1295.2 Hwy 620 west – Lodgepole, Brazeau ReservoirHwy 22 turns north
478.3297.250 Avenue
Rocky Rapids485.2301.5 Hwy 621 west – Cynthia
↑ / ↓494.9307.5 Hwy 624 east – Tomahawk
Parkland CountyEntwistle519.9323.1 Hwy 16 (TCH/YH) east – Edmonton
Hwy 16A west – Entwistle
Interchange; Hwy 16 exit 289; Hwy 22 branches west; south end of Hwy 16 concurrency
↑ / ↓↑ / ↓520.9323.7Crosses the Pembina River
Yellowhead CountyEvansburg522.1324.4UAR 115 north
527.8328.0 Hwy 16 (TCH/YH) west – JasperHwy 22 branches north; north end of Hwy 16 concurrency
528.5328.4 Hwy 16A – Wildwood, Evansburg
Lac Ste. Anne County561.1348.7 Hwy 647 west – Anselmo
Mayerthorpe567.3352.5 Hwy 43 – Whitecourt, Grande Prairie, Edmonton
574.3356.9 Hwy 18 – Green Court, Barrhead
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ "Cowboy Trail Map". The Cowboy Trail. The Cowboy Trail Tourism Association. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  2. ^ Alberta, Government of. "Highway 1A / Highway 22 Interchange". Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  3. ^ "2015 Provincial Highway 1-216 Progress Chart" (PDF). Alberta Transportation. March 2015. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-04-10. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  4. ^ a b Google (2017-12-05). "Highway 22 in Alberta" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  5. ^ Department of Highways (1960). Alberta Official Road Map (PDF) (Map). The Province of Alberta.
  6. ^ Travel Alberta (1972). Alberta Official Road Map (Map). The Province of Alberta.
  7. ^ Travel Alberta (1974). Alberta Official Road Map (Map). The Province of Alberta.
  8. ^ a b Travel Alberta (1975). Alberta Official Road Map (Map). The Province of Alberta.
  9. ^ Travel Alberta (1976). Alberta Official Road Map (Map). The Province of Alberta.
  10. ^ Travel Alberta (1978–1979). Alberta Official Road Map (Map). The Province of Alberta.
  11. ^ Travel Alberta (1980–1981). Alberta Official Road Map (Map). The Province of Alberta.
  12. ^ Travel Alberta (1990). Alberta Official Road Map (Map). The Province of Alberta.
  13. ^ Travel Alberta (1995). Alberta Official Road Map (Map). The Province of Alberta.
  14. ^ "Bridge Open to Traffic". Big West Country. June 10, 2015. Archived from the original on January 3, 2017. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  15. ^ "Transportation Infrastructure Management System - Existing Structures in the Provincial Highway Corridor" (PDF). Alberta Transportation. September 28, 2012. p. 108. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  16. ^ "Construction – Springbank Off-stream Reservoir". Retrieved 2024-03-03.
  17. ^ a b "Cochrane Interchange". Alberta Transportation. Government of Alberta. 2023. Retrieved 2024-03-03.
  18. ^ Tucker, Erika (2017-04-07). "Alberta government announces plans for Town of Cochrane interchange". Global News. Retrieved 2017-09-24.
  19. ^ a b c "2024 Construction Program" (PDF). Government of Alberta. 2024.
  20. ^ a b Tetra Tech EBA (August 2011). "Highway 22:06 to Highway 22:12 Climbing and Passing Lane Study - Highway 3 to Highway 543" (PDF). Alberta Transportation. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  21. ^ ISL Engineering and Land Services (March 2014). Highway 22 Functional Planning Study: South of Highway 8 to Town of Cochrane South Corporate Limits (PDF). Alberta Transportation (Report). Retrieved 2017-09-24.
  22. ^ Alberta Road Atlas (2005 ed.). Oshawa, ON: MapArt Publishing Corp. pp. 55, 63, 69, 70, 75, 76, 82.

External links[edit]

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