Backyard Bucket List: Explore Alberta's EM-TE Town

I have lived in Alberta my whole life, all "28-and-holding" years. It shames me to admit that I have only visited a handful of the major sights in my own province, despite being obsessed with experiencing literally everything an area has to offer when I travel. This summer I vowed to do more "backyard" exploring, and have even had the chance to discover some places I never even knew existed. EM-TE Town is one of those places.

EM-TE Town welcome sign old west ghost town Alberta
Welcome to EM-TE Town, Alberta!

The discovery was made when a colleague of mine and I were trying to plan a year-end adventure with our Grade 9 class, as a way for them to reminisce and and build more memories together before they left for the summer, and then for high school, where it was more than likely they'd go down separate paths. Bryan, my teacher colleague, came across a place near the small town of Alder Flats called "EM-TE Town". After reading the website, we decided it was perfect.

abandoned bank EM-TE Town Alberta camping
The EM-TE Town bank.

EM-TE Town is a campground, with areas reserved for tents and RVs, and also with cabins and giant teepees available to rent. There is also an old motel available for quick stays. The twist on this particular campground experience is that in the center of the establishment is a replica 'Western Frontier Town', complete with horseback riding and hay wagon rides.

The town has a bank, a sheriff's office with prison, a general store, a blacksmith shop, an old school house, and much more. Each building has rooms replete with antique furniture, genuine artifacts, old papers, black and white pictures hanging on the walls, and everything needed to complete a realistic scene. It is like an old west museum, except for the fact that you can go inside the rooms, touch and pick up the items, take photos, and enjoy the interactive experience.

Old West ghost town Alberta EM-TE Town
EM-TE Town in all its glory.

The kids particularly enjoyed the model ''wealthy" home, which had a lavishly decorated kitchen table, and a cozy living room.

inside Old West log cabin EM-TE Town Alberta
The kitchen of the wealthy 'showhome' at EM-TE Town

As a class, we rented two cabins, as our group was very small, and we split the girls and boys. (Naturally, I supervised the girls and Bryan supervised the boys.) The cabins were relatively big, furnished with beds, couches, a stove, a table, some shelving, and a wash counter. There was no running water or electricity. EM-TE town gave us some lanterns so we'd have light in the evenings. Otherwise, we were 'roughing it' - or at least as 'rough' as a group of 15-years-olds could get (there were a lot of cell phones and Angry Bird games going on deep into the night...)

cabin rental EM-TE Town Alberta camping
An EM-TE Town cabin - so cute!

Activities at EM-TE town included a volleyball net and football field set up in a large, green common area, a pool table in the ole saloon (which they allowed our kids to use as long as they were behaving), and some hiking trails. We had a great time exploring the old town, playing pool, and participating in some semi-tackle football (since I'm so short, I was a favorite for being pushed to the ground!)

Old West teepee EM-TE Town Alberta camping
One of the teepees available for rental at EM-TE Town
All of this was relatively inexpensive as well. If you wanted to go and check out the frontier town just for the day, the cost is $7.00 for adults, and $4.00 for children.  The campsites range from $20.00 for tents, to $40 for an RV unit with power ($24 for no power).  The cabins, which we rented, range from $90 to $125, depending the size of cabin you need.  For more info, visit the EM-TE Town website.

EM-TE Town was a bit out of the way in regards to driving distance.  We left from our little rural school, and the drive was fairly straightforward.  On the website in the "Contact Us" section there are driving directions and a map.  Here are the written directions, taken right from the EM-TE Town site:

From Hwy #22 (between Drayton Valley and Rocky Mountain House) Go west on Hwy #13 to Alder Flats.

Go past the school and turn left at the car wash/bottle depot. Go south 2 miles (3km) to stop sign. Turn right and go west 2 miles (3km) to the end of the road.

map to EM-TE Town Alberta camping
Map to EM-TE Town, Alberta, Canada


  1. I like this idea! Growing up my mum left her job to go back to college, so we had no money, but she took us to every single historical monument, museum, park etc within a three hour driving radius.

    Highlights were the Roman ruins you could climb on. Low was the town that invented aluminium window frames. Though we've probably had more fun ribbing mum for taking us to a town to stare at window frames for years now, than we did climbing the ruins!

    1. Ha ha - aluminum frames! Nice! I did all that stuff with my family too, which is probably why I still love visiting local attractions today. Just you wait until I visit the "Gopher Museum" - that should be an interesting post! ;)

      P.S. Climbing Roman ruins sounds absolutely wonderful!

  2. I will be going for summer travel with my friends,Thanks for sharing travel related information with us.

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  3. Ohh, this reminds me of Fort Edmonton Park! Way to take me back to my 6-year old childhood! This place looks awesome.

    1. I was just in Fort Edmonton in June for my Grade 4 field trip. It is a bit similar, although Fort Edmonton has LOTS more to see and do. But Em-Te Town has camping! How have you been? I haven't chatted with you in a long time! :)

    2. I've been good, although admittedly a little M.I.A lately. I have been a little down on myself about my travel blog. First I had no money, and now I have money but no time to do anything major. But I have a new job that is pretty good for right out of college, and it's been nice not to have to struggle between paychecks.

    3. I am in the same boat - doing okay for money, but 'unavailable' to travel for quite some time due to a wee little Peanut growing in my belly! I will have to be creative about how I travel and what I post about for a little while, until baby gets old enough to tag along with me! ;) You will eventually find a balance and I look forward to hearing about more of your adventures!