Nestled in the small hamlet of Mossleigh, Alberta, you’ll find a train themed destination that is fast becoming a true rural gem in the Canadian Badlands.
Aspen Crossing is located just 45 minutes southeast of Calgary on Hwy 24, situated between 2 major cities, Lethbridge and Calgary.
Having gotten its roots literally started as a tree farm and nursery, Aspen Crossing has been evolving for over 13 years to become a major tourist destination in the heart of Southern Alberta.
So how does a tree farm become a rural tourist destination? Why the train theme? Well, it all started when the owner and mastermind behind Aspen Crossing along with his partner and General Manager, Donna Biggar, realized many of their plant and tree customers asked where they could get lunch or a drink and relax before taking the trip back home.
In 2006 a chance opportunity came about to purchase an 1887 Pullman rail car. If the age of this rail car didn’t indicate history, then it’s noted past confirmed it. The rail car just finished up it’s entertaining days or rather nights, as part of the famous Side Track café in Edmonton. Having hosted great acts such as Sarah MacLachlan, The Barenaked Ladies, Blue Rodeo, K.D. Lang and many, many more. The iconic nightclub was closing its doors after 18 years. But it’s history went further back, to when it served as Prime Minister John Diefenbaker’s campaign rail car during the mid-1950’s.
Today this historical 1887 Pullman serves up a new menu every season for every palate from April to December. During the summer months, dining outdoors on the beautiful deck is an extra special experience.
Selling plants and trees naturally required a storefront, so in 2005 a replica CPR Station was built to hold not only small plants but all kinds of unique gift finds. The Station has expanded over the years with visitors coming from all over Southern Alberta just to experience the many offerings that change with every season.
In 2009 the tree farm was developed into an 85 site, big rig friendly campsite. Complete with 3 Group shelters to accommodate corporate bookings, family reunions or any group gathering. With full facilities such as:
• Laundry Facilities
• Modern Showers
• Flushing Toilets
• Group Camping
• Fully Serviced Sites
• Sani-dump Stations
• Big Rig Friendly (pull throughs)
• Professional Helpful Staff
In February 2017, an additional 30 large PWS30 sites were added to the new online booking system.
With lots of areas to walk or bike ride, you’ll be able to kick back and relax in true camping style. If you’re not a camper but still like the idea of the great outdoors, then you might want to try glamping instead in one of 3 well appointed Caboose Cabins. The fun of camping but with hotel amenities! These Caboose Cabins will have you back on track in no time! Say goodbye to stress and enjoy the great prairie oasis!
When plant season is done in early July, the 2 large green houses become the venue for weddings, corporate events and family reunions. Having kept back specific planters and hanging baskets, the scene is set for any event gathering you may want.
In 2002 the last CP train ran through Mossleigh. After 6 years of negotiations, Jason Thornhill, the creator of Aspen Crossing, was successful at saving and securing the rights to 14 miles of rail line. By May of 2015 the Aspen Crossing Railway made is inaugural run with over 100 guests and patrons coming out to celebrate the latest addition to Aspen Crossing.
In 2017 the Aspen Crossing Railway will be in its third year, offering over 11 different themed train excursions. From Wine and Cheese, Ales on Rails, Circus Train, Dinner Theatre and Champagne Brunch just to mention a few. The average train excursion runs between 2 – 4 hours.
Some train tours include food, while others have food and beverages available for purchase. Aspen Crossing was also the first in Alberta to be authorized to offer The Polar Express™ Train Ride based on the book and movie of the same name. The Aspen Crossing Railway is also the first Halloween Haunt on rails in Canada under the name of, The Train of Terror.
There’s a rail romance going on at Aspen Crossing. Not just an RV campground, it’s a traintastic opportunity to disconnect and reconnect. Appreciate what travelling in Alberta has to offer; majestic scenery, some wonderful history, all while creating those very precious and treasured memories.