Medicine Hat is a prosperous, scenic city built on high banks overlooking the South Saskatchewan River. Much local lore concerns the origin of its name. One legend tells of a battle between Cree and Blackfoot peoples: the Cree fought bravely until their medicine man deserted, losing his headdress in the South Saskatchewan River. The site's name, Saamis, meaning "medicine man's hat," was later translated by white settlers into Medicine Hat.
Originally settled as a tent town for railroad crews in 1883, Alberta's fifth-largest city has derived wealth from vast deposits of natural gas, some of which is piped up to fuel quaint gas lamps in the turn-of-the-19th-century downtown area.
A nice spot to spend an afternoon is alongside the South Saskatchewan River and Seven Persons Creek, a parkland and environmental preserve interconnected by 15 km (9 mi) of walking, biking, and cross-country ski trails.