Bar U Ranch National Historic Site – Parks Canada


Come out to the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site, learn and experience the tradition and history of agriculture in Alberta. On Saturday, August 14 watch our volunteers, heavy horses and equipment harvest the winter wheat. Find the perfect spot for a picnic, take an afternoon 20-minute wagon tour, experience the Stoney Nakoda Tipi Encampment, enjoy a hike on the Pekisko Creek Trail and with our farm animals.

Ride into history on a wagon pulled by Percheron horses to discover the life of a ranching cowboy from the late 1800’s at the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site.
Try your hand at cowboy skills, learn about the old-style ranching ways, wander through the rustic and authentic buildings or sit around the campfire and listen to old time tales.
Back-dropped by the Rocky Mountains – it’s a true Alberta experience!

Bar U Ranch National Historic Site – New Experiences

Stoney Nakoda Tipi:
There is a historic relationship between foothills ranches and the Bearspaw Nation of the Stoney Nakoda, as well as other indigenous groups. It is well known that a diverse workforce, especially indigenous people, played a significant role in the history of the ranch. Given this, one of the foremost highlights of 2020 was having members of the Bearspaw Stoney share their culture and perspectives at a tipi encampment at the Bar U. This encampment is representative of the transition between the pre Treaty 7 and post Treaty 7 indigenous experience and a visit here allows guests a view into those experiences and traditions.

Wagon Tours:
Visitors are welcome to discover the Bar U Ranch by wagon as part of the self guided visit. Complimentary wagon tours with an interpreter start at round up camp and visit a variety of unique areas on the ranch such as the riparian zone, the polo field, the tipi and the historic core. This is a truly authentic way to experience the ranch and our knowledgeable interpreters will bring it all to life for you. Wagon tours run on the half hour and information on daily/weekly schedules will be available during operational season. Wagon tours have limited capacity and are on a first come, first serve basis.

Pekisko Creek Trail:
The Bar U Ranch opened a 3 km trail, which includes a portion of the national historic site not often seen during a regular visit. Visitors can enjoy the sounds of the creek, tranquil rustic picnic spots and stunning mountain view. Guests will experience a range of cultural and natural history.

More Activities:

  • Learn to rope
  • Leathercraft
  • Gardening
  • Visit with our farm animals
  • Take a hike
  • Parks Canada Red Chairs
  • Heavy Horse Harvest – all visitors are welcome to help us with the Binding and Stooking of the winter wheat – 10 a.m. until it’s done!
  • Calgary Stampede Stage with Local entertainment and Indigenous Dancing
  • Pekisko Creek Trade Fair & Art Show featuring all local artisans
  • Millarville Musical Riders – parade through the Bar U Ranch Historic Core and Performance in the Arena at 1:30 p.m.
  • Tipi Raising Races

Quick facts
• Size: 148.43 hectares (367 acres).
• Features: original ranch headquarters situated along Pekisko Creek, consisting of 35
historic structures and visitor centre.
• Maintains livestock including saddle horses, draft horses, and a cow/calf operation.
• Located in Foothills County where agriculture remains a major economic engine.
• The area is home to an abundance of wildlife including mule deer, whitetail deer, moose,
elk, coyotes, wolves, cougars, black bears, and grizzly bears.
• Pekisko Creek is an important trout spawning stream and tributary to some renowned fly
fishing rivers.

Facilities and services
• Accessible Facilities (Visitor Centre is fully accessible, Historic Site has limited accessibility)
• Picnic areas
• Bus parking
• Bar U Ranch Cafe
• Bar U Ranch Gift Shop
• Restrooms located in Visitor Centre and in Historic Core

 

Join us in August when more than 100 farms, ranches, and ag-tourism operators open their gates and invite visitors to share in local stories, see on-farm demonstrations and purchase locally grown and produced products.

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