Bar U Ranch National Historic Site opens to visitors May 15
The vast network of protected areas administered by Parks Canada is a gateway to nature, history, and 450 000 km² of stories from coast to coast to coast.
Bar U Ranch National Historic Site is open for the 2023 visitor season! You're invited to the Alberta foothills for an immersive experience at the only national historic site commemorating ranching in Canada. The site will be open 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, May 15 to September 30.
National historic sites reflect the rich and varied heritage of Canada and provide an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about its diverse history. At Bar U Ranch National Historic Site, visitors can learn more about the history of cattle ranching in Canada. Plan your visit today and hear stories of the events that have shaped Canada's past, present, and future!
What's happening at Bar U Ranch
Restoring historic buildings while maintaining their original essence is an ongoing project for Parks Canada's Built Heritage staff. Visitors are encouraged to talk with the Bar U Ranch restoration crew while they work on the Alwood Cabin, Chophouse and Blacksmith Shop and other historic buildings this season.
Always a visitor favourite! Bar U Ranch guests learn the story of the ranch while being pulled by majestic Percheron draft horses. Complimentary wagon rides are hosted by Parks Canada staff and offer an authentic way to see the site. The rides are accessible to all and run multiple times a day. Information is available at the Visitor Centre.
Bar U Ranch offers a variety of scenic viewpoints and trails. Pekisko Creek meanders its way through the site providing tranquil creek sounds, excellent songbird spotting and exceptional picnic spots.
Note: The east portion of Pekisko Creek trail will be closed this season. Please obey all posted signage.
Stoney Nakoda Tipi
Bar U Ranch welcomes back members of the Bearspaw First Nation. Guests are encouraged to visit the tipi encampment in the Pekisko Creek meadow to learn more about Indigenous culture and perspectives. Discover the historic relationship between foothills ranches and local Indigenous peoples.
Parks Canada is reimagining the Bar U Ranch Visitor Centre. Staff are working with historians and Indigenous groups to create new interpretive material and displays. The updated visitor centre includes never-before displayed artifacts, new seating areas, a kids play area and complimentary coffee.
Note: Bar U Ranch's café has been discontinued. However, the Bar U Gift Shop has snacks and beverages available for purchase. Visitors are also welcomed to bring their own food and find a picnic spot.
• National Indigenous Peoples Day
• Canada Day
• Historic Places Days
• Alberta Open Farm Days
• Old Time Ranch Rodeo
• Chore Horse Competition
Historic Places Days are an opportunity to discover Canada's many diverse historic destinations and the vital role these places have in their communities. This year, Historic Places Days begins on July 8. Travel back in time and discover the great stories of the past. Hundreds of fascinating historic places like Bar U Ranch are waiting to be discovered!
Visit the Bar U Ranch website for more information on special events.
"As we near summertime, I encourage everyone to connect with nature and culture and make lasting memories at Bar U Ranch National Historic Site. National historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas represent the very best that Canada has to offer, these are places Canadians and visitors to Canada can explore to learn about nature and Canada's history. The vast network of protected areas administered by Parks Canada has something for everyone to enjoy."
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
"The visitor season coming into full swing at Parks Canada's administered places is always an exciting time of year. The Parks Canada team works extremely hard to provide visitors with high-quality and meaningful experiences across the country. We look forward to welcoming new and returning visitors to Bar U Ranch National Historic Site!"
President & Chief Executive Officer, Parks Canada
- Set in the rolling foothills of the Rockies along Alberta's famous "Cowboy Trail", the Bar U Ranch is the only national historic site to commemorate the history and importance of ranching in Canada.
- Bar U is a working cattle operation. It has many historic buildings and structures, illustrating various stages of ranching development from 1882-1950, and is rich in cultural landscape features.
- In 2023, the ranch is home to seven Percheron draft horses. Smoke, Smudge, Daisy, Dolly, Pocca, Terra, and Hawkeye share ranch duties throughout the season including pulling visitors on wagon rides and towing historic agriculture equipment demonstrations.
- Parks Canada has launched a new podcast series, entitled ReCollections. Five initial episodes share the captivating stories behind various national historic sites across the country. Delve into Canada's rich natural and cultural heritage and discover more about these cherished treasures.
- Parks Canada administered places are a source of shared pride for all Canadians. The Government of Canada is pleased to continue to offer free admission to all Parks Canada's administered places for youth aged 17 and under.
- In celebration of diversity, Parks Canada offers free admission to new Canadian citizens for one year through the Institute for Canadian Citizenship's Canoo mobile app.