DAILY TOUR SYNOPSIS: Day 3 – The Alberta Cowboy Trail

Entering the prairies along the southern sections of the Alberta cowboy trail our third day explores colonial and aboriginal history of this inland province. There is a stark contrast of the mountains that shadow the prairies for much of the day as we visit UNESCO heritage sites including Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump and Bar-U Ranch. Arriving in Brooks in the late afternoon, we step back millions of years with a sunset tour of the spectacular badlands in Dinosaur Provincial Park.


Our route is divided into small sections today focussing on UNESCO world heritage sites and areas of local significance. We pass through many small towns and hamlets across southwest Alberta. The first stage of the tour is a journey out of Waterton Lakes National Park and into the historic town of Fort MacLeod. Leaving the national park we head north via Pincher Creek passing through the Indian reservation of the Piikani Nation in Brocket. Along this journey your guide will explain the history and significance of Indian Reservations across Alberta and Canada.

We arrive in Fort MacLeod whose main street remains well preserved. The city was bankrupt in the 1920’s, leaving the city relatively untouched until restoration work commenced in the 1980’s. This town grew on the location of the Mounted Police Barracks and a replica fort hosts a Fort Museum where we view a musical horseback re-enactment of parades that may have once been the norm on this site. After the musical performance you have some time to explore the fort museum or explore the heritage main street.

On the outskirts of MacLeod we explore the exciting heritage of the First Nation people as we visit the UNESCO site at Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump. Learn of how hundreds of bison at full gallop thundering over the edge of a cliff must have made quite a sight as we relive the past.

Heading north along the Alberta cowboy trail we discover tales of hamlets and towns we pass. These communities have survived from boom to almost bust or somewhere in between partially due to the railways growth and changes in agricultural practices.

Our next stop is nestled in the foothills of southern Alberta with the majestic Rocky Mountains as the backdrop. Bar U Ranch, one of the jewels in Parks Canada’s crown allows guests to commemorate the evolution of the Canadian ranching industry.

The site uses a living history approach to present the ranching industry. Bar U Ranch was one of a small group of large corporate ranches along the Alberta cowboy trail and was one of the foremost ranching operations in Canada. Our visit to the ranch allows you to explore and experience how life was during the early settlement of the region. As a group we share a meal provided by the Chef’s of the Bar U ranch before allowing you time to explore the ranch at your leisure.

After exploring the history of the prairies and following in the shadows of the rocky mountain foothills we head east to travel much further back in time in search of dinosaurs. The journey to Dinosaur Provincial Park and its badlands landscape will continue through several small towns and hamlets, each with their own story to tell.

We meet our local guide at Dinosaur Provincial Park who takes us on a journey into secret areas of the badlands. Guests can soak up the natural beauty of the badlands in the evening light and take the perfect photograph. This evening tour is designed especially for photographers and people looking for a quieter nature experience in the UNESCO site.

Taking advantage of the cooler temperatures and wonderful late afternoon/evening light you will be guided into some of the secret areas of the Natural Preserve and be given ample time to get the perfect shot, or to simply soak up the natural beauty of the badlands. The skilled guides will also provide tips and tricks for photographing the badlands.

After an exciting day exploring the history and various landscapes that have made the Alberta cowboy trail what it is today we return to the town of Brooks outside the provincial park to call it a night. Our guide will recommend places for guests to have dinner before checking into the hotel for a relaxing night sleep.





ProgramDeparture DateDeparture PointConclusion DateConclusion LocationIncluded NightsAvailable
Experience CanadaPrivate Tours in 2018/19CranbrookContact Us Victoria, B.C14Book Now from $7,800pp