Friends of the Bar U Historic Ranch Association Bar U Ranch National Historic Site Alberta Ranching History Parks Canada Historic Site Longview, Alberta Canada Bar U Ranch - Western Heritage site
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Visiting the Bar U Ranch
  Location Accommodation Visitor Centre Hours & Admission Restaurant  
  Gift Shop Touring the Bar U School Programming Private Functions Heritage Interpretation Staff  
   
 

Location

 
     
 

Nestled in the southern Alberta foothills, on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, the Bar U Ranch is located in some of the most scenically breathtaking ranching country in the world.

Approximately ninety minutes drive southwest of Calgary, Alberta, the site lies just west of the junction of Highways 22 and 540, along The Cowboy Trail.  Whether driving from Calgary, Banff, Kananaskis, Okotoks, High River or Pincher Creek, Alberta, the ranch is easily accessed and is close to all amenities.

 
   
 

Accommodation

 
     
  While the Bar U does not offer overnight accommodation, guest ranches, campgrounds, B&Bs, hotels and motels are all located in close proximity.

Accommodation may be found in a variety of communities surrounding the Bar U, including High River, Pincher Creek, Longview, Okotoks, Black Diamond and Turner Valley.  Chain Lakes Provincial Park, which offers seasonal camping, is located on Highway 22 approximately ten minutes south of the ranch.
 
   
 

Visitor Centre

 
 

Situated on the crest of a valley overlooking the creek side headquarters of the historic Bar U.

The wheelchair accessible Visitor Centre includes a reception area, fireside lounge, restroom facilities, heritage displays, video theatre, and a restaurant and gift shop.  Guests may either walk from the centre down to the ranch headquarters, or take a horse-drawn wagon shuttle.

 
   
 

Hours & Admission

 
 

Hours

The Bar U Ranch National Historic Site is open to the public from the middle of May through the end of September.  Seven days a week, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.  For exact opening and closing dates, please contact the administration office. 

Admission

The entrance fee to the Bar U Ranch National Historic site is waived in 2017 to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.
Bar U Ranch Visitor's Centre
 
   
 

Restaurant

 
     
 

Bar U Cafe... delicious traditional ranch style food.

Homemade soups, chillies and burgers are second to none, and seasonal salads and desserts are always fresh. 

Specialty buffets and catering are available for tour groups and private functions.  Join us at one of the most picturesque settings in the west, and the coffee’s always on! 

 
   
 

Friends of the Bar U Gift Shop

 
     
 

Not your ordinary gift store.  Great buys on books, prints, cards, hats, toys, jewellery, you name it.

Plus an assortment of items actually made at the Bar U, including leatherwork and metalwork.  All proceeds go to the Friends of the Bar U Historic Ranch Association.  An annual Friends membership may be purchased at the gift shop for $10.00.

 
   
 

Touring the Bar U A “Living” Ranch Experience

 
     
 

Visitors exploring the heritage buildings on site are invited to literally step back in time to trace the history of the ranch.

At some locations Bar U interpreters demonstrate real ranch skills, such as cattle handling, roping, saddle making and blacksmithing, while telling the true stories of the way it was during the early years in the west.

Visitors gazing down from the visitor centre to the creek side ranch headquarters see a winding gravel road connecting buildings comprising what used to be the largest populated community in the region.  In every sense the Bar U was a community.  Ranch owners and foremen and their families lived and worked here.  Children went to school.  Neighbouring ranchers socialized at the post office.  And cowboys, chore men, cooks, blacksmiths, saddle makers, fencers, Indians and haying crews all made their home here.

Guided tours of the Bar U are usually offered in one-hour intervals, on foot or by horse-drawn wagon, though visitors preferring to take their time and tour the site on their own are welcome to do so.  Illustrated map guides direct guests to all of the heritage buildings while describing the ranch’s historical background.

Many guests choose to end their tours at the Bar U “roundup camp”, a popular site located by Pekisko creek beneath a canopy of cottonwoods.  This is where cowboys working the last of the general roundups called “home on the range”, back in the days when riders took to the hills, often for weeks at a time, in search of tens of thousands of head of roaming cattle.

Seated around the campfire, cook tents and chuckwagon nearby, visitors may hear the songs and stories of a simpler way of life, before railroads and fencing, how at roundup the cook was king, cowboys slept under the stars, cattle were serenaded, and all seemed right with the world.

 
 
See a virtual tour of the Bar U
at www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/ab/baru
 
   
 

School Programming

 
     
     

More than a National Historic Site, the Bar U through its curriculum based school programming offers K-9 students a living ranch experience featuring touchable history. 

Whether exploring the ranch by horse-drawn wagon, visiting roundup camp, touring the blacksmith shop and cookhouse, or hiking the creek side riparian zone, students not only discover a unique part of their Canadian heritage but also learn about an important rangeland environment.

Bar U interpreters guiding school students strive to ignite young imaginations and encourage young minds to think in new ways about the past, while delivering information and experiences that are as engaging and memorable as they are fun.

School Programming Learning Themes
  History of Ranching
Settlement of the West
Canadian History
World History
Land & Livestock Management
Sustainable Living
Social & Community Life
Cowboy Music, Storytelling & Poetry
School Programs offered at the Bar U Ranch

School programming is offered at the Bar U Ranch Monday through Thursday, from the end of May to the end of September.  School bookings may be made throughout the calendar year and, as demand is high, teachers are advised to book well in advance.In addition to site entrance fees (see Hours & Admission) school groups of up to fifty students are charged a $147.00 program development and delivery fee.  Larger school or educational groups may be accommodated at extra cost.

Tours, which consist of four rotating programs, generally run four hours, from 10am to 2pm, including a 45:00 minute bag lunch on site.  For inquiries, see Contact information.

Galileo Educational Network
A registered non-profit group, the Galileo Educational Network creates and promotes innovative teaching and learning practices.  Go to www.galileo.org (search Bar U) to see an interactive presentation about the Bar U created by students from the Red Deer Lake School.

   
 

Private Functions

 
     
 

The Bar U Ranch hosts a variety of private and after hours functions on a case by case basis.

From weddings to meetings to corporate retreats, the Bar U accommodates a range of private and after hours functions, in and out of doors, at the visitor centre or on the ranch site.  Custom tours and historical presentations may be included on request. 

Because the ability of the Bar U to host after hours functions is subject to many variables, including time, day, weather, available staff and number of guests, customers are advised to contact the administrative office well in advance. 

 
   
 

Bar U Heritage Interpretation Staff & Friends Volunteers

 
     
 

You’re in good hands at the Bar U.  Whether interacting with visitors, tour or school groups, interpretive staff and volunteers are passionate about the ranch and what they do.  And it shows.  

Most Bar U staff and volunteers come from ranching backgrounds and have reputations not only for their ranching skills and knowledge of ranching history but for the passion they bring to their work.  All take pride in telling the stories of the Bar U as “one of the best kept secrets in western Canadian history.”

 
     
     
  * Check out the latest Bar U Ranch News Here  
 
Visit the Bar U Ranch!
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Friends of the Bar U Historic Ranch Association
 
Box 82 Longview, Alberta T0L 1H0
 
1 403 395-3044

 
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