Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Tours
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At Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump—where the Rocky Mountains rise up from the Great Plains in southwestern Alberta—specialized buffalo runners once hunted buffalo by driving them over the cliff. The site’s museum celebrates the traditional indigenous hunting practices through exhibitions and an interpretive walk.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to a multi-exhibit museum showcasing the history and culture of the Blackfoot people. Visitors learn about Great Plains buffalo culture through a 15-minute film reenacting a buffalo hunt and exhibits detailing the site’s spiritual and ceremonial significance. Outdoors, a paved trail leads to the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Cliff, and an unpaved, interpretive trail takes you beneath the cliff and through the camp and buffalo processing areas.
Things to Know Before You Go
- An admission fee is required to visit Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.
- Bring comfortable walking shoes if you plan to hike.
- Complimentary wheelchairs and strollers are available.
- RV parking is available; overnight parking is not permitted.
- The site is wheelchair accessible with the exception of the interpretive trail beneath the cliff.
How to Get There
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is located in southwestern Alberta, Canada, about an hour drive from the United States border. Fort Macleod is the closest city to the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo historic site. From Fort Macleod, take secondary Highway 785 northwest 11 miles (18 kilometers) to the visitor center.
When to Get There
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Interpretive center is open year-round, seven days a week. The center has shorter operating hours in winter and may close with severe weather. Once a month the center offers a special guided hike to the ancient drive lanes with a Blackfoot guide; book this experience in advance as space is limited.
How Buffalo Jump Got Its Name
According to one legend, a young Blackfoot boy wanted to watch the buffalo plunge off the cliff. He chose to shelter beneath the cliff ledge where he was found crushed under a pile of buffalo after the hunt. His death inspired the name.
Address: Fort MacLeod, Alberta T0L 0Z0, Canada
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