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Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Fort MacLeod, Alberta, Canada, T0L 0Z0

The Basics

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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