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Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Location: 90 minutes south of Calgary, on Highway 2. PO Box 1977, Fort Macleod, AB T0L 0Z0; Phone: (403) 553-2731; Email: info@head-smashed-in.com; Website: www.head-smashed-in.com


According to legend, about 150 years ago a young brave wanted to witness the plunge of countless buffalo as his people drove them to their deaths over the sandstone cliffs.  Standing under the shelter of a ledge like a man behind a waterfall, he watched the great beasts cascade past him.  But the hunt was unusually good that day and as the bodies mounted, he became trapped between the animals and the cliff. When his people came to do the butchering they found him with his skull crushed by the weight of the buffalo.  Thus, they named the place “Head-Smashed-In.” 

Designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Head-Smashed-In is among the oldest, largest and best preserved of hundreds of buffalo jump sites across the western Plains.  Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Interpretive Centre documents the buffalo hunting culture of the Plains Indians from ancient times to the arrival of the Europeans.

An authentic Blackfoot tipi camp program is also offered at Head-Smashed-In. In 2005 the program received the Travel Alberta ALTO Award for Sustainable Tourism.  New and enhanced Tipi Camp Packages include all camp necessities such as food, water and firewood. Overnight security and Blackfoot guides are available for all interpretive programs.  First Nations drumming and dance demonstrations are held every Wednesday through July and August, with two 1 hour performances at 11:00 am and 1:30 pm.  Various special events held throughout the year are posted on our website.

Head-Smashed-In offers a 60 seat cafeteria open in the peak season, an 80 seat theatre which shows a 10 minute film featuring a re-enactment of a buffalo hunt and a gift shop and bookstore.  The site is open daily year round.

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