Aug 15, 2014

Bar U Ranch Historic Site: Part 1

Established as an open range cattle ranch back in 1881, today the Bar U Ranch is a National Historic Site that preserves the ranching heritage of Alberta. This was one stop on my Rocky Mountain road trip that absolutely blew me away. The stunning location in the foothills, the presentation of the buildings, the attention to detail in how the artifacts were incorporated, and the incredible staff all made for a truly memorable visit.

If I'm honest, I really had no idea what to expect at the Bar U Ranch, so perhaps that's why I enjoyed being surprised by it so much. With the exception of a school group that was finishing up as I arrived, I almost had the entire location to myself. I loved exploring each building and photographing the scenes presented. 

The Bar U Ranch is like a museum, but there's something far more genuine about how the history is showcased here. I walked into the cookhouse thinking a meal was being prepared only to realize after closer inspection that the realistic looking food was fake. And that's my point, you'll find yourself appreciating the details of a display here before you realize that you're actually standing in the middle of a much larger one. 

My visit was capped by an engrossing and lively conversation around a campfire. A staff member took an interest in my passion for history and photography, and was all too happy to share her stories about the Bar U Ranch and her own travels. In my mind it was just one more bit of authenticity that made my trip resonate.  

There's simply too much to summarize, but as you'd expect I shot hundreds of images during my visit. I've divided my favorite shots into four separate posts highlighting different areas of the Bar U Ranch: the hay shed, chop house, ranch office / post office, tractor shed, cookhouse, blacksmith's shop, leather shop, and barns. The Bar U Ranch is well worth your time and an amazing place to explore!  

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