Travel to Canada
Passports are now required for most
international visitors to Canada. U.S. citizens are
advised to apply for passports as soon as possible and to
be aware of possible processing delays.
Consult the State Department for the
latest document information. See:
Upon arrival, you will need to get some
Canadian money, pronto. Currently $1 CDN equals about
$0.76 U.S. (as of August 2015). The Canadian dollar coin
is the “Loony,” the $2 coin is the
“Two-ny.” You can generally find ATMs that will
work with most major bank networks once you get to
Canada. There are several ATMs at the Calgary, AB,
Credit cards work well almost everywhere
in Canada although credit card companies may decline
transactions if, as we inadvertently did, you create a
“suspicious pattern” of transactions. (Call
them and they will turn the money back on!) Bring a
second credit card as a backup and let your card
companies know in advance that you will be using your
credit cards in Canada.
You will probably be picking up a rental
car at the Calgary, AB, airport. Use Orbitz, Expedia, or
Sidestep to get a good rate and then see if you can beat
it by a significant margin using Priceline. Another money
saving strategy is to pick up your car at an off-airport
location, where rates tend to be much lower. Many
agencies will allow you to return the car at the airport
without an extra charge.
Most of the sites in the film are
accessible without using four-wheel-drive vehicles,
though there may be times when you will want to have one.
See the site descriptions for road condition warnings and
check local weather forecasts. Be advised that many of
the rural township and range roads, as well as almost all
of Hwy 742, are unpaved, though these tend to be
generally well maintained.
Watch speed limits and traffic lights.
Alberta uses cameras to silently and efficiently nab
speeders and yellow-light runners. The ticket will go by
mail to the rental car company which will add a fee and
bill it to your credit card a month later. As a practical
matter, you can’t appeal it. No fun. Reminder: All
posted speeds are in km.
Canada loves its roads so much that many
have multiple names and numbers. Just because the sign
says that you are on a road other than the one you think
you are on does not mean that you are lost. For instance,
a single roadway may have one or more highway numbers, a
trail name, a street name and a Township or Range Road
number. Got that? The good news is that in Alberta there
are relatively few major roads and most run either
north-south or east-west.
Calgary uses quadrants to designate
locations on a grid of streets and avenues. Thus you need
to pay special attention to the letters that follow the
street name. Moreover, there is a big difference between
streets and avenues of the same name. Hence, 33rd Street
NW can be a long way from either 33rd Street SW or 33rd
Avenue NW. Be certain you know what kind of road or
avenue you are looking for, what kind of road or avenue
you are on, and which quadrant you are in.
Please beware of wildlife road hazards,
especially in the mountain park areas. Sheep, deer, bear,
elk and other animals often gather roadside, especially
in the early and late hours of the day. These animals may
jump into the path of your car without warning. After
all, they might have a low startle point. Be very
When in rural areas, and especially in
the parks, refill your gasoline tank at 50%. You’ll
be buying gas in liters (1 liter is about ¼ of a
gallon). After adjusting for the currency exchange rate,
gas will likely cost you more than in the U.S.A. Wipe off
headlights and taillights regularly as these accumulate
dust on unpaved roads. In addition to the directions
available here, a good Alberta roadmap and a GPS receiver
are very useful for navigation.
A word about GPS: different receivers use
various formats. If necessary, remember to make decimal
conversions (14.20 minutes is the same as 14 minutes 12
seconds, etc.) and give your receiver time to properly
establish your position. In the few cases here where it
was not possible to give the exact location of a feature
(for example, a mountain or an interior location), we
have supplied coordinates for a viewpoint or the building
Many of the pages on this website,
including this one, are available in Downloads as
“PDF” files which can then be read or printed
offline. The print verison of this website can serve as
your own personal “Baedeker” to Brokeback
Mountain movie locations. Having the directions and
pictures from this website readily at hand will allow you
to get where you want to go and be sure you’re
exactly where you want to be!
You should make advance lodging
reservations, especially if you plan on long days, both
to secure yourself a room and to get a good rate. If you
plan to stay in Calgary for more than one or two nights,
invest the time to study the free Priceline (www.priceline.com)
bidding resource BiddingforTravel.com (www.BiddingforTravel.com).
BiddingForTravel’s FAQs explain how you can use the
reports of other Priceline users to save a lot of money
on your Calgary (and possibly Canmore) hotels. At
minimum, use Sidestep, Travelocity, and one or two other
lodging search engines to get good lodging deals.
A list of motels we are familiar with
follows. Please let us know if you have any others to
suggest. If authenticity is important to you, see the
hotel information notes for Beiseker and Fort Macleod.
9 - (Siesta Motel) Friendly Joanne runs this
simple but spotless refuge for frustrated
husbands and their devoted fans. If the classic
“MOTEL” sign is not turned on when you
want to take your pictures, she is happy to
accommodate you. As the only motel in Beiseker,
Motel 9 tends to be full during the summer
months. Joanne will keep you on her waiting list.
(You can always make a back-up reservation in
Strathmore.) We have had good luck doing this.
Though only the exterior was used
in the making of the film, there is certainly no
harm in bringing someone dear to you and reliving
some of Jack and Ennis’s happiest moments
inside. Highway 9 at Highway 72, next to the Esso
station. (403) 947-2555.
House - Jonathon and Graham operate this lovely
bed and breakfast in an Arts and Crafts period
home. (216 25th Avenue SW), www.gaywestways.com,
(403) 229-1758, email@example.com.
Lodge - This appears to be a condo or timeshare
project that is available, at least in part, by
the night. Well suited for groups. Very
comfortable units sleep up to six and include a
kitchenette and living area. Check website for
Internet specials. 1000 Harvie Heights Road,
Harvie Heights, just west of Canmore on Hwy 1
(Trans-Canada Hwy). www.banffboundarylodge.com,
Rockyview Hotel -
Located in downtown Cochrane, this small, budget
hotel offers rooms with private and shared baths
at some of the least expensive rates we have
found. (304 1st Street West), www.rockyviewhotel.com, (403)
Century II Motel -
This is an economy motel which, though older, is
not as ancient as its name might suggest. If you
have a group, ask about the misleadingly named
“suites” which share a common bath.
(462 Main Street East), www.century2motel.albertanetwork.com,
(403) 553-3331, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Red Coat Inn Motel
- This, the “nicest place in town,” is
where the Brokeback talent and crew stayed
during the Fort Macleod shooting. With a bit of
gentle encouragement, engaging owner Paul Jansen
will show you his autographed photos (lobby wall)
and share his production-related stories (in any
of five languages!).
“Of course he (Ledger)
wasn’t gay,” Jansen roars, “he and
Williams stayed in the same room! If only
I’d saved the sheets!” By the way, we
know what you are thinking and so does Paul. To
all who ask, every room was Jake
Gyllenhaal’s or Heath Ledger’s room!
(359 Main Street), www.redcoatinn.com,
(403) 553-4434, email@example.com.
Hotel (Cassie’s Bar) - Two of us decided the
authentic Brokeback experience was worth
sacrificing a few creature comforts so we chose
to stay at the old Queen’s Hotel (see:
Chapter 15, 01
32 15) which is the site of the
“Cassie’s Bar” scene. (Silly us,
we thought it was the Old Queens Hotel!) This
1903 sandstone gem witnessed Fort Macleod’s
“glory years” in which the town briefly
served as the commercial hub of southwest Canada.
Those days are long gone, but those who are
prepared to forgo virtually all modern amenities
may want to spend a night here.
With advance notice, the
hotel’s helpful owner, George Urisaki, will
try to prepare a room for you. Haultain Street
(2nd Avenue) at Col. Macleod Boulevard (24th
(403) 553-4343 or (403) 553-3694.
B&B - Perfectly situated for Brokeback
fans who plan to explore the beauty of nearby
Moose Mountain and Canyon Creek, this charming
bed and breakfast, located 8 minutes SE of Bragg
Creek, also makes a good hub from which to see
the Kananaskis Parks and Calgary area sites.
Monumental breakfasts, spotless rooms, and a
pleasant mix of guests. www.evergreencountry.com,
Rockyford Hotel -
Located in Rockyford, this small hotel offers
frill-free rooms with private and shared baths at
reasonable rates. Ask cheerful Brenda about the
spacious, albeit misnamed, “Presidential
Suite.” See also Rockyford / Draught Horse
Inn under Dining, below. (105 Main St.),
Strathmore Inn - Located midway between Calgary
and Rockyford, this inn has large suites at
reasonable rates and offers other amenities
including continental breakfast and an indoor
pool / spa. 550 Hwy 1 (Trans-Canada Hwy), www.bestwesternalberta.com/hotels/best-western-strathmore-inn,
Most Brokeback sites are off the
beaten path and, as such, much more likely to be served
by cafes and diners than upscale restaurants. The latter
can be found in Calgary, Canmore, and Bragg Creek.
Elsewhere, be prepared to enjoy simpler fare and absorb
some local color.
This list is based upon places we have
tried. Please help us add to it. If you find a place that
is particularly appealing, we would love to share your
discovery with others.
General - Every Canadian town of modest
size has a Tim Horton’s donut shop and a Subway.
These are always safe, but unremarkable, options.
“Beans,” if you will.
Café - Not nearly as interesting as its name
suggests, this is Beiseker’s finest and only
neighborhood coffee shop, located inside the Esso
Station. 610 Highway 9 (near the Hwy 72
intersection and adjacent to Motel 9), (403)
Restaurant - Offers Chinese and continental
dishes. Full bar. Open late. (202 Centre Avenue
W.), (403) 933-3122.
A number of
restaurants did not survive the flood of June 2013. For a
current list of restaurants, see www.visitbraggcreek.com/local-business/dining.html.
Bar-B-Q Steak Pit
- After five decades here, these folks know a
thing or two about the restaurant business. Live
music, generous portions, and comfortable
surroundings make this locals’ haunt a good
Bragg Creek dinner option. (50 White Avenue),
Note: This was closed for renovation after
the flood of 2013, but is expected to reopen
sometime in 2014.
Bragg Creek Family
Foods - If you are in Bragg Creek, you are
probably heading for Moose Mountain or Canyon
Creek. Think “picnic” and head for this
family-run grocery store. (Remember to get
water!) Located in the small shopping center at
White and Balsam Avenues. (Unit 15 - 416 Balsam
Ave), (403) 949-3747. See www.braggcreekfamilyfoods.com/.
Restaurant moved from Bragg Creek to Calgary after
the flood of 2013. See below.
Joey’s Only Seafood no longer has a restaurant
in Bragg Creek. For their restaurants in other locations,
Diner Deluxe - A
contemporary twist on diner food. Creative
“comfort food” menu, fair prices. The
decor is an astounding collection of `60s retro
pieces; some are museum quality. (804 Edmonton
Trail NE), www.dinerdeluxe.com, (403)
Contemporary Cuisine - An inspired fine dining
option which melds Pacific and Continental
cuisine in unexpected and delicious ways. (2250
162 Ave SW Calgary), www.infusionrestaurant.com/,
(587) 296-4555. See also www.facebook.com/InfusionContemporaryCuisine
Prairie Ink -
Convenient to the King Eddie (Electra Bar) and
Canadian Legion (Childress Dance Hall interior).
A pleasant spot for sandwiches, salad, or coffee
located inside McNally Robinson’s, a
locally-owned downtown bookstore. (120 8th Avenue
(Jack and Lureen’s Bar) - In addition to
being a Brokeback location, the menu, food
quality, and service at this “cowboy
bar” impressed us. The dining area features
booths and lots of rodeo cowboy scenery. A steak
dinner here provides a great opportunity to soak
up the character of this place. (9615 Macleod
Trail South), www.ranchmans.com, (403)
Family Restaurant & Lounge - Roy and Bob
serve good food at this established locals’
haunt. But don’t even try to go there after
church on Sundays. Hwy 2 at the light in
Claresholm. (5008 1st Street), (403) 625-3397.
Boston Pizza - A
full menu with plenty of reasonably priced
options beyond pizza. Comfortable and convenient.
(15 Westside Drive), www.bostonpizza.com, (403)
Butchering, Ltd. - Locally raised beef. Jerky,
sausage sticks, custom cut ribs and steaks. A
unique selection of local gourmet products. (508
Railway Avenue), (403) 628-2686.
Savory Suite Café
- on Railway Avenue in the post office building.
A nice, small restaurant with a good menu and
wine list that you would not expect to find in
rural Alberta. Our (very reliable) source
exercised our imaginations by reporting that
“The waiter was very friendly.” See the
“Brokeback Mountain was filmed
here” plaque in the dining room. Open
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 5:30pm to 10:00pm.
To verify hours and to make reservations: (403)
Aunty Lynda’s Café & Grill - A
locals’ favorite. (2323 Seventh Avenue), www.sunnyalberta.com/dining, (403)
Johnny’s - During
May 2004, Johnny complained that the Brokeback
production was hurting his business, but these
days he is more than happy to share with you his
prized photos of Randy Quaid and other Brokeback
celebrities. Tasty Chinese and
“American” fare for lunch and dinner.
225 Col. Macleod Boulevard (24th Street), (403)
Luigi’s Pizza and Steak House
- A friendly, casual place with excellent food. Good for
groups, open late. 537 Col. Macleod Boulevard (24th
Street), (403) 553-4555.
Draught Horse Inn
- Cheerful Brenda and her hard-working crew know
that it takes more than an ordinary pizza to
satisfy big cowboy appetites. Her rustic
1930’s-era restaurant and bar was a
runner-up to be one of Brokeback’s
bars. Ask to see the “Riverton” sign
that was used during the filming of the
“DECEASED” scene. Just down the street
from “JT’s Bar” (now “The Pub
on Main”). Occasional live music. (105 Main
St.), (403) 533-3760.
Restaurant - A Waffle House wannabe in a truck
stop milieu. Deb and Wanda have lots of
experience entertaining breakfast customers. Also
open late. 436 Ridge Road, just off of Hwy 1
(Trans-Canada Hwy), (403) 934-3455.
Restaurant & Saloon - Enjoy breakfast, lunch,
or dinner in this western-themed favorite. Large
portions. Located in the Country Lane Mall and
within walking distance of the Best Western
Strathmore Inn. 510K Hwy 1 (Trans-Canada Hwy),
Like their patrons, Calgary’s gay
bars tend to come and go. If you find something here that
requires updating, please let us know. Thanks!
For other up-to-date entertainment
options see www.gaycalgary.com.
The Back Lot -
“Pub” atmosphere, (209 10th Avenue SW),
Calgary Eagle -
Near the King Eddie (Electra Bar) and Canadian
Legion (Childress Dance Hall interior), friendly,
leather not required. (424A 8th Avenue SE), www.calgaryeagle.com, (403)
Eatery & Bar - Friendly, G&L, offers
good, simple food. (1742 10th Avenue SW), www.money-pennies.com, (403)
The Twisted Element - Scenic, young
crowd. (1006 11th Avenue SW), www.twistedelement.ca,
Check with your mobile phone provider
before you go to Canada. Even if your phone works in
Canada, many of the features you depend upon (web access,
text messaging, etc.) may not. You may want to sign up
for a discount roaming plan that will save you money
while there. If you have trouble reaching a U.S. number
on a cellphone in Canada, try dialing “1”
before the area code.
Astoundingly, almost all of the Brokeback
sites are very easy to access. This is not a coincidence.
The vast entourage of trucks, cranes, and crews that is
required for location shoots is known in the movie
business as “the circus.” For practical
reasons, the producers sought locations which were
accessible by truck. There are two exceptions: Canyon
Creek (Campsite #1 and the Creek Crossing) and Moose
Mountain (the High Ridge and the “I Ain’t
Queer” Hillside). Each of these makes a lovely
These climbs are for intermediate hikers.
Wear hiking boots and socks. Bring ample water, a snack,
and protective gear. Never leave valuables in a car
parked at trailheads. Use caution; bear activity is
common in these areas, and in all mountain locations. Do
not hike alone. Always consult park wardens and take
appropriate precautions. See:
Canyon Creek Hike:
This is a 12 km
(7.5 mile) round trip hike on a fairly level
grade gravel road. Allow 3-4 hours.
Take Highway 66 west from Bragg
Creek to the “Kananaskis Country” sign
and Information Center, and continue (west) 10.5
km to Canyon Creek Road. Turn right (north) onto
Canyon Creek Road and go 0.8 km to the parking
area on the right. Walk north past the locked
gate beyond the parking area, and follow the
well-maintained gravel road 3.0 km (north) to the
bridge, then past two gas metering stations.
After you pass four concrete barriers to the left
side of the road (these mark the Sheep Procession
vista) you will approach the Campsite #1 area.
To get to Campsite #1, look for a
road which intersects Canyon Creek Road to the
right and a culvert under Canyon Creek Road. As
you face the left side of Canyon Creek Road with
both the culvert and the intersection to your
right, look to your left for an overgrown path
blocked by large stones. (For reference, this
location is 5.02 km north of the gate and is 50d
54m 7.08s, -114d 47m 43.44s.) Proceed 200', turn
right at the gravel path, go 200' and turn left.
The site is on the creek bank. You will see the
circle of campfire stones.
The Creek Crossing site is
approximately 1 km further, at the end of Canyon
Creek Road. Go to the sour gas plant and
containment basin at the end of the road. Go to
the left of the concrete barriers for
approximately 1/3 of the way down the left side;
turn left onto a path that will lead to the creek
bed. The site is on your left.
Moose Mountain Hike:
This is a 14 km (9
mile) round trip hike.
Take Highway 66 west from Bragg
Creek to the “Kananaskis Country” sign
and Information Center, and continue (west) 8.5
km to Moose Mountain Road. Turn right (north)
onto Moose Mountain Road and follow it 7.0 km to
the well-marked trailhead. The trail begins in
the trees at the green vehicle barrier, located
on the south side of the parking area. The Moose
Mountain summit is 7.1 km from the parking area
and trailhead, gaining 477 m (1,565') in
elevation. The Brokeback sites are all in
the meadows area which is just above the tree
line. (Note: Moose Mountain Road is unmarked; it
is just west of the “Paddy’s Flat”
sign on Hwy 66.)
Mornings generally provide the
most reliable weather conditions. Allowing time
to explore filming locations, budget a total of 4
to 5 hours for a rewarding hike to and from the
vast Moose Mountain meadows, where several sheep
herding scenes were filmed. See:
The hike to the meadows is a
moderately strenuous ascent. Though no filming
took place above the meadows, the adventurous may
wish to keep climbing to the summit using a
series of switchbacks leading to a fire lookout
station. Budget approximately 50 minutes for the
final ascent, along slippery shale surfaces.
were confident that we could write with some
authority on this subject but once Amber Boice
explained to us the difference between
“camping” and “camp,” we
turned the whole thing over to her.
Waking up among the mountains and
falling asleep under the stars will create an
unforgettable experience for you while visiting
the filming sites for Brokeback Mountain.
There are numerous campgrounds in the Kananaskis
In addition to being able to
sleep under the same stars as Jack and Ennis,
you’ll save yourself quite a bit of money.
You’ll find that most campgrounds charge
around $20 CDN a night for a site without
Bow Valley Campground (www.bowvalleycampgrounds.com)
proved to be an excellent central location for my
trip, being just 25 minutes from Canmore, 45
minutes from Calgary, 30 minutes from Highway 66
and just minutes away from Highway 40. There is
excellent tree cover, a camp store and
shower/flush toilets on site.
If you enjoy tent camping, there
are a few basics you’ll need to remember.
First, Kananaskis Country is bear country! You
will need to store food in your vehicle at ALL
times. Do not leave food unattended at the
campsite, even during the day, and remember to
dump garbage every night. Second, make sure you
are prepared for rain. Rainflies are a must and
it is an excellent idea to bring an extra tarp to
cover your tent. While it does not rain every
day, it usually looks like it could. Third, be
sure to have a good supply of Loonies, the
Canadian $1 coin. All showers in Kananaskis
Country charge $2 for 5 minutes of shower time
and accept only $1 coins.
While in the Kananaskis area,
you’ll notice a large number of rented RVs.
If tent camping isn’t quite your style,
visit the following websites to check out RV
rentals: www.canadream.com, www.cruiseamerica.com.
Remember, however, that a few of the film
locations are on unpaved roads and not well
suited for RV access.
If you like camping, you’ll
LOVE camping in Kananaskis Country; there is
nothing else like it.
Should you find yourself inside of old
buildings, be especially careful. Floorboards may be
weak, missing, or loose. Railings may be missing or
insecure. You will need a flashlight.
Of course, always secure permission of
owners before entering private property. Leave property
as you find it. Please be especially respectful of Native
reservation lands and the long-suffering people who
Several Brokeback sites are
located in bars and taverns. Obtain permission of patrons
before taking bar photographs.
If we have any travel expertise at all,
it is in the area of forgetting things. Here is a short
list of things often forgotten that may be useful to Brokeback
travelers: Sunglasses, Neosporin, lip balm, Q-tips,
Post-its, a hat, medicines, water bottles, address book,
chargers for cameras and cellphones, extra batteries and
memory cards. We found it very nice to have our Brokeback
Mountain DVD and a portable DVD player on hand for
on-site comparisons to the film.
This site was assembled by volunteers who
feel strongly that Brokeback Mountain is an
important film which has a deep and unique power to touch
lives and improve understanding. We urge you to absorb as
much of the Brokeback travel experience as you
possibly can and to share it with those around you. Have
a great trip!
No guide is perfect. We have undoubtedly
made mistakes and need your help in correcting them.
Please let us know which locations you found and if there
were any sites you looked for but did not find. If you
encounter problems with the directions or the information
contained here, we would be grateful for a chance to
correct our mistakes. Moreover, if you know of a way to
make this resource more useful or have other suggestions,
please email and let us know!