Kananaskis, Alberta – The storyline for Brokeback Mountain was set in Wyoming but what you were really seeing in this film, which earned eight Academy Award nominations, was the rugged, spectacular scenery of Alberta. Some scenes were shot at historic Fort Macleod (the first western outpost for the North West Mounted Police), and at a favorite Stampede bar in Calgary (Ranchman’s at 9615 Macleod Trail South.) But, those wonderful shots of the pristine wilderness were filmed in Kananaskis Country, in the foothills of the Rockies, just about an hour’s drive from Calgary.
Wikipedia reports that the fictional “Brokeback Mountain” in the film is actually a composite of Mount Lougheed south of the town of Canmore to Fortress and Moose Mountain in Kananaskis Country, and the campsites were filmed at Goat Creek, Upper Kananaskis Lake, Elbow Falls and Canyon Creek, also in Alberta.
It’s easy for visitors to experience the western lifestyle (horseback riding, movie sites, guest ranches) if they follow the Cowboy Trail, which loops through Alberta’s rolling ranch lands.
Quick Tip: Many movie stars, from Kevin Costner to Robert Duball have been outfitted for their boots by the Alberta Boot Company in Calgary.
Every year about one million people celebrate Alberta’s cowboy culture at the annual 10-day Calgary Stampede with a parade, rodeo, chuck-wagon races, midway, shows, etc. It’s held annually in mid-July.