Pincher Creek was established as a horse farm for the North West Mounted Police in 1878, for their Fort Macleod detachment. The town was named for a set of pincers using for shoeing horses left behind by early prospectors on their way from the USA to the Kootenay gold fields. The good grass in the area led to rapid settlement, and it became incorporated as a village in 19898 and as a town in 1906.
Today, the town has the Oldman Dam Recreational Area nearby, providing fishing, boating, windsurfing, kayaking and canoeing for sports enthusiasts. Just downstream is the Boulder Run Day Use Area for rafting and canoe trips. In the wintertime, Castle Mountain provides top-rate skiing and snowboarding for the area, with the area’s top snowfalls. In the town, the Lebel Mansion historical site is home to the Allied Arts Council which uses it as a centre for the local artistic community, with monthly shows.
Pincher Creek Annual Events
|The Gathering||middle of June||Cowboy Poetry weekend & Western art show at the Pincher Creek & District Agricultural Society. Barbecue, pancake breakfasts and rancher’s rodeo. 403-627-5855 or 1-888-298-5855.|
|Chuckwagon Cookout||End of June||Enjoy roast buffalo dinner ($15) and a weekend of camping ($6 per night) at Heritage Acres.|
|Canada Day||July 1||Pincher Creek|
|Children of the Wind Kite Festival||Late July||Celebrate with kites, windsocks, banners, flags. There will also be clowns, animated puppets, fireworks, pancake breakfast. Windy Point overlooking the Oldman Reservoir.|
|Piikani Annual Celebration||start of August|
|Heritage Days||Start of August||Thousands of people attend this heritage-focused event including a Saturday night dance, and demonstrations of antique equipment (both steam and horse powered). At Heritage Acres. 403 627-2628 or 1-888-5855|
|Pincher Creek Fair & Rodeo||mid August||Six exciting rodeo vents attracting over 200 competitors from Western Canada and the United States. Pancake breakfast followed by rodeo parade at 11 am on Saturday. Rodeo begins at 6 on Friday and Saturday, at 2 pm on Sunday. At the Pincher Creek & District Agricultural Society. 403-627-5855 or 1-888-298-5855.|
|Castle Mountain Huckleberry Festival||Late August|
|Black Powder Shoot||mid October|
|Christmas Craft Market||mid November|
|Annual Christmas Carol Festival||Early December|
Pincher Creek Attractions
Here are the attraction in the Pincher Creek area (Items marked * are free):
Beauvais Lake Provincial Park
15 Township Road 54A & Range Road, Pincher Creek, Alberta T0K 1W0
403 627-2021; camping reservations 43-627-5554
The campground has both basic and powered sites available for summaer and winter camping. Rugged backcountry areas and 30 km of trails provide plenty of room to explore the park. Popular for summer birdwatching, to fishing, hiking and mountain biking. Open year round.
This 90 year old building began its life as a private residence, it served as a hospital for 60 years. It has been a historic site since 1983, and now operates as a community arts centre. Open 9 am to 12 noon and 1 pm to 5pm, Monday to Saturday in the summertime.<BR
Heritage Acres Museum
10 km N on Hwy. 785 off Hwy. 3
Box 2496, Pincher Creek, AB T0K 1W0
(403) 627-2082 Toll Free: 1-888-298-5855
A collection of antique implements, crystal village, steam operated sawmill, historic Doukhobor barn, 1912 Ashvale School. Tours welcome. Camping available. Hours/seasons: May 1 – Sept. 30. Admission fee.
Pincher Creek area as one of the nation’s strongest wind power regions, where warm Chinook winds compress and collect energy as they rush down the eastern slopes. Presently, a total of 8 wind energy projects, consisting of 272 turbines are producing 291.93 mega watts of energy in the Pincher Creek area. Another 5 wind energy projects, consisting of 180 turbines in the approved and project planning stages
The first 25 wind turbines were installed in 1993 on Cowley Ridge, and there are now over 100 turbines in the area, including 36 just northwest of town, 56 at Castle Rock Ridge, and 35 planned on Kettles Hill east of town. There are another 130 turbines planned for the Piikani Nation Reserve, beginning with Weather Dancer 1, which is the tallest turbine operating in Canada. Their location is especially suitable since ATCO Power has power lines to area to handle the 32 megawatt generating plant at the Oldman River Dam near town.
Castle Mountain Ski Resort
HWY-774, Pincher Creek No. 9, AB T0K 1W0
35 minutes southwest of Pincher Creek
403 627-5101 fax: 403-627-3515
Occupying an exceptionally beautiful and snowy location in the Westcastle Valley, of the Southern Alberta Rockies, the resort is located 49 km (30 mi) to the southwest of Pincher Creek and about 2.5 hours southwest of Calgary. Castle takes skiers and riders back to the roots of our sport with uncrowded slopes, superb hospitality, and unmatched powder (the most in Alberta)
This resort offers outstanding terrain for skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers and nordic skiers. The 2800 vertical rise resort, located on the Continental Divide, receives average mid-mountain snow of 865 cms, an has recently added a new chairlift.
Oldman River Dam Recreation Area*
This dam was completed in the 1990s to store and supply water for the area’s agriculture as well as provide electricity for southern Alberta. The dam has also created flatwater recreation above the dam and whitewater for canoeing, rafting and kayaking below the dam, particularly when water is being discharged for power generation. There is a paddling lagoon, picnic area with shelters and a great view of the dam’s spillway. The Oldman River Dam was completed in 1991. Since 2003, ATCO has operated the Oldman River Hydroelectric Plant at the dam. The plant is capable of producing 32 megawatts of electrical power; the average annual generation is approximately 114 gigawatt-hours per year. The plant is 25 per cent owned by the Piikani Nation. There is also a viewpoint set up at the top of the dam, above the spillway.
Pincher Creek Murals*
Downtown Pincher Creek
Four wall-sized murals showcase the town’s western heritage. The first, completed in 1997 by Calgary’s Doug Driediger, is on the Re/Max building at the corner Main Street & Beb McLachlin Drive shows how the town got its name. The second shows ranching in the Pincher Creek area was completed in 1998 by Turner Valley artist Penny Corrandine. The third mural, on the wall of the Credit Union, depicts logging in the area and was completed by local artist Bruce Brady. The fourth mural is on the wall of Westwind interiors on the north hill, and shows Kootenai Brown and his second wife. It was copleted cy Calgary artists Stan Phelps.
Just northwest of Pincher Creek
403 627-4021 (Rosa)
This colony has 800 acres, of which 6000 is farmed, and has a dairy operation, slughterhouse, a chicken barn and it also raises cheep and calves. The Hutterite colonists speak German with an Austrian dialect.
Brocket townsite, along Highway 3, about 15 minutes east of Pincher Creek
Learn about the Piikani (Blood nation) culture by visiting the Tipi Village, including traditional native dancing and costumes. This is the largest Indian Reservation in Canada
Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village & Museum*
1037 Bev McLachline Dr, Pincher Creek
Kootenai Brown Log Cabin and 16 other buildings, with 16,000 artifacts. See NWMP Barracks presents 1878 life of local NWMP, 1894 Fishburn School, and the 1887 Walrond Ranch House which served as a corporate ranch in the early days. The Verigin Barn and Bath House showcase the culture of the Doukobors that settle in the nearby Cowley and Lundbreck areas in the 1890s. Recently added 5200 square foot Pioneer Place log cabin features two exhibit galleries, and is home to the area’s tourism information office. Picnic areas, a campfire and pavilion.
Open in Summer: daily, 10 am – 8 pm; in winter: weekdays from 8 am to 4:40 pm or by appointment and for programming events. Allow 2 hours minimum.
Range Rd 24B, Lundbreck, AB T0K 1H0
This scenic campground is in Lundbreck Falls Provincial Recreation Area, 25 km northwest of Pincher Creek off Crowsnest Highway #3 (about 1.2 km off of Highway, between Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass). Located adjacent to where Highway 3A crosses the Crowsnest River, with a 12 metre drop in the river..
403 627-2628 or 1-888-5855
Pincher Creek, AB T0K 1W0
Exhibits include an old General Store from Claresholm, the 1917 Jumbo Valley Presbyterian Church (from near Granum), restored 1900 grain elevators, a 1917 Douckobor barn.
Open May 1 to October 1, or by appointment the remainder of the year.
Three Rivers Rock & Fossil Museum
Highway 785 & 510, 17 km from Pincher Creek, north of the Oldman River Dam.
This exhibit of over 3000 specimens, including rare rocks from around the world, including petrified woods, and various fossils. Open May 15th to Sept 5, daily from 10 am to 6 pm, closed Mondays. Admission fee.