TV lovers in the horse community are likely already acquainted with Heartland. For those a little late to the party, Heartland is a fictional Canadian TV series that has been running since 2007. The series revolves around protagonist Amy Fleming, a horse trainer, and her life and family on Heartland Ranch. But where is Heartland filmed and located?
The area where Heartland is filmed and its surrounding areas are spectacularly beautiful places with a fascinating history behind them. Close to the Rocky Mountains, the location of Heartland’s filming is truly worth learning about. In this post, we’re going to dive a little deeper, explore the history of where Heartland is filmed and find out what to do if you’re visiting the area.
Where is Heartland Filmed and Located?
Heartland is filmed in High River, Alberta and its surrounding areas. It is also partially filmed in Calgary, which is around 53 kilometers away from High River. High River is a small town with a charming small-town vibe, according to the official High River Website. It is famous for being welcoming and hospitable to visitors.
Not all of Heartland takes place here — some parts of the series were filmed in a Calgary studio and in the Currie Barracks, a military base.
What’s High River’s Story?
High River has a rich and intriguing history. It was originally home to the Blackfoot people, a North American Indian tribe. They largely lived in Alberta and nearby U.S. state, Montana. The Blackfoot people are made up of the Siksika, the Kainai and the Piikani nations.
The Blackfoot tribe were originally buffalo hunters and were highly dependent on this skill for survival. As well as providing food, buffalo hide was used to make clothes within the tribe. The Blackfoot tribe both benefitted from and was threatened by the arrival of European settlers in the 1800s.
With the settlers came a smallpox epidemy which greatly decreased the Blackfoot population. The European settlers had initially proven useful, however, bringing with them horses and weaponry that aided the tribe in hunting.
In 2021, the Blackfoot people still live in Alberta and Montana and the Blackfoot language, Algonquian, is still spoken.
More High River Historical Facts
- Two trees became entwined in High River to form one, which was sacred to the Blackfoot people. It was named “Medicine Tree”. The remainder of the tree can still be seen today in the George Lane memorial park.
- The Northwest Mounted Police came to restore order when the Blackfoot tribe clashed with American frontier traders in the 1870s.
- High River became a village in 1901 and a town in 1906.
- High River is unfortunately known for frequent flooding. The Highwood River has flooded several times and has caused chaos in the town. In 2013, three people sadly lost their lives as a result of a flood.
- Maggie’s Diner, Tack and Feed was affected by the 2013 flood, but survived the damage.
- Alberta, the province where High River is situated has been the home of Native American groups for 10,000 years or more.
The Heartland Ranch
The actual ranch that provides the setting for Heartland is situated around 45 minutes from High River and 10 minutes from Millarville. A man named Ray Foster wrote a comment in 2009 talking about his childhood at the real Heartland Ranch.
Mr. Foster writes that he lived at the ranch with his parents, where the family raised White-Faced Hereford Cattle. He lived there from the 1920s to the 1940s when WW2 began. He writes of a happy, contented childhood with many fond memories at the ranch.
Can I Visit Heartland Ranch?
Some fans may be wondering if it’s possible to actually visit and take a tour of the Heartland ranch. Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding no.
The ranch is privately owned, and so trying to enter it in any way would be trespassing. The owner rents the ranch out for Heartland to film on, but it is otherwise closed to the public. A sign outside of the ranch explicitly asks fans of the show to respect the “no trespassing” rule in order to ensure that the production team can continue using the ranch to film Heartland.
The sign advises disappointed fans on alternative (and perfectly legal) activities that they can indulge in nearby. One of these activities is visiting Maggie’s Diner, Tack and Feed. Let’s explore some of the most popular activities for visitors in High River.
What Can I Do Near Heartland Ranch?
The only set available for fans to visit is Maggies Diner, Tack and Feed. This set is used specifically for filming Heartland so isn’t open to looking around. Furthermore, visitors are allowed to look through the window to get a glimpse at the set and some of the props used in filming. Maggie’s Diner survived the 2013 High River flood.
On the High River welcome website’s blog, there is a downloadable map of Heartland scene locations and spots where other popular TV shows and movies have been filmed. Also, visitors are encouraged to use the map to take a “self-guided tour” of the local area. Best of all — this activity is free, so you won’t have to spend a dime!
If you’re visiting the area between June and October and enjoy perusing at the market, the Millarville Race Track has a farmer’s market every Saturday. Whereas, you can explore stalls offering delicious homegrown produce sourced by local farmers and growers or crafts made by local craftspeople and artists.
The Museum of the Highwood is located in downtown High River. It also contains the visitor center, which could prove very useful for exploring what to do in the area. The museum celebrates the heritage of the High River inhabitants and its rich history — it is pretty much a must-see for lovers of history or anyone interested in learning more about High River’s roots.
Horse Riding in High River
Despite being a small town, if you’re planning on visiting High River, there’s an abundance of things to do and see. One of these activities, horse lovers will be pleased to know, is of course horse riding!
The Anchor D ranch, around a 50-minute drive from downtown High River, offers trail rides and mountain rides to its visitors. This will give you the opportunity to experience the most stunning views of the Rocky Mountains, foothills and prairies. This is truly a dream day out for horse lovers.
A few things to bear in mind — the ranch does not provide helmets, so if you would like to wear one, you’ll have to bring your own. Secondly, the minimum age for riding is six years old and children must ride alone (no more than one person per horse is permitted). You can check out the full list of requirements and recommendations on the Anchor D website.
Longer trips are another option offered by Anchor D, with trips ranging from a couple of days to a full seven days exploring the backcountry.
The Anchor D ranch also has a log cabin rental service. So, if you’d like to experience the gorgeous Rocky Mountains a little longer, you can choose from their Grandpa’s Cabin and Hunter’s Cabin from $180 per night. This sounds like an ideal getaway for horse lovers, families and friends alike.
Where Else Can I Stay in High River?
The Heritage Inn is one of High River’s hotels with good reviews that is pretty close to everything Heartland-related. It is a five-minute drive from Maggie’s Diner and a four-minute drive from the Museum of the Highwood. Calgary airport is a 47-minute drive away.
There are plenty of other hotels available in the area and some are pet-friendly. These include Ramada and Super 8, both by Wyndham High River.
- Heartland is filmed in and around the town of High River, Alberta, Canada.
- High River is a charming small town with a warm, welcoming atmosphere. It has a rich history and there is lots to learn about the area.
- High River was once inhabited by the Blackfoot tribe. European settlers arrived after 1877.
- The Heartland ranch is located around 45 minutes from High River. Unfortunately, there are no tours of the Heartland ranch set as it is privately owned property. Visitors are not allowed to enter the ranch premises, inside or out.
- There are plenty of things to do, free and paid, in and around High River. This includes visiting Maggie’s Diner, Feed and Tack, various scene locations in the area and trail riding in the Rocky Mountains nearby.
The main location where Heartland is filmed is a beautiful area that could really be worth checking out if you’re planning a vacation sometime soon. High River, with its friendly, warm atmosphere and intriguing history would be the perfect getaway, particularly for die-hard Heartland fans but also for anyone looking for a few days of respite and relaxation.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed reading our article all about Heartland’s location, High River, and learning a little about its history and culture. Don’t forget to tune into Heartland series 15 on CBS!