Your Ranch Experience

Welcome to the Bar Diamond Guest Ranch. Located in the heart of Canada’s Cowboy Country, this is your chance to leave all your worries behind and recharge while enjoying home-cooked country meals, meeting our colourful locals, exploring the South Saskatchewan River via jetboat and becoming part of our family’s ranch.

We offer a three-day experience in the country and look forward to hosting you.

Bar Diamond is the home of the only twin medicine wheels site in North America, representing an important Blackfoot spiritual site.

First Evening: Your Journey Begins

When you arrive at the ranch, you will be greeted with a warm western welcome and have a chance to settle into your comfortable room in the century-old Bar Diamond Lodge. Spend your first night roaming the property, watching for wildlife and shaking off your worries.

You will dig into a hearty made-from-scratch country dinner and kick back under the perfect black sky sparkling with at least a million stars. If you are lucky, the big sky – with no lights anywhere around – will glow with the green ribbons of the Northern Lights. It truly is a breathtaking experience.

Along the banks, among the iconic Badlands hoodoos, you will encounter remnants of old stone homes built by pioneers in the mid-1800s

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Day One: Explore the Wild West


After a home-cooked breakfast on the ranch, you will head out with your hosts for an interpreted tour of the property. Connect with the past at 5,000-year-old Blackfoot teepee rings, medicine wheels and the vision quest site which proudly sit on the riverback hilltops. This is the only twin medicine wheel site in North America, representing an important Blackfoot spiritual location. Standing there, you will no doubt feel its power.

If you are here in the late summer and early fall, watch for ripe juicy cactus berries to pick and eat along the way.

Savour a packed lunch overlooking the South Saskatchewan River – then board the Hern’s jet boat for an afternoon tour on the water. From the boat, you will see riverside wildlife – like elk, deer, coyotes and birds like heron, osprey and eagles.  Discover other extraordinary views that are only accessible from the river.

Along the banks, among the iconic Badlands hoodoos, you will encounter remnants of old stone homes built by pioneers in the mid-1800s. The only trails in this wild landscape are carved by thirsty elk and other wild animals making their way to the riverbank.

After the river tour, you will travel back to the ranch for your evening meal and some well deserved relaxation. Tonight, you can hike the hills to the tops of the coulees or walk to the river to watch the sky change colour above you. You have never seen a sunset like a prairie sunset. The entire sky lights up in a cascade of colour.

After dark, gather together again at the party barn – hand-built by Jim and Jay – for a game of pool, a movie or a cold beverage with your fellow travellers.

Day Two: Meet the Locals


You will spend today with Carol discovering the small prairie towns of Acadia, Empress and a local Hutterite colony.

After breakfast at the ranch, it’s off to Acadia Valley to tour the hamlet’s historic grain elevator and museum. Learn how this region’s traditional grain crops were weighed, graded and sent across the country by rail from this historic site. Tour a furnished one room Pioneer Home and the Eaton’s Catologue House (imagine country houses ordered by mail!), both are beside the grain elevator, then pause in the Eaton’s House for tea and handmade edibles.

Next up on your countryside tour is a visit to Sagebrush Studio just east of Empress to see the work of landscape painter Dean Francis and his wife, potter Fran. Take the walkways through twenty acres of beautifully landscaped prairie with ever-changing gardens and water features. View Dean’s impressive artwork in three restored historical churches that act as the artist’s galleries. Relax in a peaceful rest area for a sunny picnic lunch.

Next you will cross the South Saskatchewan River on the Estuary Ferry that has been in operation for more than a century. Tour a nearby Hutterite Colony where you will meet those who’s old-world belief systems, dress and agricultural practices come together with modern technology in a fascinating communal living environment .

Before heading back to the ranch you will stop in the village of Empress once “The Hub Of The West” to visit the local snack, craft and gift shop “That’s Empressive”.  Just down the street you will tour the restored 1913 CPR train station, designated as an historical site in 1992.  The station is one of three in Canada constructed with the CPR Plan X-12.

End your busy day back at the ranch with a hearty meal and another evening of prairie peace and quiet.

Day Three: A Day on the Ranch

Let the world wait one more day.  Stick around to hike open prairie trails and take one last relaxing escape down to the riverbank. Take one more day of peace, independence, fresh air and great company – and more of that farm fresh home cooking wouldn’t hurt either, would it?

View the unique landscape of the Red Deer River valley that has been untouched for hundreds of years, just as the first Nations People saw it.  Ride an ATV, take a relaxing canoe ride, or grab a fishing rod.  For bird enthusiasts,  there is  a wide variety of bird species; watch for the red-neck woodpecker, vultures, hawks, the golden and bald eagles.  Pet and feed the horses, play with the barn cats, watch the livestock come in for water, track deer, elk, antelope, moose, and hear the chilling coyote howls echoing in the valley.

Or just relax, grab a good book, put your feet up on the veranda just like the early ranchers did one hundred years ago.  Immerse yourself in nature, enjoy the peace and quiet of the beautiful manicured yard.

We hope this feeling of freedom will stay with you long after you have gone and will bring you back soon.

Let the world wait for one more day. Stick around to hike wide open prairie trails and take one last relaxing escape down to the riverbank

Horseback Riding

Venture off in true ranch fashion on the back of a big hearted and well trained horse. Our experienced wranglers will skillfully guide you through our extensive network of trails all while sharing with you the lure and wisdom of their western culture.

On this ride, you will be out for the day, riding along old wagon trails as you dip down into the fresh spring coulees. Enjoy a home-made picnic lunch along the way. This is a great opportunity for elk, deer, antelope and bird viewing.

This is the heart of the Bar Diamond Guest Ranch. This is what our family does, we ride.

Every person will receive riding lessons in a corral before they go out on the trails. Children must be 12 years old to participate in the horseback riding. Everyone will be provided with a riding helmet. Boots with a heel are required for riding. It is our hope that guests will feel refreshed by the country air, recharged by the sunshine and enriched by the experience on horseback.

Are you looking for a custom Prairie hunting experience? Stop by the Alberta Western Uplands website, also operated by the Hern family.