Canadian Prairie at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump world heritage site in Southern Alberta, Canada; Shutterstock ID 97797887; full: 65050; gl: 65050; netsuite: poi; your: Barbara Di Castro

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Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Top choice in Southern Alberta

The story behind this Unesco World Heritage site with the strangest name of any attraction in Alberta is one of ingenuity and resourcefulness – and is key to the First Nations' cultural heritage (and Canada's, too!). The Blackfoot people used the cliffs near the town of Fort Macleod to hunt buffalo when conditions were right. The well-presented displays and films at the interpretive center built cleverly into the hillside are definitely worth the excursion from Calgary or Lethbridge.

You can walk along the cliff trail to the kill site where the bison plummeted, a quiet pastoral overlook that seems incongruously peaceful now. The excellent movie brings a hunt to life in very realistic detail, explaining not only what the Blackfoot did to cause the animals to stampede, but why it was so vital to their livelihood and religious beliefs. The museum is wonderful, with six levels that are designed to be viewed from top to bottom, offering the viewer many interesting explanations of this unique time in North America's past.

The park, about 18km northwest of Fort Macleod and 16km west of Hwy 2, also has a cafe and a shop staffed by Blackfoot First Nations.