Brokeback Mountain is a groundbreaking and critically acclaimed drama/romance about the love affair of two cowboys. The movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, who was just coming off another critically acclaimed performance in Lords of Dogtown.
While the movie primarily takes place in Wyoming, filming was based in Calgary and used a variety of locations in Alberta.
Ennis and Alma’s Apartment
This apartment building is located in the centre of Fort MacLeod, on Street. It is just a few steps from the entrance of the Fort Museum. One of the residents allowed me to go up to the balcony and take some photos as well. She also told me she believed the building is going to appear in the upcoming Ghostbusters Afterlife as well, which did some filming in Fort MacLeod.
Bus Station and Diner
The Greyhound station and diner that appears in Brokeback Mountain is also located in Fort MacLeod, on 2 Ave. The sign outside says The Java Shop, but I couldn’t tell if it’s still open at this point.
For a while, the booth where Ennis sits was on display at the Trekcetera Museum in Vulcan, Alberta. I visited a number of years ago and was able to see it. That museum has since closed, and I wasn’t able to find any info on what happened to the booth. They also had a number of props and costumes on display.
The Court House
The courtroom where Alma divorces Ennis is located in the old Courthouse in Fort MacLeod. It’s located on 26 St South and is now part of the Town Hall facilities.
The Queens Hotel
The Queens Hotel sits at the corner of 2 Avenue and 24 Street. This historic building is seen in Brokeback Mountain where Ennis goes to drink (which happens often in the movie). The hotel is also featured in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which also filmed in Fort MacLeod. It makes sense, since this hotel sure looks like it could be haunted!
The scene where Ennis and his family watch a fireworks show was filmed at a nearby baseball diamond, just outside Fort MacLeod. It is located off 1 Avenue, near the small Fort MacLeod Airport.
The Alberta town of Cowley was used to depict Signal, Wyoming. This is where Ennis and Jack first meet when getting seasonal jobs as cowboys. These scenes were all filmed along Railway Avenue.
The small alley where Ennis is seen breaking down and crying is between two buildings on Railway Ave. There is currently a book exchange stand set up in the alley.
Joe Aguire’s Trailer
The trailer used for Joe Aguire’s office was set up in front of Back Country Butchers. The trailer is long gone, but you can still see the butcher’s building.
The production used the town of Rockyford to film a few different scenes for the movie.
Riverton Post Office
Ennis is seen in the film visiting a Post Office. The building used for the post office still stands in Rockyford, but the building next to it has been replaced.
JT’s Bar and Pay Phone
After leaving the Post Office, Ennis crosses the street to use a public pay phone in front of JT’s Bar. This is located across the street from the post office, just as it appears in the film. The pay phone was just a prop placed for filming.
Childress Dance Hall
Exterior shots of the dance hall were also shot in Rockyford. This is where Jack and Randall are seen talking outside on a bench. This building was a CIBC bank for many years, however there are no longer any bank or other business markings.
Scenes of Jack attending the rodeo were filmed at the Rockyford Rodeo Grounds. We see the grounds extensively through these scenes, including where Lureen makes her entrance on a horse before doing some barrel racing. According to FindingBrokeback.com, the scenes of the Electra Rodeo were also filmed at this same spot. The crew just used some different set dressings including a wooden fence to make it look like a different location.
The town of Beiseker, north of Calgary, was used to film a couple pivotal scenes in Brokeback Mountain.
Ennis and Jack’s Motel
The interior scenes of the motel that Ennis and Jack visit were filmed on a soundstage. However the exterior establishing shot used a local Motel in Beiseker. The sign outside the location simply reads “MOTEL” but Google Maps shows the name as the “Motel 9”.
The end of the film shows Ennis living in a trailer. These trailers were set up in a field on the outskirts of Beiseker, and is not a real trailer park.
The Blue Bar
Scenes set at the Signal Bar were filmed at the iconic Blue Bar in Carseland. This bar is well known for it’s vibrant blue paint, although it was painted grey for filming.
St. Thomas’s Anglican Church
Scenes of Ennis and Alma’s wedding were filmed at St. Thomas’s Anglican Church in Dinton, just outside Gladys, AB. Unfortunately the church was closed and locked when I went by, but here are some pictures of the exterior.
The Drive-In Movie
To film scenes for the drive-in movie, production set up right across the street from St. Thomas’s Church at a small baseball diamond.
The scenes of Ennis’s flashback were filmed in the Badlands of Alberta. The producers picked a spot in the small town of Dorothy, just across the Red Deer River. This same area can be seen in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
A brief scene shows Jack visiting Mexico, where he picks out a local man to enjoy the evening with. This scene was filmed in the alley in a cargo facility located at 803 24 Ave SE in Calgary. To find this exact location, just look for the alley next to Rosso Coffee Roasters. The open end of the alley was dressed with a fake wall to make it look more Mexican.
The interiors of the Childress Bar were filmed at a famous Calgary location, the Ranchman’s Bar. This western bar has been around for many years, but recently closed down during the Covid-19 Pandemic. The bar is currently for sale, and can only been seen from the outside. The same bar was also used in the film Cool Runnings.
The Canadian Rockies
While I didn’t have a chance to visit the specific locations in the Rockies where Brokeback Mountain was filmed, I have been in the area a number of times. I’d highly recommend a visit, as it’s breathtakingly beautiful. Filming was centered in the Kananaskis area, and you should make sure to visit Banff and Lake Louise while you are in the area as well. You can find more details about the filming locations here.