Jun 282016
Brokeback Meadows

Yes, it’s time for another BIGDoer.com movie then and now. Man, it’s sure been a while. In this one we visit a location seen in the film Brokeback Mountain, specifically Brokeback Meadows, in the real world a grassy swath on the flanks of Moose Mountain just west of Calgary. This filming site, with a bit of work, can be accessed by hiking a popular trail whose destination is a nearby fire lookout.

In the scenes used here we’re about thirty minutes into the picture. We see the two main players, Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar (Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger respectively) tending to sheep. It’s a bloody mundane and thankless job if there ever was one, even if the setting is gorgeous, bursts of hard work interspersed with looooong periods of utter boredom. It’s here that a relationship hatches between the two men.

Brokeback Mountain then and now – Brokeback Meadows: we visit a location seen in the movie. By Chris Doering and Connie Biggart (BIGDoer.com)

For this then and now, we simply picked some random samples from that chapter to use as fodder. Notice how little has changed since they shot here. Then again, here in the mountains, time tends to move differently. Of course, the producers had to make sure they left nothing behind so it was like they were never even here.

↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ Scroll down for photos and to comment ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓

The movie premiered in 2005, the filming taking place the year earlier. Moose Mountain was just one location in Southern Alberta used in the production. They filmed all over the region – Calgary, various parts of Kananaskis, Cowley, Fort MacLoed, Beiseker and many others.

The setting in the story is Wyoming, which Alberta does a good job of doubling for. The general topography and even that “cowboy feel”, is pretty similar between the two.

While Moose Mountain is said to be the namesake Brokeback Mountain, in some scenes a different peak, Mount Lougheed, further west, doubles for it. The odd things they do in movies. One looks nothing like the other.

If you wish to visit Brokeback Meadows, hike the Moose Mountain Fire Lookout Trail, accessible off Highway #66 in Kananaskis west of Bragg Creek. It’s a popular route and is easy to find. Refer to any number of hiking guides or better still click this link: Moose Mountain. We’ve been up a couple times. Come for Brokeback, stay for the views. The latter are stupendous and get even better as you climb above Brokeback Meadows.

We’re often asked how we line up out now shots so well (in the old days we weren’t so good). It surprises people to hear that it’s all done in-camera. We’ve developed a grid system, hard to describe really, but one that allows us line things up in a scene with a great deal of accuracy. We review the original on paper, move around until things seem to match up, and we’re done. Click! Usually we need only take three or four now photos to get it right. It’s not done in post production, which would be way easier, but zero fun.

Images from the movie are copyright Focus Features.

More movie then and now posts…
Journey of Natty Gann – reform school.
Legends of the Fall then and now.
River of No Return.
Gunsmoke Return to Dodge – then and now.

If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!

Date: May, 2015.
Location: Kananaskis, AB.
This location is publicly accessible using the Moose Mountain hiking trail.

Brokeback Meadows

Looking down to Brokeback Meadows.

Brokeback Mountain Locations

A scene from the film and that location today.

Brokeback Mountain Meadows

And scene two…

Meadows Brokeback Mountain

And three…


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8 Comments on "Brokeback Mountain then and now – Brokeback Meadows"

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Bernie Nemeth
Bernie Nemeth

Well done. I must do this hike some day. We hike all around here but have not done Moose Mountain yet.

Taylor Penn
Taylor Penn

That’s amazing! Never seen the film but have climbed Moose Mountain many times.


Lovely photos and commentary! I’d love to see more of Mount Lougheed and the scene at the bridge with the Basque, also the tent site.

Did you know there’s a mountain in Wyoming named Brokenback? It’s on the west side of the Big Horns.

Monika Andersson
Monika Andersson

Thanks for this. I climbed Moose Mountain back in -09 in order to pay my tribute to Jack and Ennis. It was so beautiful and quiet up there.

Monika from Sweden