About Bragg Creek

 

Situated in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Bragg Creek is a charming hamlet retaining all the quaint character of the past. Just a 30 minute drive from Calgary, close to the junctions of Highways 8 and 22, it’s a community of artists, ranchers, local businesses and commuters existing in harmony with the beauty of nature. The area attracts many visitors, from hikers and bikers to those seeking culture in the unique shops and restaurants. You won’t find big-box stores in Bragg Creek. Instead, you might find the occasional horse hitched up outside the local supermarket, a music or arts event, and crafts to buy from local artisans. The restful atmosphere, physical beauty, old log buildings and shopping centres are a magnet for a true diversity of residents and visitors.

Bragg Creek is well known as the gateway to Kananaskis Country, and many choose to take a picnic lunch to nearby Elbow Falls or one of the other beautiful leisure areas off Highway 66. West Bragg Creek Trails has over 152km of trails for hikers, bikers, horseback riders and skiers these trails crisscross the thick, wildlife-filled forest and open alpine meadows of the area. A section of  The Great Trail runs through Bragg Creek, part of a 14,864 mile trail system running across Canada.  Thrill seekers can try off-roading at the McLean Creek Provincial Recreation Area, while those looking for relaxation can simply admire the mountain views.

As residents and local business owners we are proud of where we live and invite you to enjoy it as much as we do.

History of Bragg Creek

 

Bragg Creek is named after Albert Warren Bragg from Collingwood, Nova Scotia and his 13-year-old brother John Thomas Bragg who came to the area with dreams of becoming cowboys and living the ranching lifestyle. They  received a grant from Dominion Land Corporation September 17, 1894 for land about 35 miles west of Calgary. However, the brothers didn’t begin preparations for their homesteaded until the fall of 1897. They built their small cabin beside a tiny creek that ran through the northeast corner of their quarter section. It’s this creek that became Bragg Creek in their honour.  Fire had stripped the land of trees, leaving verdant open land particularly suited to ranching. However, very few of the settlers remained for long; it was a beautiful and unspoiled area but isolation made life difficult, particularly through the winter months. By spring, the boys decided that the land in the foothills was not suited to the type of ranching operation they wanted. Warren, applied for and was granted a homestead in Gleichen, east of Calgary and John returned home to Nova Scotia.

For the pioneers who remained, trade with the Nakoda First Nation (also known as the Stoney Tribe) was an important part of life. Beaded clothing and furs were exchanged at the Trading Post. In fact, the Bragg Creek Trading Post on White Avenue is on the exact same footprint as it was when built in 1927. The structure is the original building other than the porch and some lower logs due to the flood of 2013.

Oil was discovered in the area around 1913, and drilling of the Mowbray Berkeley well took place initially where picnic tables now stand in Bragg Creek Provincial Park. That well was capped at the beginning of World War I when investment from Britain dried up. Further oil reserves were discovered north of Bragg Creek in the 1920’s and at the same time that gas was found. Both fuel sources continue to be extracted in the area today.

From the 1920’s onward the Bragg Creek area became increasingly popular as a weekend and retirement destination, and the first Youth Hostel in North America was established in Bragg Creek at the junction of the Elbow River and the Bragg Creek in 1933. Initially a simple tent was pitched on Ida May Whites property by Mary and Catherine Barclay. Then a  permanent structure was built in 1936 on Thomas Fullerton’s near by property. The building was later moved and sadly burned down in 1984.

There are still active ranches in the area, although today you are just as likely to find peaceful acreages on former ranch land. Due to its proximity to Calgary, Bragg Creek is attractive for those who commute to the city but long to return to the wilderness at the end of the workday.