Roadside Attraction: The Giant Teepee of Medicine Hat

World's Largest Teepee

Giant teepee, Medicine Hat, Alberta

This roadside monument was actually used in the 1988 winter games in Calgary, Alberta. At the time, the world's largest teepee resided above the Olympic caldron and is now a roadside attraction along the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy #1) near Medicine Hat, Alberta. Rising 65.5 meters high (over 20 stories high), the steel structure weighs over 200 tonnes and sits on a concrete base.

The Saamis Teepee (Saamis is a Blackfoot word for the eagle tail-feather headdress worn by Medicine men) overlooks an ancient buffalo jump used for thousands of years. An ancient battle took place in the area between the Blackfoot & Cree first nations. This roadside monument is a tribute to the First Nation heritage in southern Alberta.

The world's largest teepee was built to withstand the gale-force winds of southern Alberta (up to 240 km/hr) and extreme temperature ranges from -45 C to +45 C. In January 2007, a winter windstorm damaged the top portion of the giant teepee. After repairs were done, this roadside attraction is now 15 feet (4.6 m) shorter.

I was in Medicine Hat for a few days many years ago, and had a blast in this semi-arid area. In summer, the daytime high got up to +35 C and the nights were hot at +24 C. Things to do include:

  • Walking along the historic river valley.
  • Touring the historic and picturesque downtown.
  • Discovering the amazing Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, a park that spans both the SE corner of Alberta as well as the SW corner of Saskatchewan.

How to Find the Big Teepee

While on the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy #1), about halfway through the city, take the off ramp heading south on College Avenue and head towards the big teepee.

The following map shows the driving directions to the Saamis Teepee in Medicine Hat, Alberta.


View Roadside Attraction in Medicine Hat, Alberta in a larger map.

 

Medicine Hat, Alberta is 293 kilometers (3 hours) east of Calgary, Alberta. Stop by to see the giant teepee and then explore Alberta to see more interesting & weird roadside attractions, scenic stops, and many hikes and other things to do.