Boundary Pine - The Tree - Hiking Alberta


'Boundary Pine' is a symbol of rugged determination in Highwood, Kananaskis Country, Alberta.


'Boundary Pine' is the one on photo right.


The 'Boundary Pine' is a famous, ancient, limber pine tree, near wind-swept Grass Pass, that has defied the harsh elements for many decades.  Following are the photographs captured on a visit to Grass Pass.


Boundary Pine - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada


The 'Boundary Tree' was named by Raymond M. Patterson, a famous author and adventurer who lived in the Highwood Valley between 1933 and 1945.  He is credited with naming 'Boundary Pine' and wrote a number of excellent books including 'The Buffalo Head' and other classic novels.


Boundary Pine - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Boundary Pine - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada Boundary Pine - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada

Boundary Pine - Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada 

I am the one at photo left - The other is 'Boundary Pine'.  Granted the limber pine is more attractive, but I believe I am older.


This enduring monument is a classic, gnarled, ancient limber pine that has stood the test of time.  The tree stands proud against all odds and symbolizes the hardship endured by the courageous and resilient pioneers who settled this challenging land.








Thanks for leading the way to 'Boundary Tree'. You are right. The snow pack remains heavy and reluctant to move along. It is a frustrating time of the year for all of us eager to increase altitude. Thanks for your comment, Andra.

Glad you got back to see the Boundary Pine and especially so that you went when you did. I was out that way this past weekend and could not believe the amount of snow I could see there.

The 'Boundary Pine' has character and, by virtue of its stubborn existence, commands respect. In the half hour I spent photographing the tree, I enjoyed the solitude we shared. The sky was overcast and the tree was framed by new encroaching forest and mountains past foothills, river valleys and grasslands. It is a very special place and I can understand why it has become famous. It is always an honour, and humbling, to be in the presence of living history.

Wonderful shots of this ancient tree. Nature is truly amazing!

As the author of the biography* of RM Patterson, who named the Boundary Pine, I write to provide a bit more information. In The Buffalo Head he writes that the Boundary Pine was the informal but very practical southern boundary of the grazing lease of his cows from the Buffalo Head Ranch. Cattle are lazy - like people they like easily accessible food and water - and so the bulls and cows and calves seldom ventured further out on Fir Point Ridge than the Boundary Pine. There is a natural spring just to the N of it, and lots of grass as well, but the further S you go out on the point the steeper it gets and more heavily forested. That old tree is several hundred years old and has seen a lot of people come and go in those centuries and I trust it will see many more in the centuries to come. *R.M. Patterson: A Life of Great Adventure, 2000

Thank you for the value added, David Finch.  Learned something myself and it is easy to relate to the position once the location is investigated.  I recommend your biography of R. M. Patterson to realize the significance of early development in the Highwood area west of Longview, Alberta, Canada.  Thank you for the legacy you have created by documenting the life of a legendary founder.

I was looking up the Alberta "Burmis Tree", which lead me to search for pictures of "limber pine" trees, which lead me to your photos. I'm an artist (painter) in Calgary, and am wondering if I could have permission to use these photos as reference for a painting?

Terri,  Thank you for your comment.  You may use images from this post as reference to create your painting.  If you wish to discuss further by email you can reach me at  Good luck on your project.