If you’ve driven south through Okotoks to the mountains for a weekend trip from Calgary, chances are you’ve passed an exceptionally large rock sitting in the middle of the prairie, looking totally out of place. This is “Big Rock”. The rock that inspired the name for Big Rock Brewery and the town of Okotoks. Okotok is the word rock in Blackfoot. Now how would a piece of rock this size end up here?
Big Rock is a glacial erratic. A chunk of 16,500 tonnes of quartzite that was carried here by a glacier possibly over hundreds of kilometres. It is 41 by 18 metres and 9 metres high. A pretty big rock I would say! The Blackfoot people would use it as a landmark for their Sheep River crossing, as it would be hard to miss. Some like to say it is the largest erratic in the world but there are bigger ones in Europe and North America.
It sits 8km west of Okotoks on Highway 7 with a public parking lot complete with bathrooms. There is a gravel footpath leading to and around the rock with educational information to check out. You are not supposed to climb the rock, it could be dangerous and damage the landmark, so keep that in mind! Now you know a fun fact about that giant rock in the middle of a field. You’re welcome!