Yes, the Alberta Rockies are jaw-dropping gorgeous. But your followers want more to double tap than snowcapped peaks and turquoise lakes, don’t you think? If you’re on the hunt for holiday inspiration or simply want to spruce up your feed, the Canadian Badlands needs to be on your radar.
Not only does this region serve up the wow factor you’re looking for, but you’ll score major cred for uncovering these hidden gems. If you’re travelling for likes (and aren’t we all?), these are four must-visit spots.
With a name like this, you’re expect something pretty epic, right? Fortunately, this sweet spot just outside of Drumheller totally delivers. At Horsethief Canyon, the prairie suddenly gives way to canyons of textured sandstone coulees. It’s a toss-up: Do you feel like you’re standing on the set of a sci-fi film, or a wild west drama?
For a caption that captures your squad’s attention, be sure to mention this place’s history as ground zero for illegal horse trading a century ago. Horses smuggled between the U.S. and Canada would mysteriously mosey off into these canyons, then reappear for resale with a different brand, hence the name.
Pro tip: Bring along a toy dump truck or dinosaur. The wild ground squirrels (locals call them gophers) are pretty cheeky, and you’ll snag some hilarious shots of them interacting with your props.
This historical park situated on the Siksika Nation, just south of Calgary, isn’t on many people’s radar, but should be. Your Insta-inspiration begins before you step inside the modern museum. Massive stained-glass feathers fan out above the entry doors. Catching the light, they cast rad red and purple reflections on the concrete below.
Inside, the open design is apt to make lifestyle influencers do a double take thanks to all the full-sized tipis, colourful artifacts and floor-to-ceiling views of the rolling prairie. Head outside the facility for priceless landscape shots of the Bow River snaking its way through the lush valley. Strut down a short hill, and you’ll encounter three traditional tipis set up for overnight guests. If nobody’s booked in, go ahead and stage a few shots.
Pretty much everything inside this glacier-cut valley is a major IG op. We’re talking Flintstones-like tabletop rocks (those would be hoodoos) and deeply creviced hills layered yellow, red, brown and black, all shifting colour depending on the position of the sun. This provincial park even has sunset tours for photographers that take you to sites with names like Valley of the Gold and Valley of the Moon. Actually.
But most people come here for the fossils. This is one of the world’s most important sites for dinosaur bones. There are dino fossils literally everywhere - just the thing to include in a carousel post of your experience.
Outside the park, skedaddle over to the totally authentic saloon in the Patricia Hotel. The interiors are duded up with taxidermy and ranchers have carved their brands into the woodwork. For some life-size Jurassic Park inspired shots, you’ll want to check out the abandoned dinosaur store at the junction of Highway 540 and 876. There, you’ll find a good looking T-Rex to pose with.
This Interprovincial Park straddling the Alberta-Saskatchewan border sits above the Great Plains at 600 metres (1,970 feet) above sea level. It’s odd because you think you’re in the prairies, yet you’re surrounded by thick pine forests and mountain-like terrain. This is actually the highest point between the Rocky Mountains and Labrador.
For landscape shots, you’re spoiled for choice. You’ve got your wetlands, grasslands, forests, plus there are the prairies just outside the park. Into nighttime photography? Cypress Hills is a dark-sky preserve, and you’ll be able to snap some supernatural pics of the stars piercing the velvet night sky.
For eats as attractive as they are delicious, sit yourself down at Camp Cookhouse. Pretty much everything is house-made, and their food is so good you just might forget to take your obligatory social shots before tucking in. But probably not.