This is the home where the dinosaurs roamed. It’s still epic. Get ready to explore some remarkable rock formations and fossil beds. It’s enough to transport you to another time. Definitely take your photo with a towering hoodoo in a prehistoric glacial valley on horseback. ● Get lost: Canadian Badlands hiking is otherworldly. Seriously. Grab a map, then get yourself to Horseshoe Canyon. You’ve never seen anything like this. ● Dinosaurs: As if you could visit the Badlands without a trip to the cretaceous period. In addition to the Royal Tyrell Museum, try the Trail of the Fossil Hunters, an easy walk to the site of a 1913 fossil dig.
Before venturing into the Canadian Badlands, fire up the Jurassic spirit with a visit to the Calgary Zoo’s Prehistoric Park exhibit. Stroll the winding pathway bordered by lush greenery and native plants in search of Albertosaurus, Triceratops and the legendary Tyrannosaurus rex. There are seventeen life-sized animatronic dinosaurs waiting to surprise you.
Head north on Hwy 2, then east on Hwy 72, which turns into Hwy 9 taking you to Drumheller. En route stop at the Horseshoe Canyon scenic viewpoint, just outside Drumheller. Continue on to the World’s Largest Dinosaur, located at the town’s visitor information centre. Climb up and peer out from its jaws for a sweeping view of the badlands. Next, head north on the Dinosaur Trail (Hwy 838), through Midland Provincial Park and follow the signs to the Royal Tyrrell Museum. It’s considered one of the world’s finest dinosaur museums and features fascinating galleries and skeletons from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
Back on Hwy 838, drive north to the Horsethief Canyon lookout. Grab your camera and stand at the edge for a breathtaking view of the valley below. Continue on and cross the Red Deer River on the cable-operated Bleriot Ferry – one of the few left in Alberta. On the other side you’ll find you’re back on the Dinosaur Trail. Follow it south for a scenic tour through the Drumheller Valley.
Pick up the Hoodoo Trail (Hwy 10) and drive to the protected hoodoos site where you can see up close the impressive eroded sandstone and limestone chimneys of rock. Continue on through coal-mining country to visit the Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site. Here you can climb inside the last wooden tipple in Canada and see for yourself if these old buildings really are haunted.
Head back along Hwy 10 and connect with Hwy 10X. Cross 11 single-lane bridges to the hamlet of Wayne and its historic Last Chance Saloon. Grab a picnic table outside, or sit inside and listen to tunes on the vintage jukebox. After a day of exploring, you’ll be ready for some cooked-to-order Alberta beef and an ice cold beverage.