Drumheller Valley Tour
Distance: approx. 170 km (106 mi)
The Canadian Badlands cut a swath through southeastern Alberta. The region has been a fossil hotbed since the 19th century. Some of the most important dinosaur discoveries in the world were unearthed right here.
There are a variety of ways to tour the badlands and many places to see. The Dinosaur Trail is a lovely, looping drive that closely follows both sides of the slow-moving Red Deer River, climbing twice to commanding viewpoints, Horsethief Canyon and Orkney Hill. This 48 km (29 mi) tour nicely combines the riveting intensity of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology with short walks, a ride on the Bleriot Ferry and the scenic majesty of the Drumheller Valley, including Midland Provincial Park and the Littlest Church.
- From Calgary head north on Hwy 2, then east on Hwy 72, which turns into Hwy 9, taking you to Drumheller, approx. 140 km (87 mi). Here, the World’s Largest Dinosaur greets you at the town’s visitor information centre. Climb up to the top and peer out from its jaws for a sweeping view of the badlands and the Red Deer River valley.
- Head north on Dinosaur Trail (Hwy 838) for about 10 minutes and follow the signs to the Royal Tyrrell Museum, one of the finest dinosaur museums in the world. You could easily spend a whole day here – more than 35 dinosaur skeletons and fascinating galleries recreate life in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
- Back on Hwy 838, continue north about 25 km (16 mi) 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 48 km (30 mi) scenic tour through the Drumheller Valley. Take time to stop along the way at scenic view points such as Horsethief Canyon and Orkney Hills.
- Pick up the Hoodoo Trail (Hwy 10) which takes you 25 km (15.5 mi) east of Drumheller to the hoodoos site and on through coal-mining country. Take a swaying walk across the Red Deer River on the Rosedale Suspension Bridge. Visit the Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site and climb inside the last wooden tipple in the country. See for yourself if these old buildings really are haunted.
- Connect with Hwy 10A and cross 11 single-lane bridges to the hamlet of Wayne and its historic Last Chance Saloon. Have a cold one – you’ve earned it!