When people talk about Alberta, Canada the first thing that comes to mind is most likely oil country, not tourism. Most people don’t know that Alberta has some of the world’s most famous tourist attractions! To name a few are Banff, Jasper, and Glacier National park. All three parks lie within the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I hope to blog about these places shortly. However today I would like to tell you about a more unique and less visited site called The Drumheller Valley.
The Drumheller Valley is located within The Canadian Badlands and is about a 3-hour drive from Edmonton or 1.5 hours from Calgary. Drumheller is home to the world-famous Albertosaurus and houses an extensive collection of dinosaur bones and fossils. There are plenty of exciting places to visit here like The Hoodoos, Horseshoe Canyon, The Rosedale Suspension Bridge and The Royal Tyrrell Museum(Dinosaur Fossils).
When friends come to visit me in Canada, I usually take them to Drumheller for a day trip. Everyone often asks the same questions during the long journey there; Where are we going? What is so special about this place? How could this destination be so great if the scenery along the way is so flat & dull? I too can remember asking these same questions my first time traveling to Drumheller.
Although the highway leading to Drumheller is somewhat scenic, it does get boring after a while because it’s mostly flat farmland, oil pump jacks, and a whole lot of nothing. But rest assured, when you are a few kilometers away from town you can see the dramatic changes! It feels like you are going back in time with the all the glacier-carved hills, and canyons. I have only seen one place similar to this area in Southern Argentina. Both Sothern Argentina, and The Drumheller Valley have lot’s of oil, and you probably guessed it; plenty of dinosaur bones!
The following is a list of things that you can do during a day trip to Drumheller.
1) Hiking in Horseshoe Canon
Horseshoe Canyon, located along Highway 9, and is approximately 17km(11miles) west of Drumheller. It is an ideal spot to do a short hike and get some breathtaking pictures at the same time! The canyon kind of forms a horseshoe shape, hence the name Horseshoe Canyon. Although I have only been to this place during the daytime in the summer, the canyon is known for its spectacular sunsets during all four seasons.
The strange formations along the hills within the Canyon have all been formed over thousands of years by the glaciers during the last ice age, and they are still evolving from natural corrosion. You can get some cool photos with all the different layers of rock and sand in the background.
There are a lot of trails scattered throughout the canyon. It’s a lot of fun exploring the area, but please take your time and bring along a good pair of shoes! The hills can be both slippery and steep.
2) The HooDoos
If you go 16 kilometers(9 miles) south-east of town, along highway 10, you can find The Hoodoos. It took thousands of years for these mushroom-shaped pinnacles to form creating these picturesque iconic figures.
There is a trail that can take you up the side of the mountain, but please note that it is steep at parts, and requires closed footwear.
There are plenty of high places to get great photos from, however, please don’t cross any of the roped off areas. They are blocked off to protect the ancient formations!
3) The Royal Tyrrell Museum
The Royal Tyrrell Museum is 6km(3.5 Miles) north-west of town along highway 838. It houses one of the world’s most massive displays of dinosaur bones and has over 130,000 fossils of which some showcased throughout the museum. There are lots of other exhibits as well that explain the history of dinosaurs, glaciers, oil, and The Drumheller Valley.
Both kids and Adults will enjoy walking past the dinosaur bone exhibits. It’s an extraordinary experience for everyone.
There are so many interesting exhibits to see in the museum. Prepare to spend a few hours at the museum.
Above is a photo of the lab where they extract the bones, and fossils from the rock and dirt. Sometimes they give tours that explain the entire process.
If you would like to know more about the museum including hours of operation and the cost of admission it’s best to visit the website for current information. Please note that the price of admission will be in Canadian Dollars. Tyrrell Museum Website.
4) Rosedale Suspension Bridge
This attraction is located just 10km(7miles) southeast of town, off Highway 56. This bridge was built in 1931 specifically for the coal miners that worked in the area. The bridge crosses over the Red Deer River and has a series of hiking trails. One of the trails leads up to an abandoned mineshaft. It’s worth a quick stop, and it’s a perfect place to snap a few photos at any time of year.
A Few Things To Note.
- Bring closed footwear if you want to do some of the day hikes. The hikes can be somewhat steep at parts.
- Bring sunscreen and maybe a wide-brimmed hat if you visit during the summer. It tends to be very hot here during the summer months, and you can get a sunburn quickly even during a cloudy day.
- Have patients along the way to Drumheller. It can be a long boring drive, but the destination is worth it!
- If you have the time and would like to stay the night, there are hotel options.
- Drumheller is a town and has plenty of restaurants to choose from, so you don’t need to pack a lunch.
- There are other great attractions to see here. You will want to make a stop at the main visitor center to get information and a map. It’s easy to find, just look for the worlds largest dinosaur structure when you arrive in town, and you will see it. It’s hard to miss!
If you have any questions regarding Drumheller, or if you would like to share something about this place with our readers, then please add a comment below! Thank you for visiting travelcanbecheap.com!