Touring the Canadian Badlands near the town of Drumheller is a super fun touristy road trip. The route is spread out across 60,000 square kilometers with lots of options to get out of the car for a quick day hike. The Dinosaur Trail (drive) is 70 km to see the all the best stuff. As the route runs up and down the Red Deer river, expect to feel like you are going back in time. The hoodoo’s inside the arid valley are the main attraction, but the grassy fields alongside the layered hills provide an amazing backdrop. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage site with archaeology digs still underway.
The entire drive, including stops for photos plus some walking around, should take around 3 to 4 hours. I started from the south end of the trail. The south section is a point to point route, so think about arriving or leaving the Badlands this way if you want to see the hoodoos. The North loop is a little easier to plan, since it starts and ends in Drumheller.
Look Outs, Old Stuff, and a Museum
The best are the sweeping vistas from the numerous lookouts. Horsethief Canyon, Orkney viewpoint and all the other unnamed look outs were all amazing and unique. The abandoned equipment and buildings from the coal mining days are interesting, but the dinosaurs are way more exciting. A visit to the Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology will not disappoint. The giant man-made t-rex is cheesy, but most certainly belongs in this touristy town.
Cable Ferry, and Grasslands
The north end of the Dinosaur trail passes over the Red Deer river via one of last remaining cable ferries. The Bleriot ferry is old and slow, but it adds to the character of the heritage Drumheller is trying to maintain. If you are headed east after your stay, than you should consider visiting Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan.