Drumheller’s Dinosaur Trail and Hoodoo Trail

I first visited Drumheller about 35 years ago and still remember how surprised I was to find that Canada had geography like this.  If it was something they taught in school, I must have slept through that class.  The Alberta Badlands are a must-see.

We parked at the Delia Diamond Anniversary Campground so we could be close to Drumheller.  Delia is a small town about 30 minutes from Drumheller and, due to COVID-19, a number of businesses were closed.  It’s a very quiet and clean campground with just 16 sites.  The sites are very spacious; our site was 100 feet deep!

The most popular self-drive tours for the Badlands are the Dinosaur Trail and the Hoodoos Trail.

The Dinosaur Trail is a 48-kilometre loop that we started at the junction of Highways 56 and 575 in Drumheller.  Our first stop was along highway 575 to view a roadside grain elevator.

From 575, we turned onto Highway 837 and followed it to the Orkney Viewpoint.  This viewpoint gives a magnificent view of the Red Deer River and the surrounding area.

Highway 838 was our turnoff from 837 and led us to the Bleriot Ferry.  The free ferry is operated by one crew on behalf of Alberta Transportation.  The crossing of the Red Deer River is 105 metres.  The ferry can hold approximately 13 cars. 

Continuing along 838 brought us to Horse Thief Canyon.  Legend has it the canyon is named because horses in the area would disappear into the canyon but reappear later with a different brand.

On our way back into Drumheller, we passed the Royal Tyrrell Museum.  Although we didn’t stop, I understand it is well worth the visit as it has one of the world’s largest dinosaur displays.

Once we were back in Drumheller, we stopped for lunch and then headed out on the Hoodoos Trail.  We followed Highway 56 until we reached Highway 10 and followed it to the Hoodoos.  There was a $2 charge for parking but no admission charge.  Several of the hoodoos are barricaded off but the surrounding area was extremely busy.

After viewing the hoodoos, we headed back toward Drumheller but took a detour on Highway 10X to visit the ghost town of Wayne.  Between Highway 56 and the hamlet of Wayne, there are 11 bridges across the Rosebud River.  Wayne was also a very busy spot.  Finding a parking spot was difficult and there was a waiting list to get into the saloon.  The waitlist was long enough that they couldn’t give an approximate wait time; so, unfortunately, we passed and headed back to our campsite.

There are numerous other attractions in the Drumheller area for all ages and I would highly recommend a visit.

Safe travels!

Vanessa

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