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7+ Things to See on the Dinosaur Trail

The Dinosaur Trail is a circular tourist route located in the badlands of Alberta. Here are 7+ Things you need to add to your drive along the Dinosaur Trail!

About the Dinosaur Trail

The Dinosaur Trail is a 48 KM loop that runs northwest from the town of Drumheller, to the Bleriot Ferry. This loop drive is divided in two segments, with the South Dinosaur Trail following the south side of the river (HWY 837), and the North Dinosaur Trail that follows the north side of the river along HWY 838. Along this scenic drive there are a number of beautiful viewpoints, and interesting tourist attractions. So pack a lunch, loads of water, proper shoes, and sunscreen, and have fun! Here are some great spots you don’t want to miss!

hoodoos on the Dinosaur Trail set against a blue sky and white clouds

Horseshoe Canyon

Located just 17 km west of Drumheller, Horseshoe Canyon is a must see! This u-shaped canyon offers incredible views and a chance to walk through part of Alberta’s Badlands! Read more about Horseshoe Canyon in our post here.

a view down into Horseshoe Canyon (along the Dinosaur Trail)

Horse Thief Canyon

Horse Thief Canyon is located in the Canadian Badlands near Drumheller, Alberta, and just a quick drive from Horseshoe Canyon. Stop by for spectacular views, or go down into the canyon to explore! Read more about Horse Thief Canyon in our post here.

a view down into the valley of hoodoos (on the Dinosaur Trail) set against a blue sky with fluffy white clouds

Little Church

Drumheller’s Little Church is located on the Northside of the North Dinosaur Trail between the Royal Tyrrell Museum and the Golf Course. This little church seats 6, and was designed as a place of worship and meditation. It sees many tourists every year.

World’s Largest Dinosaur

** Please be advised the World’s Largest Dinosaur attraction is CLOSED due to the mandatory public health restrictions currently in place in the province of Alberta. However, the gift shop and Visitor Information Centre remain OPEN to serve customers and visitors at this time. ** Even though entering the dinosaur isn’t allowed at this time, we still think it’s worth the stop, even if it’s just to capture some great photos, and to say you’ve been there!

The “World’s Largest Dinosaur” is the name of the Tyrannosaurus rex roadside tourist attraction located in the Town of Drumheller. This T-Rex stands 82 feet tall, and when it’s open, visitors can climb the 106 steps to the mouth of the dinosaur to capture a view of the badlands and Drumheller.

Murals + Dinosaurs in Drumheller

If you head into the town of Drumheller keep your eyes open for dinosaur statues and murals scattered throughout town. These are always so fun for picture taking! And while you’re exploring grab an ice cream!

Royal Tyrrell Museum

** The Royal Tyrrell Museum is temporarily closed due to public health restrictions in Alberta. Please check their website for more details. **

Minutes from Downtown Drumheller, the Royal Tyrrell Museum is a dinosaur lovers dream. Being the only museum in Canada exclusively dedicated to Paleontology and boasting one of the largest collections of dinosaur displays makes for an incredible, interactive experience.  Give yourself roughly 2 hours to explore the museum, and plan for extra time outside walking the 1.4 km Badlands Interpretive Trail

The Royal Tyrell Museum amenities include a cafeteria, outdoor picnic area, outdoor Paleo Playpark, are stroller and wheelchair accessible. Make sure to download the free museum app before you go, so you can take a guided tour at your own pace.

Bleriot Ferry

The Bleriot Ferry is located on Highway 838 over the Red Deer River and links the two sections of the North Dinosaur Trail (Alberta Highway 838) to Starland County on the east. This ferry only runs seasonally and is closed during the winter. Bleriot Ferry is a perfect detour that connects the roads that access the Horsethief Canyon and Orkney View point.

Make sure to check the ferry schedule: The ferry operates: 8 AM to 11:00 PM daily from May 9 to the September long weekend, and 8 AM to 7 PM daily from the September long weekend to October 30, then it’s closed for winter.

image from Travel Alberta

Orkney Viewpoint

From the Orkney Viewpoint there are majestic views of the Red Deer River and the Red Deer Valley.  The high red rock cliffs offer a vantage point to get amazing pictures of the valley below.  Located 15 minutes west of Drumheller, take HWY 575 for about 11 km’s then turn right onto HWY 837, and drive for 6 km’s.  This is a good option to do if it is late in the afternoon and you’re finishing up at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.  The late afternoon shadows in the valley make for excellent picture taking.  There are washroom facilities as well as picnic benches. Visit the Kneehill County website for maps and details.

Atlas Coal Mine

** Atlas Coal Mine reopens on May 17 2021, with the booking system going live mid-April. Check the website for details. **

While Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site, isn’t technically on the Dinosaur Trail, it’s definitely worth mentioning! Located 20 minutes southeast of Drumheller on Highway 10, Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site is a great glimpse of what coal mining looked like from 1911-1979.   The Atlas site, one of the most complete and preserved coal sites in Canada boasts mining machinery, tools and outbuildings, as well as Canada’s last standing wooden coal tipple, the largest in North America!  Allow 1 – 2 hours to tour the site. And if you want a real “hands on” experience, guided tours are available above and below ground! 

Bring water, wear proper footwear and leave the pets at home. For more info please check out the Atlas Coal Mine website for hours and admissions detail.

image from Atlas Coal Mine

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Happy Adventuring!

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