The Getaway
15 Things to Do in Drumheller: From Hoodoos to Dinosaurs

Drumheller in Alberta is known as the Dinosaur Capital of the World. It offers a unique blend of prehistoric intrigue and natural beauty and is a must-visit destination for families, hikers, and history buffs alike. This fossil-rich region has unearthed dozens of species of dinosaurs and made internationally important discoveries in the field. Combine this distinction with the dramatic landscapes of the Canadian Badlands, including the iconic Hoodoos, a mining history that's shaped urban life here, and a renowned outdoor amphitheater, and there's much to sink your teeth into.


01 Discover the Royal Tyrrell Museum

The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology makes its focus clear in its name. This place is fossil-central, and many of the hundreds of fossils belong to real dinosaurs. Chronological displays take visitors into the Canadian Badlands' deep, unique past when these fascinating prehistoric creatures roamed these lands. Complete skeletons provide insight into the actual size of various dinosaurs, and dino fans will need at least three hours to explore the various exhibits in one of the best dinosaur museums in North America. Kids' activities keep little ones busy, as does an outdoor playground, and the museum's interpretive walking trail has great views. The museum also offers distance learning and science camps for school-going children.

Visitors and tourists enjoy dinosaur exhibits at the Royal Tyrrel Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta. Nick Fox /

02 Climb the world's largest dinosaur

This popular roadside tourist attraction is 86 feet tall. It isn't an accurate depiction of the largest T-Rex found, which reached 42 feet tall, but it's a fun stop where you can climb up into Tyra's open maw for Drumheller views and toothy selfies. Learn about the area's paleontological significance as you ascend to the top. Family-friendly attractions include a picnic space and a kids' splash park, so carry bathing suits.

Gigantesque Dinosaur Statue in downtown Drumheller Alberta Vincent JIANG /

03 Explore the hoodoos

Drumheller, Badlands at the Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, where rich deposits of fossils and dinosaur bones have been found. The park is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Especially beautiful at sunrise or sunset, the Willow Creek Hoodoos are memorable at any time of the day. Lace up your hiking shoes and proceed with caution as you climb among these unique rock formations and sidestep Canadian cacti. The hoodoos are up to 22 feet tall and were formed by millions of years of erosion. Entry is free, and food and ice cream trucks stand ready to help visitors beat the heat.


04 Visit the Atlas Coal Mine

An old and historic coal mine building in the badlands region near Drumheller Alberta Canada at sunset.

Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site is an underrated gem in the region. Learn about the machinery and logistics of coal mining from witty, knowledgeable tour guides, or take a self-guided tour with signage that highlights Alberta's mining history. You'll also have the opportunity to climb the last wooden tipple in Canada. Carry sun protection and hydration, and if you have children with you, make sure to hop on the old mine train ride.


05 Take a journey through Horsethief Canyon

Hills in the Horseshoe Canyon, Drumheller, Alberta, Canada.

Hike through stark yet breathtaking badland landscapes and imagine how this canyon might have enabled horse hijackers to escape their angry victims back in the day. Capture stunning photographs at the golden hour or cute pics of prairie dogs and enjoy the peace and quiet of being out in nature while simultaneously feeling like you've landed on Mars.


06 Stroll through the East Coulee School Museum

Immerse yourself in the life of coal mining families living in the Drumheller Valley during the early 20th century. Stroll through a historic four-room schoolhouse and check out transporting artifacts and archives. Love a spooky story? You'll be happy to know that there might be more to the creaking floorboards here—paranormal accounts are not unusual. But don't stress; the specters don't seem to be malevolent. You can grab a bite at the cafe if you're hungry from all the ghost-hunting.

Sights at the East Coulee School Museum Todamo /

07 Dine at the Last Chance Saloon

Head for the abandoned mining town of Wayne to enjoy some down-home pub grub in a historic saloon with over a century of tales to tell, antiques aplenty, and striking decor. Experience the Wild West atmosphere while you feast on nachos and smoked brisket, and check out the hot rods and motorcycles in the parking lot. The pub is next to an 18-hole disc golf course, which hosts the annual Lost Egg tournament.

08 Cross the Star Mine Suspension Bridge

The Star Mine Suspension Bridge was closed for four years but recently reopened to the public. This 127-yard pedestrian bridge spanning the Red Deer River was constructed in 1931 so coal miners could reach the mine. Take the whole family along, including the dogs. The bridge sways a little but is entirely safe, and informative plaques set the early 20th-century scene. Climb the hills for bonus views.

09 Admire the Little Church

Drumheller's famous and quaint Little Church seats just six people, so it's perfect for quiet reflection, a unique photo opportunity, or to get married in a unique chapel. Add this mini place of worship with its pretty stained glass window to your itinerary if you're going to the nearby Royal Tyrrell Museum. It was built in 1958 and reconstructed by Drumheller Institution inmates.

10 Ride the Bleriot Ferry

One of Alberta's last cable ferries, the Bleriot Ferry, has been in operation for over a hundred years. It used to be a bit of a community gathering spot at a time when there were few bridges and people needed to haul their livestock and vehicles across. Today, 90% of commuters are tourists. Bleriot Ferry is free and opens seasonally to whisk road trippers across Red Deer River, connecting the two sections of the North Dinosaur Trail.

11 Check out the sights from Orkney Viewpoint

The Bleriot Ferry will take you toward Kneehill County's Orkney Viewpoint, a lovely lookout offering panoramic views of the Red Deer River Valley. Take a seat on the bench and absorb the surrounding countryside. Landscape photographers will love the vantage point for captivating shots. The Orkney Viewpoint is closed in winter.

12 Hike in Horseshoe Canyon

Horseshoe Canyon, also in Kneehill County, might be better than Horsethief Canyon if you're hiking with munchkins and want to avoid steep sections. Simply head for the canyon floor and hit the trails. Follow the Leave No Trace principles and stick to established pathways as far as possible. Reddish striations and layers on the canyon walls hint at long-ago epochs and dramatic environmental change.

13 Discover Dinosaur Provincial Park

Near sunrise over the Drumheller badlands at the Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, where rich deposits of fossils and dinosaur bones have been found. The park is now an UNESCO World Heritage

Dinosaur Provincial Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 because of the prolific variety of high-quality dinosaur specimens found here over the years. Have a look at the dinosaur exhibits at the Visitor Center or join a guided fossil hunt on tours like Bonebed Express and Fossil Safari. The year-round campgrounds next to the park's hoodoos are a hit—they're a great place to lay down and stare up at the star-studded sky. You might be able to catch an evening show at the amphitheater.


14 Attend the Badlands Passion Play

Fun fact: the Badlands Amphitheater at Dinosaur Provincial Park is Canada's largest outdoor stage. The amphitheater hosts numerous events, but one of its most well-known productions is the three-hour Passion Play, which takes place every summer and depicts the life of Christ. This spectacular event is a local institution billed as an epic story of hope, faith, and love.

15 Participate in a Drumheller Festival

Experience the community spirit of Drumheller at music-centered events like the annual East Coulee SpringFest in May, which raises funds for the East Coulee School Museum. Loud as Hell is a top underground metal festival held in August, and Roots, Blues, and BBQ takes place in September. The Drumheller Festival of Lights ushers in the festive season with wagon rides, cookie decoration, and the Christmas Tree switch-on.


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