Located 90 minutes Northeast of Calgary in the Canadian Badlands, Drumheller Alberta is largely regarded as the Dinosaur Capital of the World.
Drumheller is chock-full of Dinosaur-related activities and is home to the world’s largest dinosaur, the dinosaur trail, the Royal Tyrrell Museum of dinosaurs, and so much more.
Yet, while there are so many dinosaur-related activities and educational experiences to enjoy, Drumheller is also home to some unreal lunar-esque landscapes, a wealth of fascinating recent history, and great outdoorsy experiences.
As a once-Alberta local (I lived there for a year), I’ve been to Drumheller a few times. I can say from experience that this part of the province never gets old.
If you’re planning a trip to the Canadian Badlands, then a trip to Drumheller should absolutely be on your list.
Here are the 10 best things to do in Drumheller, Alberta!
The 10 Best Things To Do in Drumheller, Alberta
#1 – Visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum
One of the best educational attractions on this list, paying a visit to the Royal Tyrrell Museum is an absolute must on your trip. Located just outside the town of Drumheller, the museum is home to excellent exhibits showcasing dinosaurs, fossils, and information from different prehistoric periods.
If you’re looking to see some real dinosaur bones, including a fully reconstructed Tyrannosaurus Rex, then this is the place to go.
🔥 Hot Tip: The Royal Tyrrell Museum can get super crowded during peak hours in the summer, so if you’re headed this way and want to avoid the rush, go right when it opens or an hour and a half before closing.
#2 – Climb the World’s Largest Dinosaur
At 151-feet long, 86-feet tall, and weighing over 65 tonnes, you’ll have no trouble finding the World’s Largest Dinosaur in the town of Drumheller.
This T-Rex statue is 4.5 times larger than a real T-Rex would have been and it cost over 1 million CAD to build. I’ll admit, I haven’t been up there since I was a kid, but if you want the full Drumheller experience, then you have to climb the 106 stairs to the top. Plus, this climb will give you awesome views of downtown Drumheller and the badlands.
Also, the Dinosaur is right beside Centennial Park, so if you travel to Drumheller in the summertime with tots in tow, then a stop at the splash pad will help quell that intense summer heat.
🔥 Tour alert! This Drumheller tour from Calgary is a great way to see the sites with the expertise of a guide. The tour includes round-trip transportation from downtown Calgary and access to some of the top Drumheller attractions.
#3 – Wander Midland Provincial Park
Located just 6km west of Drumheller, Alberta and home to the Royal Tyrrell Museum rests Midland Provincial Park.
With plenty of biking and hiking trails in the Red River Valley, this is a great place to stretch your legs and get active. In particular, one of the most popular trails in Midland Provincial Park is the Badlands Interpretive Trail; a 1.4km loop beginning at the museum that takes you through absolutely gorgeous landscapes.
Read More: What to Expect at Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park in Alberta
#4 – Explore Downtown Drumheller
A city full of ice cream parlors, quaint streets, statues of dinosaurs, murals, and cute little shops, the town of Drumheller is worth a wander.
My advice is to stop in at one of the local cafes for a bite to eat before hitting up some of the more time-consuming attractions.
Read More: 15 Best Day Trips from Calgary, Alberta
#5 – Visit the Rosedale Swinging Suspension Bridge
A 117-meter-long pedestrian suspension bridge that stretches across the Red Deer River, the Rosedale Swinging Suspension Bridge is situated just outside of Drumheller in Rosedale.
Constructed in 1931 and once used by coal miners, the bridge today is a popular spot for fishing and as a starting point for hikes around the valley.
#6 – See the Hoodoos
The hoodoos are one of my favorite attractions in Drumheller and are iconic of the Alberta badlands.
20-foot tall sandstone rocks, the hoodoos at Drumheller (near East Coulee) were formed over millions of years by wind and water erosion. Together with the surrounding scenery, the hoodoos create a lunar-like ethereal landscape that must be seen to be properly appreciated.
While you can’t climb through the hoodoos themselves, as they are fenced off in preservation efforts, you can wander through the surrounding area.
In Blackfoot and Cree mythology, the hoodoos are actually petrified giants that come alive at night to throw rocks at intruders and protect the area.
Read More: What to Expect at the Great Sandhills of Saskatchewan
#7 – Explore the Atlas Coal Mine
A National Historic Site that operated from 1936 through 1979, the Atlas Coal Mine near East Coulee is one of the best Drumheller, Alberta attractions to learn about the more recent history of the Canadian badlands.
At the Atlas Coal Mine, you’ll be able to learn the coal mining history of the area and even go inside the tipple and conveyor tunnel.
Whenever I think of the Atlas Coal Mine, I think of an old photo taken there of my younger brother and me sticking our heads through one of those head-in-the-hole photo cutouts that made us look like old coal miners. I find it hilarious to look at to this day, and I’m not about to post it here, so I digress.
#8 – Drive the Dinosaur Trail
A 48-kilometer trail beginning on the outskirts of Drumheller, Alberta the Dinosaur Trail (Highway 838) is a great way to see the unreal, sometimes-desolate, natural landscape that makes up the Canadian badlands.
The Dinosaur Trail will take you across the lower Red Deer River and through the river valley with scenic stops along the trail such as Horsethief Canyon, the Bleriot Ferry Crossing (it’s free and will probably be the shortest ferry you ever take), Orkney Lookout, and the Last Chance Saloon.
Seriously, you’ll be stopping for photo ops every few minutes.
Read More: The 16 Most Unique Things to do in Medicine Hat, Alberta
#9 – Hike Horsethief Canyon
Located on the Dinosaur Trail along the Red Deer River, Horsethief Canyon is a must on your trip to the Canadian Badlands.
A deep canyon formed by millions of years of erosion, Horsethief Canyon is a stunning natural site that is great for hiking. Speaking of, the Horsethief Canyon Trail is a moderate 0.5-mile hike that will take you into the canyon and give you amazing views. That said, you could easily keep going into the canyon and explore more of the site at your own pace.
I admit that because I drove the Dinosaur Trail in mid-July and the place was teeming with Rattlesnakes, I skipped this particular activity on my most recent visit to Drumheller, Alberta. However, that’s not to say I didn’t hang out at the viewpoint for a while and take in the beautiful landscape of the canyon.
As for the name, Horsethief Canyon got its moniker in the 19th century when it was discovered that outlaw settlers were herding their stolen horses through the canyon.
#10 – Visit the Ghost Town of Wayne
Located just outside of Drumheller, Alberta in the Red Deer River Valley, Wayne was once a coal-mining town with more than 3000 inhabitants. Since its heyday, Wayne’s population has dwindled to just ~50 people but is still one of the coolest attractions in the Drumheller area.
Despite its small population, the town is still home to a ton of coal-mining-era sites, really interesting abandoned buildings, and the still-in-operation Rosedeer Hotel.
At the hotel, you’ll find the Last Chance Saloon — a quirky establishment that features food, alcohol, and old black and white photographs of eras past. The hotel and saloon are great places to learn about local history, meet some interesting people, and take photos.
The Last Chance Saloon is also a popular live music spot. They regularly host local artists and it is even the hub of the annual WayneStock Festival.
Read More: The Ultimate Dinosaur Provincial Park Travel Guide
Drumheller, Alberta Packing Essentials
Sun Gear: Drumheller in the summer is notoriously hot and dry, so packing a floppy sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and light clothing is essential.
Shoes: You’re going to want excellent walking shoes or hiking boots for your time in the Alberta Badlands.
Water Bottle: A large, refillable water bottle is going to be a saving grace if you plan on visiting Drumheller in the summertime.
What is there to do in Drumheller?
The best things to do in Drumheller include visiting the Royal Tyrrell Museum, climbing the world’s tallest dinosaur, hiking Horsethief Canyon, driving the dinosaur trail, and visiting the hoodoos.
How much time do you need in Drumheller?
To fully experience everything Drumheller has to offer, you’ll need at least 2-3 days.
How long does it take to go through the Royal Tyrrell Museum?
It takes 2-3 hours to fully see the Royal Tyrrell Museum.
How long does it take to get from Calgary to Drumheller?
It takes approximately 90 minutes to get from Calgary to Drumheller, Alberta by car.
That’s it for my top 10 things to do in Drumheller, Alberta!
Drumheller is one of my favorite locations in the Canadian Badlands and is a must if you’re a fan of dinosaurs.
Have fun in Drumheller!
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