The Drumheller area is fast becoming our favorite spot for early season camping trips. In fact three out of the last four years we have used Drumheller for our kick-off camping trip of the year. Badlands camping is a lot different from the mountains. You don't have to worry about those June snowstorms that can come out of nowhere, the nights are much warmer, and there's also no risk of bears raiding your camp site! The following are a collection of pictures from the four trips we've made to the Drumheller area. Hopefully there'll be many more to come!
The Royal Tyrrell Museum is a must-see for anybody who has a passion for dinosaurs. It is located about 6km west of Drumheller and approximately 135km northeast of Calgary, along the North Dinosaur Trail (Highway 838). The museum is named in honor of Joseph Tyrrell who was a geologist that discovered the first dinosaur in the Red Deer River Valley back in 1884. The museum officially opened in September of 1985 and was given "Royal" status five years later by Queen Elizabeth II.
|North Dinosaur Trail|
|The Royal Tyrrell Museum|
|Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton|
|Chris with a Triceratops skeleton|
|Chris and I in the badlands outside the museum|
The World's Largest Dinosaur can also be found in Drumheller! It is a model replica of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and stands 25m tall and 46m long, which is about 4.5 times the size of an actual Tyrannosaurus Rex. It took approximately one year to build and cost $1,065,000.
|World's Tallest Dinosaur|
|Christine sitting on the foot|
|Another dinosaur model nearby|
Another popular attraction in the Drumheller area are the hoodoos. There are hoodoos scattered throughout the Red Deer River Valley, but there's also a protected site that you can visit, which is 16km southeast of Drumheller along Hoodoo Trail (Highway 10). Hoodoos can stand between five and seven metres in height and take millions of years to form. Each hoodoo is a sandstone pillar resting on a thick base of shale and capped with a large stone. The name "hoodoo" originated from the word "voodoo" and was given to these geological formations by Europeans. In some First Nation traditions, however, hoodoos are believed to be petrified giants that come alive at night to hurl rocks at intruders.
|Protected hoodoo site|
|Chris with the hoodoos|
|Inside a rock formation|
When we started camping in the badlands we settled on Bleriot Ferry Provincial Recreation Area. It is right on the banks of the Red Deer River and is about 23km northwest of Drumheller along North Dinosaur Trail. This area got it's name from the actual Bleriot Ferry that is still in use today and can be found very close to the campground. The ferry was first built in 1913 and was known as the Munson Ferry until 1966, when the name was changed in honor of early homesteader André Bleriot. The ferry that is in operation today was built in 1997. It is one of seven remaining active ferries within Alberta. We've liked the campground so much we have stayed there three times so far.
|Bleriot Ferry crossing the Red Deer River|
|Red Deer River|
|Kola and Rome on their first camping trip together in 2010|
|Bleriot Ferry Provincial Recreation Area|
|The badlands right across from the campground|
|Rome and Kola exploring the badlands|
|Ryan and I in the badlands near the campground|
A great place to explore the badlands is in Horse Thief Canyon. The canyon is approximately 16km northwest of Drumheller along North Dinosaur Trail. Legend has it that horses would disappear into the canyon only later to reappear wearing a different brand. Hence the name, "Horse Thief Canyon".
|Horse Thief Canyon|
|Christine, Rome, and I before entering the canyon|
|Red rocks inside the canyon|
|At the bottom|
|The dogs are wiped after a big day out|
|I had a bit of an incident with the ground and a kite board!|
The Star Mine Suspension Bridge is a 117m long pedestrian bridge that spans the Red Deer River. Originally built in 1931 it allowed the coal miners, who were working on the opposite side of the river at the Star Mine, easier access to work. It was in operation until 1957 when the coal mine shut down and was destroyed a year later by a hillside collapse. The Alberta government rebuilt the bridge in 1958 and has been used by the public ever since. There are still some remains of the Star Mine on the opposite side of the river and the easiest way to access them is via the bridge. The bridge is located in Rosedale, which is 8km southeast of Drumheller along Hoodoo Trail (Highway 10).
|The Star Mine Suspension Bridge|
|Some of the Star Mine remains|
|The bridge as viewed from the mining remains|
|Three different sections of the mine can be seen here|
|Cacti and the bridge|
|Best buddies circa 2012|
|Cottonwood Tree at Bleriot Ferry Provincial Recreation Area in 2013|
|Sunset over the badlands|
|The badlands at sunset|
|Badlands in the vicinity of our campground|
|An old piece of farm machinery I found. It was completely grown over. I think it was an old plow.|
|Ryan decided to take it for a test drive!|
|This Least Chipmunk was scrounging for scraps in our camp site|
Recently I did a story for the Calgary Guardian that featured the Drumheller area, titled Breaking Bad(lands). In addition you can read about Canada's first and largest dinosaur nesting site by visiting my post called Devil's Coulee.