As the land of dinosaurs, Drumheller and the Canadian Badlands are quite possibly one of the most fascinating geographic jewels of Canada. Not only is visiting this region a bucket-list experience, it’s like truly stepping into another world.
Upon your arrival, you descend from the flat prairie highways into the deep canyon beds created during the last glacial ice age.
While the town of Drumheller itself is small, there are plenty of things to see, do and experience around the area for several days to a week (if you have the time).
Whether you’re the type of traveler who wants to see as many things as possible in a short amount of time, or someone seeking fully immersive experiences, you’ve got options.
While my list is long, here are the best things to do in Drumheller, whether you’ve got a weekend or week to explore.
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1. World’s Largest Dinosaur
The world’s largest dinosaur is one of Drumheller’s most famous attractions- and it’s a giant tyrannosaurus rex in the middle of town.
Not only is it fun to look at and take pictures of, you can go inside and climb all the way up to its mouth. You’ll find it at the Visitor Information Centre and admission is cheap – very worth it in my opinion.
If you do go inside, take your time climbing the stairs and enjoy the murals and history lesson along the way. The view from inside the mouth (teeth and all) is pretty epic.
This attraction is great for kids, but honestly even the big kids (adults) will love it!
Inside tip – did you know the giant T-Rex has a name? The world’s largest dinosaur is named Tyra the T-Rex!
2. Downtown Dino Walk
The giant t-rex isn’t the only dinosaur you should visit, there’s lots more sprinkled all over town.
Stroll around and look for over 20 dinosaurs located on street corners and benches for fun photo opportunities.
Plus, all the dinos featured around town were actually discovered in the Drumheller area.
3. Royal Tyrrell Museum
The Royal Tyrrell Museum is internationally renowned as one of the best paleontology museums in the world.
The exhibits are first class and the entire facility is packed with artifacts, history and complete dinosaur skeletons. The admission price is well worth it as the facility does a fantastic job at appealing to all types of audiences.
Plus, most other attractions in Drumheller are free to visit and explore, so the dinosaur museum is going to be the only big expense as far as things to do.
Since the Royal Tyrell is one of the most popular places to visit in Drumheller, it can get very busy during the popular summer months and on weekends throughout the year.
4. Midland Provincial Park
The Royal Tyrrell Museum is located within Midland Provincial Park, so be sure to add time to your schedule to explore the trails here.
There are observation viewpoints, paved paths and gravel trails that weave throughout the scenic rock formations and landscape, including hoodoos.
From early spring to autumn, you’ll find all kinds of wild flora in bloom. Search for bright purple crocuses in early April and wild sage and cacti through the summer months.
Deeper into the provincial park is also a disc golf course and interpretive trails that tell the history of the former Midland Coal Mine site.
Midland Provincial Park is free to visit. It’s a must-do when visiting the Drumheller area.
5. The Little Church
Just behind the Royal Tyrrell Museum is the tiny church that seats 10,000 people, 6 at a time.
One of the cutest attractions in Drumheller is this adorable little church that is still used today for worship and meditation.
When you stop in, you’ll discover stained glass windows and even miniature pews and a pulpit. This attraction is free to visit and is accessible just off of the North Dinosaur Trail (highway 838).
6. Bike the Dinosaur Trail
Bring you bikes to Drumheller for a great way to explore the valley. You can start from the parking lot at the world’s largest dinosaur and cruise along the North Dinosaur Trail.
Choose to simply ride and enjoy the scenery all the way up the winding roads to the Bleriot Ferry, or stop along the way at all the antique shops, fossil shops, picnic areas and Horsethief Canyon.
7. Horsethief Canyon
As one of the most scenic viewpoints in all of Drumheller (and Alberta for that matter), Horsethief Canyon is a top attraction (that’s free).
Even pulling up to the parking lot is exciting as you catch a glimpse of the vast landscape. But when you get out and walk toward the edge, your breath truly leaves your body!
This mini-Grand Canyon stuns you with its beauty. And the literal history behind the name is just as intriguing (you can find the story on the sign when you arrive).
You can also hike down into the canyon or just admire the view from above.
If you have your dogs with you, make sure they’re on leash because the gophers are plentiful here! Also plan ahead as there are no washrooms at this site.
8. Bleriot Ferry
A ferry in the middle of the prairies! The Bleriot Ferry uses cables and crosses the picturesque Red Deer River.
It’s a short ride and free to use, which is open in the summer months from May to October.
The river crossing is fun but the approach down into the valley is just as beautiful too. I recommend crossing from the Horsethief Canyon side for the best scenery. Cyclists and motorcycles can cross on the ferry as well!
9. Orkney Viewpoint
The Orkney Viewpoint is one of the best hidden gems in Alberta.
Especially since Kneehill County has recently done a great job in sprucing up the parking lot, adding washrooms and some beautiful benches.
This spot is perfect to visit at the end of a long day of adventures. Enjoy a peaceful moment watching the sunset as you’re perched above the Red Deer River.
Spectacular views, few people and great photo opportunities.
10. Horseshoe Canyon
If you’re visiting Drumheller from Calgary, you’ll pass by Horseshoe Canyon which is a great lookout spot, picnic area and one of the best places to go hiking.
The large observation decks reveal striking views of the painted canyon walls below. Stand here and take a moment to think about the fact that this entire area was once a lush tropical forest 70 million years ago.
Then, head down for some of the most unique hiking trails you will find in not only Drumheller, but all of Canada.
The various trails range from beginner to more challenging for any ability and sense of adventure. You can spend as little as 45 minutes or several hours exploring the mysterious landscape.
There are also washrooms on site and a great tourist information board with a list of all the other attractions in the Badlands.
11. Valley Brewing
Stop by Valley Brewing under the water tower in Drumheller for a perfect pint on their pet friendly patio.
The beers are unique (pictured is a strawberry-rhubarb ale) and plentiful and the staff are always welcoming.
They also have options on tap for non-drinkers and kids. Plus, you can order takeout from local restaurants to be delivered to you on the patio (or just bring your own).
12. Eat at Bernie and the Boys Bistro
A classic burger joint known for their mammoth burger – a 24 ounce patty! This local gem was featured on You Gotta Eat Here; visit for the hefty portion sizes and fun atmosphere.
13. Newcastle Beach
Newcastle Beach is the perfect place to cool down and hang out on a hot summer day in Drumheller.
Bring the kids and the dogs to splash around in the Red Deer River, where there’s a small sandy beach and boat launch.
14. Ghost Walking Tour Through Downtown
Download this audio guide to your phone for a guided walking tour through downtown Drumheller.
It will take you passed 12 points of interest telling you about the town’s haunted past and ghostly residents, plus fun trivia along the way.
15. Hoodoos Trail
One of the most famous places to visit in Drumheller is the Hoodoos Trail. This is the most accessible spot in the Alberta Badlands to see the famous mushroom-capped rocks known as a hoodoo.
This spot is located a few minutes south of Drumheller and has a large parking lot right off the highway (there’s usually a food truck here in the summer).
The main area has stairs to explore to get closer to the bigger and more delicate hoodoos. But you can also explore further into the area and for light hiking.
Remember that this landscape is very delicate, so please be careful with your footing and don’t touch the hoodoos to help preserve them.
16. Star Mine Suspension Bridge at Rosedale
This old school pedestrian bridge provides a new perspective of the badlands landscape as you cross over the Red Deer River on foot.
While it’s fun to cross and feel the sway beneath your feet, the history of the bridge is equally interesting.
Construction on this bridge originally started in 1931, twenty years after coal miners had to use row boats to cross the river.
When you cross the bridge and hike up the rocks, take a moment to think about the mine remains that are buried beneath your feet.
The Rosedale suspension bridge is also a great spot for a picnic, as there are big beautiful trees that provide lots of shade, several picnic tables and washrooms.
Please note that in 2021, the suspension bridge is currently closed for structural repairs.
17. East Coulee School Museum
Another hidden gem just outside of Drumheller is the East Coulee School Museum, a restored schoolhouse that shows visitors exactly what school (and life in general) was like in the boomtown mining days.
It’s only a few minutes from the Hoodoos Trail, and also has a great café and vintage playground equipment.
18. Last Chance Saloon & Wayne Ghost Town
One of the best places to visit around Drumheller is the Last Chance Saloon in the hamlet of Wayne.
Travel 15 minutes down Highway 10X, where you’ll pass over 11 unique bridges. This scenic drive makes it one of the best road trips for motorcycles and cyclists, too.
The saloon is attached to the Rosedeer, which is still a functioning boutique hotel with several vintage rooms.
You’ll find every inch of the Last Chance Saloon covered with history and memorabilia, including bullet holes on the wall. Legend has it that the barkeep used to fire warning shots at customers who didn’t want to pay their tab.
The saloon has also recently expanded their patio (pet friendly), and hosts live music in the summer.
19. Have Breakfast at WHIFS
My favorite breakfast spot in Drumheller is WHIFS Flapjack House, which is located onsite at the Badlands Motel.
It’s your classic breakfast diner food, but better. And the prices are the best in town – you can still get bacon and eggs for under 10 dollars.
As a bonus, the massive windows provide endless views of the striking badlands scenery.
20. Dorothy Ghost Town
Scenic drives from Drumheller are second to none, especially when they take you to unconventionally beautiful places, like the hamlet of Dorothy.
Travel about 30 kilometers south to find some beautiful old buildings, churches and grain elevators.
21. Rowley Ghost Town
30 minutes north of Drumheller is the hamlet of Rowley: “the ghost town with undying spirit.”
While it’s not a true ghost town (there are about half a dozen residents), it sure feels like it.
On the single gravel main street, you’ll find several buildings from the past, many of them abandoned (including the spooky old blue house that looks like something out of a horror movie).
Despite some eerie vibes, it’s actually quite fun to stroll around, as the community has done an excellent job providing historical information about each building.
During the summer season, on the last Saturday of each month, the community holds a town pizza party!
22. Atlas Coal Mine
During the boom of the coal mining years in Drumheller, there were well over 130 coal mines in the area, including the Atlas Coal Mine which is now a national historic site.
It originally opened in 1936 and was operational for over 40 years. As you roll up from the highway it actually looks somewhat abandoned, but visitors are able to get an in depth tour of the tipple and old mine structures and equipment.
I recommend booking tours in advance and plan to spend a few hours here.
23. Michichi Boardwalk
If you’re spending a few days in the Drumheller area or looking for a unique spot to camp nearby, the Michichi Creek Boardwalk area is a true sanctuary.
Michichi is located 25 minutes northwest of Drumheller and is the place you want to be if you’re in search of pure tranquility and peace and quiet.
A one kilometre boardwalk surrounds a protected wetlands area with interpretive signage to help you identify the different flora and fauna that you’ll come across.
Where to Stay in Drumheller
we love staying here because it’s pet friendly and overlooks the river!
Make sure you get a room on the backside of the hotel for a view of the World’s Largest Dinosaur from your balcony.
The perfect bed and breakfast style accommodation for a romantic getaway.
(It’s even featured in this list of the 19 most romantic getaways in Alberta).
Close enough to walk downtown, but just far enough away for peace and quiet.
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