Last Updated on February 1, 2023
Looking for things to do in Drumheller? You’ve come to the right place! Drumheller is a great place for adventurers and explorers of all kinds. There are plenty of things to see and do in this beautiful part of Alberta. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best attractions and activities that Drumheller has to offer. So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure!
Drumheller is best known for its incredible landscape and badlands. The Badlands are a must-see when visiting Drumheller. Drumheller is a famously recognized location in the Canadian Badlands and is labeled as the “Dinosaur Capital of the World”.
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Table Of Contents
- Land Acknowledgement
- History Of Drumheller
- Where Is Drumheller?
- Getting To Drumheller
- Is It Worth Visiting Drumheller?
- How Many Days Do You Need In Drumheller?
- Best Time To Visit Drumheller
- Why Is Drumheller Called The Badlands?
- Getting Around Drumheller
- Weather In Drumheller
- Where To Stay
- The Best Things To Do In Drumheller
- The Royal Tyrrell Museum
- The Hoodoos
- Horsethief Canyon
- The Rosedale Suspension Bridge
- The World’s Largest Dinosaur
- Dinosaur Walk
- Rotary Spray Park
- Fossil World Dinosaur Discovery Centre
- Horseshoe Canyon
- Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site
- Drumheller’s Little Church
- Orkney Viewpoint
- Midland Provincial Park
- Welcome To Drumheller Sign
- Want To Explore More Dinosaurs?
The land on which Drumheller is located is the traditional territory of the Blackfoot, Stoney, and Tsuut’ina Nations.
History Of Drumheller
Drumheller was formerly a tropical paradise with flora and wildlife, and dinosaurs populated the region.
The townsite was purchased by Col. Samuel Drumheller in 1910 after ranchers were first established there (1897). He began coal mining in 1911 near the townsite, and the first post office was named after him. The railway was completed in 1912, and Drumheller became a village (1913), and a town (1916). Drumheller became a city in 1930. The industry boomed until after World War II when coal began to be replaced by other energy sources. In 1998, Drumheller joined with the Municipal District of Badlands and turned back into a town.
Today, Drumheller is a major site for dinosaur tourism and agriculture.
Where Is Drumheller?
Drumheller is located in the Red Deer River valley in Alberta, Canada. It is about 110 kilometers (68 miles) northeast of Calgary and about 32 kilometers (20 miles) from the border with Saskatchewan.
Getting To Drumheller
There are a few different ways to get to Drumheller. The most popular way is by car.
Drumheller is about a one-hour drive from Calgary, and there are plenty of things to see and do along the way, like this awesome alpaca farm.
If you’re coming from Edmonton, it’s about a four-hour drive. You can also take the bus from Calgary or Edmonton.
The closest airport to Drumheller is Calgary International Airport (YYC). We suggest renting a vehicle as we have heard that finding a taxi that will take you there can be difficult.
Is It Worth Visiting Drumheller?
Yes! Drumheller is a great place to visit for anyone who loves the outdoors, adventure, dinosaurs, and history.
The Canadian Rockies are Alberta’s top destination for most foreign visitors, who flock to Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. Although the first two areas are probably the most explored in Alberta, don’t forget about Drumheller Badlands.
There are plenty of things to see and do, and the landscape is unlike anything else you’ll see in Alberta (or Canada, for that matter). Drumheller is definitely worth a visit!
How Many Days Do You Need In Drumheller?
At a minimum, you need two days. To be able to explore deeper, we recommend four full days so that you do not feel rushed.
Best Time To Visit Drumheller
Drumheller is a place you can visit all year, but it’s especially beautiful during the summer months when the days are the longest. The best time to visit Drumheller is between June and September. However, it’s essential to book your accommodation and tours early on to prevent being disappointed. Drumheller can get extremely busy during peak season.
Why Is Drumheller Called The Badlands?
Early French explorers called the badlands “bad lands to cross” because of their steep-sloped mesas and deep, winding gullies. Camping and exploring this otherworldly landscape is an opportunity you don’t want to miss.
Getting Around Drumheller
Drumheller is a tiny community with no public transportation. People travel either by car, bike, or on foot.
Weather In Drumheller
During the summer months, Drumheller has an average temperature of 26°C. Although it may be summer, don’t let the warm days deceive you—temperatures can drop at night. Be sure to pack clothing that you can layer.
Winters in Drumheller are typically snowy and chilly, with a typical temperature of -18°C.
Where To Stay
Moderate Accommodation Options
Canalta Jurassic – Staying at the Canalta Jurassic Hotel Drumheller places you in the center of Drumheller, within a 15-minute drive of the Royal Tyrrell Museum. A complimentary continental breakfast is served daily.
Ramada by Wyndham – If you are traveling with family, the indoor pool and waterslide will be a huge hit with the kids. They also offer free breakfast, wifi, and parking.
Budget Accommodation Options
Travelodge by Wyndham is a great budget option when you will be out having endless adventures and only want a place to comfortably sleep at night. The World’s Largest Dinosaur is a 5-minute drive from this Drumheller hotel, which offers stunning views of the surrounding unique Drumheller landscape. Every accommodation comes with free Wi-Fi.
SureStay Plus Hotel by Best Western – This hotel is just a ten-minute drive from the Royal Tyrrel Museum. It features an indoor pool and waterslide, free wifi, and free parking.
Camping is the perfect way to explore Drumheller on a budget. We stayed at the Horseshoe Canyon campground. While it is mainly an RV campground, there are half a dozen tenting areas too. Another bonus is that it is right beside Horseshoe Canyon, one of the best areas to go hiking in Drumheller!
Fun Fact: At present, 25 distinct dinosaur species have been discovered in the Drumheller region. The first Albertosaurus was discovered by J. B. Tyrrell only a few kilometers away from the town of Drumheller on August 12, 1884.
The Best Things To Do In Drumheller
Now that we’ve given you a little bit of background information on Drumheller, let’s get into the good stuff!
Here are some of the best things to do in Drumheller:
The Royal Tyrrell Museum
The Royal Tyrrell Museum is a world-renowned museum that houses Canada’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils. The museum is located in the heart of the Badlands and is definitely worth a visit.
The museum is the largest provincial attraction, with 375,000 visitors each year. The Royal Tyrrell Museum opened on September 25, 1985, in the northwest quadrant of Drumheller, located within Midland Provincial Park.
This world-renowned museum is dedicated to the study and display of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. The museum houses over 130,000 fossils, including some of the most complete and best-preserved dinosaurs in the world.
The Royal Tyrrell Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in dinosaurs or paleontology.
The Hoodoos are a must-see when visiting Drumheller. The Hoodoos are strange and wonderful cone-shaped rock formations that were created by erosion over time.
The trail is an easy loop that takes a few minutes to wander around the Hoodoos platform. You can also continue on for 30 minutes (round-trip) to climb up the hill for a view. This platform is a great wander for families or anyone looking for a short, easy walk with beautiful views. Climbing the hill is a great option for those who want to spend more than just a couple of minutes at the attraction.
You’ll be surprised at how small the area is, but it is still worth a stop. Expect to pay a $2 parking fee.
Horsethief Canyon, on the east bank of the Red Deer River 16 kilometers (10 miles) west of Drumheller, is a must-see when touring the Canadian badlands. Stand on the very edge for breathtaking views of the valley below.
The breathtaking views start the moment you park. It’s only a short walk from the parking lot to the edge of the high cliff, where you’ll get an unparalleled view of the landscape for miles. There is no fence, so please be cautious and keep children by your side.
The history of Horsethief Canyon begins in the ancient western days when farms and ranches dominated the region. Thousands of horses roamed free throughout the valley during that period, belonging to individual ranchers. According to legend, any horse that ventures into the canyon returns bearing a different ranch brand, leading to its moniker of Horsethief Canyon.
Horsethief Canyon’s parking lot is RV accessible, and information plaques are placed near the parking area.
In addition to the alcove views, there is a walking trail that leads down into the canyon so visitors can explore this fascinating landscape up close.
If you’ve got the legs for it, descend down the difficult path and discover the canyon named after the outlaws who hid their stolen cattle here more than a century ago.
The Rosedale Suspension Bridge
The Rosedale Suspension Bridge is a must-see for any thrill seekers visiting Drumheller. The bridge spans across a canyon and offers breathtaking views of the Badlands. The suspension bridge was closed during our last visit in the summer of 2022.
The World’s Largest Dinosaur
The World’s Largest Dinosaur is a must-see for any dinosaur lovers visiting Drumheller, and one of the most popular roadside attractions in Alberta. The statue is located in the town of Drumheller and stands 86 feet tall! The tallest dinosaur in the world, Tyra, overlooks the Drumheller Valley and provides guests with an unparalleled view of the amazing badlands scenery. You can climb 106 stairs to the top of the dinosaur and experience the Drumheller Valley from Tyra’s gaping jaw.
Discover over 20 dinosaurs as you explore the Drumheller area. Each wayfinding sign will introduce you to a new dinosaur that was found in the Drumheller area. We even noticed a big painted Drumheller postcard in an alley, for another perfect photo op!
You can find the location of all the Dino Walk dinosaurs here.
Rotary Spray Park
If you’re visiting during a hot summer day, you’re also right by Rotary Spray Park; the perfect spot for a picnic or to beat the heat in the water. They have a huge sprinkler fountain you can splash around in, as well as a spray park; both over the watchful eye of massive dinosaurs.
Fossil World Dinosaur Discovery Centre
The whole family will have a roarsome time playing among the lifelike dinosaurs at the Fossil World Discovery Centre. Dig up a dinosaur skeleton and learn how to identify various minerals while viewing over 200 real fossils in this hands-on museum. Make sure to visit Drumheller’s biggest fossil and souvenir shop before you leave!
Horseshoe Canyon in the Canadian Badlands is an astonishing sight. Stand on the edge of this vast u-shaped canyon and take in the majesty and wonder of the badlands. The maroon-striped canyon walls reveal the layers of time, all the way down to when dinosaurs roamed a lush sub-tropical habitat some 70 million years ago during the cretaceous period.
Horseshoe Canyon is a much easier hike than Horsethief Canyon, with clear and maintained trails. There are also platforms at the top with fantastic views for excellent photographs.
The canyon is about 5 kilometers long on each side. Go down into the canyon and do a beautiful day-hike in the canyon.
This was one of our favorite hikes in Drumheller. We would recommend this as the #1 hike to do in the area.
Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site
The Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site is the last of 139 mines in Drumheller Valley. It was once one of the largest and most productive coal mines in Alberta. The Atlas site covers both underground and surface workings from the Atlas No. 3 and 4 coal mines, as well as residential structures. The site was in use from 1936-1984 and reopened as a historic site in 1987. This mine is an almost perfect example of the kind commonly found in Western Canada during the 20th century.
There’s an option to wander the grounds with a basic admission or add on one of the optional excursions for a deeper look into the mine. Add-on options include a train ride, a mine portal hike, a junkyard archaeology tour, or a processing plant tour.
Drumheller’s Little Church
Drumheller’s Little Church is a charming little church that was first erected by local contractor Trygve Seland, in cooperation with the Ministerial Association in 1958.
Residents say that the small church is designed with seating for 10,000 people – 6 at a time. It seems very minuscule compared to the big open landscape that surrounds it.
If you’re looking for a unique photo spot and are willing to be respectful of this little place of worship, it is a neat stop!
The Orkney Viewpoint is a major tourist attraction, offering spectacular views of the Red Deer River Valley. If you’re on the hunt for an aesthetically pleasing spot in the Canadian Badlands, this is the place for you. The scenery in The Canyon is ideal for capturing stunning photographs.
Midland Provincial Park
The most well-known thing about Midland Provincial Park is its fossil history. The Royal Tyrrell Museum is located in Midland Provincial Park.
This is a great spot to go if you’re looking for a small park that you will pretty much have to yourself for a wander.
Welcome To Drumheller Sign
Do not miss the fun photo op at the Welcome to Drumheller sign! The sign is located on Highway 56, just outside of town.
This is the perfect place to stop and take a picture to capture your memories of Drumheller.
Want To Explore More Dinosaurs?
Drumheller is not the only sight worth seeing in the area. Dinosaur Provincial Park, located just 170 km east, is also a stunning destination. It’s the terrain from which many of the specimens in the Royal Tyrrell Museum have been excavated. You can take specialized tours, and even see some locations where a dinosaur was actually discovered!
It is usually assumed that Dinosaur Provincial Park and Drumheller are one, but they are not! In fact, they are a couple of hours apart. However, they are both incredible destinations for discovering all there is to know about dinosaurs.
Those are just a few of the things to see and do in Drumheller. There is so much to explore in this beautiful part of Alberta. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and head to Drumheller for an adventure of a lifetime!
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