Dinosaur Provincial Park is hands down one of the best camping spots at which I’ve spent time. Deep in Alberta’s badlands, this Canadian provincial park is set in a stunning location that has so much to offer the visitor. It should come as no surprise when you explore the park that this place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
If you make a trip out to Alberta, keep in mind that Dinosaur Provincial Park is nowhere near the town of Drumheller – for some reason, people keep thinking they are in the same place. Drumheller is about 200 kilometers from the park, at least a 2.5-hour drive away! As you are making plans to check out Dinosaur Provincial Park (and you should be doing so), ensure you schedule least two or three full days there.
If you are coming from Drumheller, you’ll likely have visited the Royal Tyrrell Museum. If so, you’ll be interested to know that Dinosaur Provincial Park operates a Royal Tyrrell Museum field station in order to store and catalog bones from ongoing excavations. Therefore, Dinosaur Provincial Park is not only beautiful but it is hugely important for paleontology. Some of the most important fossils have been discovered here. There have been over 44 species discovered, dating back 77 million years!
Here are some of the things you can expect to see at Dinosaur Provincial Park:
This provincial park has some great facilities. You can camp in a tent, a camper van, or an RV. For those who don’t like to rough it too much, there are a couple glamping-style structures you could rent. And running water is even available at the canteen – both toilets and a shower room. Dinosaur Provincial Park definitely can keep most types of campers happy!
Much of this provincial park is actually a natural preserve, meaning that there are areas which have restricted access. In other words, some parts of the park you can only visit via a guided tour. But trust me – this is one tour you will want to take. Seriously – this is where you can actually see dinosaur fossils still in the ground! And there are even some parts of the trail where you’re not only walking on stone but bone fragments. And you can see some dino poop! It really is quite an experience, haha.
John Ware’s Cabin
This guy was a cowboy rancher in the mid to late 19th century – not unusual for the time. But what distinguishes John Ware from many other famous historic cowboys was that he was black. Ware was born into slavery in South Carolina (USA) and gained his freedom after the American Civil War. Over time, he honed his cowboy and ranching skills throughout the West and eventually ended up in Alberta. Ware became very well-known and respected for his skills. When he died in 1905, John Ware’s funeral was heavily attended by the ranching community. The cabin is pretty neat to visit but I will warn you, the audio clip to which one can listen is quite patronizing…
The landscape at the Dinosaur Provincial Park is a joy to explore. There are a number of trails available to you, all offering something different. There are trails through the unique badlands, a trail through prairie lands, trails that take you up hills for great views, and trails that take you down by the river. In the early evenings, you may even see deer roaming the grounds or hear coyotes in the distance!
Who doesn’t love a good sunset? And there are some beautiful ones here. Dinosaur Provincial Park even gives you options for your sunset de jour – you can either watch it in the wide prairie sky or over the expansive badlands landscape. Whichever you choose, climb a hill, plunk yourself down with a drink, and watch in awe as Mother Nature puts on a show.