Nature Challenge
Dinosaur Provincial Park
 
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    Dinosaur Provincial Park As you approach the park a typical prairie landscape falls away and you quickly drop down into the largest area of badlands in Canada. Coulees, mesas, buttes, pinnacles and hoodoos are just some of the colorful landforms you'll be observing as you make your way through this stunning area. Of course, it's dinosaurs which are the big attraction and over 150 complete skeletons have been unearthed in the area. Some of these specimens can be seen at the visitors centre and many more are located at the Royal Tyrrell Museum outside Drumheller (a two hour drive from the park). Ah, but dinosaurs aren't the only spooky residents of the park, which is also home to rattle snakes, black widow spiders and scorpions. The park is a United Nations World Heritage Site and is one of the worlds richest fossil areas.  
 
 

The park has a concession (high season), flush toilets, showers and a sani-dump. Be sure to visit the visitors centre which has many exhibits and complete dinosaur skeletons on display. Take advantage of the parks guided hikes (no sandals - closed footwear only)and interpretive programs which are numerous (reservations are strongly recommended in high season).

 
 
    For even more on the areas dinosaurs (40 mounted skeletons can be viewed) and the areas fossils visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, which is considered one of the leading palaeontolical museums in the world. The Royal Tyrrell Museum is just outside Drumheller east of Calgary and about 2 hours drive from the park.  
 

To get to the museum from the park head southeast passed Patricia and pick up the 544 west. Take the 36 north to the 570 where you head west. At Dorothy pick up the 10 to Drumheller. The museum is about a two hour drive from the park.

Camping

The park has 126 campsites 59 of which have power. Phone reservations are available and are recommended in high season. There is also a group camping area, contact the park for more information on eligibility, group size and reservations. Note: There is no over flow camping area in the park.

Cycling

The park has no cycling trails but you can take advantage of the parks roads. .

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Nature

Cacti and sage are found in much of the park while cottonwoods line the river banks and provide habitat for a variety of bird species. Coyotes, bob cats, White tailed and mule deer share the area with prong horn antelopes, which are to be found in the grassland areas. This is the most spectacular and largest area of badlands in Canada.

Note: Venomous animals & insects live in the park consult with park officials about appropriate behavior and precautions when visiting the park.

Hiking

Coulee Viewpoint Trail - 0.9km, easy, wheelchair accessible The trail can be picked up at the field station and leads up to the viewpoint over Little Sandhill Coulee, which of course gives the trail its name. Erosion is the artist which creates the pipes and tunnels you'll see along the way. There are areas with drop offs along the trail so if you bring children be sure to keep them close. Don't hike the trail in the rain since the footing is bad in wet conditions. Allow approximately 45 minutes to complete.

Prairie Trail - 0.3km, easy From the park entrance the trail takes you through some of the parks prairie habitat, which makes up one of the three distinctive areas of the park (badlands and cotton wood flats being the other two). Allow approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

Cottonwood Flats - 1.4km, easy, wheelchair accessible The trail head is found along the public loop road. The trail works its way through the third distinctive area of the park (badlands and prairie being the other two) near the Red Deer River. Birders will particularly enjoy this area which attracts a number of interesting species.

Badlands Trail - 1.3km, easy The trail starts near the campground on off the public loop road. As the name says the trail makes its way through the parks badlands where you'll get close up views of the wonderful erosion features of the area. Don't hike the trail in the rain since the footing is bad in wet conditions. approximately approximately approximately

Trail of the Fossil Hunters - 0.9km, easy The trail starts beside the #2 Fossil Display and leads to an excavation site in and old quarry which was worked by a group from the American Museum of Natural History. Allow approximately 40 minutes to complete.

Note: The area can reach 35 {DEGREES} C in the summer so sunscreen and a full water bottle are recommended. The parks clay is extremely slippery in the event of rain so plan your hike carefully and head back to the trail head if the sky's look threatening. Keep an eye out for snakes and scorpions and ensure they have an escape route.

Canoeing

Surprisingly You can launch a canoe in the park for a leisurely paddle.

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Interactive Map of Dinosaur Provincial Park


View Larger Map

 
Tour of the Badlands
 

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Resources

   

Getting There

From Calgary take the Trans Canada (Highway 1) east then take the 36 north just before Brooks. Head east on the 544 which will take you to the road into the park just outside Patricia. From Medicine Hat head west along the Trans Canada (Highway 1) then and take the 884 north. Follow the 544 west which will take you to the road into the park just outside Patricia. The nearest international airport is located in Calgary.

 
 

Dinosaur Provincial Park World Heritage Site
Dinosaur Provincial Park - From Wikipedia
Royal Tyrrell Museum
Alberta Provincial Parks

 

Surrounding Area

Drumheller
Brooks
Bassano

Park Weather - From the Weather Network

County of Newell
Province of Alberta
- From Out-There
Province of Alberta - Official Site

 

Related Links

 

Links of Interest

Canadian Geographic
Conde Nast Traveler

Islands Magazine
National Geographic
National Geographic Adventure
National Geographic Traveler
Outside Magazine
Sunset Magazine
Travel and Leisure Magazine
Wavelength Magazine

 

Out-There's Destinations

 

 


Dinosaur Provincial Park
P.O. Box 60
Patricia
Alberta, Canada
T0J 2K0

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