Otherworldly landscapes, dinosaur fossils and historic mining towns make this valley a haven for paleontologists, geologists and filmmakers.
The town of Drumheller and its surrounding valley offers plenty of adventure; it’s where you can hike through towering sandstone “hoodoo” rocks, learn about the lives of the coal miners who originally settled here and stand within the jaws of the world’s largest dinosaur.
The Drumheller Valley has attracted paleontologists since the first dinosaur skull was unearthed here in the 1880s. Since then, the town, just 90-minutes’ drive from Calgary, has amassed an incredible collection of fossils, earning it the title “Dinosaur Capital of the World.” Visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum to examine an expansive collection of fossils from the beginning of life on Earth to the Ice Age. Hands-on activities such as interactive displays, excavations and guided hikes make this a thrilling attraction for the whole family.
For a view with a difference, climb the 106 steps to the head of the World’s Tallest Dinosaur. Look out from its snarling mouth at the town and the cascading Red Deer River below.
Drumheller was originally a coal-mining town. The lives of the pioneers and miners who lived here are on display at several museums in and around the town. See a two-headed calf and an entire house bought from a 1919 catalogue at the Homestead Antique Museum. Get insight into the lives of miners’ children at the picturesque East Coulee School Museum in the mining ghost town of Coulee.
The valley is also a place of geological importance. Pull on your hiking boots and wander through canyons of otherworldly “hoodoos.” These sandstone pillars with large mushroom-like caps dot the Canadian Badlands, and have been filmed over and over by movie makers from around the world. Several Hollywood stars have worked in this eerie landscape, from Clint Eastwood in the 1992 film Unforgiven to Dustin Hoffman in Little Big Man (1970).
Each July, hundreds of Albertan actors and volunteers converge on the town to stage a three-hour Passion Play in an outdoor amphitheater before thousands of visitors from all over the world.