Dinosaur Provincial Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Red Deer River valley, about 2 hours drive from Calgary. It is noted for its striking badland topography, and as a site of many dinosaur fossils. I had previously visited Drumheller, with it's amazing museum but on this trip I was more interested in the badlands than dinosaurs. The general consensus seems to be if you want a lot of dinosaur information, go to Drumheller. It is said that you are much more likely to find dinosaur fossils in situ here.
It was very easy to find the road to turn. Right at the highway intersection, I found this an abandoned service station and store with it's sad and decaying dino.
Further along the road, I started to see the first signs of the badlands. In prehistoric times, much of the prairies were an inland sea that dried up when the Rockies rose. The soils left are layered between clay, slate, and other soft stone.
My first sight of the badlands was pretty impressive. As a BC girl, I'm used to seeing land forms above ground level. It is always fascinating for me to see these deep canyons.
The rivers and rain run-off has eroded into canyons. Many of these run-off areas are “coulees”, which means very seasonal flood areas.
It was pretty awesome just walking along the top.... but truly awesome walking around within.
Checking the various hiking routes and paths, I decided to take the 1.5 hour hike. As usual, I took twice that long. It's amazing how much time I can spend taking photos and wandering around. The path went deep into the canyon and back up through hoodoos and coulees.
Pretty awesome, eh?
Dinosaur Provincial Park contains some of the most important fossil discoveries ever made from the "Age of Reptiles", with discoveries of fossils from 35 different species of dinosaur, dating back 75 million years. If you keep your eyes peeled, you might make the next exciting discovery but even if you don't spot one, you will be surrounded by spectacular landscapes. Camping is available but I was just passing through on this trip. Have you camped at Dinosaur Provincial Park? Give us a review in the comments.
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