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The Interpretive Trail Behind The Royal Tyrrell Museum Is Easy To Follow Even In Winter

A Winter Hike in the Drumheller Badlands

A winter hike in the Drumheller Badlands of Alberta, offered a few surprises on a bluebird January weekend. I had been ready to give up on a winter hike in the Canadian Badlands until we drove up to the world-famous Royal Tyrrell Museum. If you wander past the entrance you land on the Badlands Interpretive Trail. Both the museum and the trail are located in Midland Provincial Park.

The Drumheller Badlands area is also home to Horsethief Canyon, located north of Drumheller off of the Dinosaur Trail. Horseshoe Canyon is another scenic option for a winter walk. Don’t forget the icers on any of these walks.

A Winter Hike in the Canadian Badlands of AlbertaStart the hike by the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller

Although the website for the museum suggests that the trail is only open in spring, summer and fall, I discovered otherwise. The trail had a light covering of snow and in places it was icy but completely navigable even in winter boots. If we’d thought to put our icers on the walking would have been a breeze.

Starting off on the Badlands Interpretive Trail
Starting off on the Badlands Interpretive Trail
A Winter Hike in the Canadian Badlands of Alberta
Lots of benches if you just want to sit and take in the beauty of the Canadian badlands
A Winter Hike in the Canadian Badlands of Alberta
Aim to hike on a blue sky day

The Badlands Interpretive Trail in the Drumheller Badlands

While the actual Badlands Interpretive Trail is only a one kilometre loop there is the option to continue on trails that make up the Drumheller Badlands River Parks System (see the map below).

John and I were in explore mode so we took off on what looked like a bike trail (as it was paved) and followed it until it met the highway (called the Dinosaur Trail in this part of the world).

It was an easy, scenic walk through badlands scenery. We spotted curious deer checking us out from above on a couple of occasions. Once you reach the highway you have the option of retracing your steps or crossing the highway and following the trail for many kilometres – in both an easterly and westerly direction, often along the scenic Red Deer River.

In theory you could spend a solid day hiking from the Royal Tyrrell Museum, though by no means would it be a wilderness walk.

You can walk for kilometres if you follow the Drumheller Badlands River Park System
You can walk for kilometres if you follow the Drumheller Badlands River Park System
A Winter Hike in the Canadian Badlands of Alberta
I can’t believe we are the only people on the trails considering the warmth and beauty of the day
Badland erosional remnants have a story to tell
Badland erosional remnants have a story to tell
It's a one km loop on the Interpretive Trail
It’s a one km loop on the Interpretive Trail in the Canadian Badlands

A Winter Hike in the Canadian Badlands of AlbertaThis place would be equally beautiful in spring when everything has greened up

You'll find a few hoodoos along the trail
You’ll find a few hoodoos along the trail
A Winter Hike in the Canadian Badlands of Alberta
Looks like toes to me
The interpretive trail is easy to follow
The interpretive trail is easy to follow
Dinosaurs line the entrance to the museum
Dinosaurs line the entrance to the museum

The easy, family-friendly hike definitely exceeded my expectations. It packs a lot in a kilometre and I can only imagine how beautiful it would be in spring when the landscape turns green.

It would appear that 99% of visitors head straight to the museum as we only saw a few other people. Next time you’re in Drumheller, take at least a half hour to hike the Badlands Interpretative Trail. You’ll be happy you did.

Where is Drumheller?

Note: While Drumheller is the home of the world’s largest dinosaur, it’s actually located 165 kilometres northwest of Dinosaur Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. People get this confused all the time because the area around Drumheller is home to plenty of badlands scenery and a museum known for its collection of dinosaur bones and fossils.

From Calgary it’s approximately 135 kilometres northeast of the city – and about a 90 minute drive.

A Winter Hike in the Canadian Badlands of Alberta
You can’t miss the world’s biggest dinosaur in Drumheller

Further reading on things to do in Alberta

Click on the photo below to bookmark to Pinterest.

A winter hike in the Canadian Badlands

 

 

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

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