Sample Tours: Prairies

Canadian Badlands Trail

Sculpted by ancient rivers, the moon-like Badlands were once the domain of the dinosaur. Here, echoes of Alberta's rich history are whispered on prairie winds and mountain breezes  Tour the Canadian prairies in a motorhome, RV or camper from CanaDream RV Rentals and discover two-billion-year-old rocks plus the largest collection of dinosaur skeletons in the world

Duration:   4-5 Days
Total Distance: 216 km/135 mi

Tour Map - Canadian Badlands Trailview larger map
Hoodoos near Drumheller, Alberta - Photo Credit: Travel Alberta
Day 1 - Calgary to Drumheller - 216 km/135 miles
Please phone our station at 403-291-1000 to arrange the transfer from your Calgary hotel to our station.  If you are arriving today by air, please telephone us on arrival to arrange a free pickup from the airport. full details

Detailed vehicle instruction will be provided. Our friendly staff will be happy to provide you with directions to Drumheller.  If you're planning to do some grocery shopping before you head out, ask our Guest Service staff for directions to the most convenient supermarket.


Dinosaur at Royal Tyrell Museum - Photo Credit: Travel Alberta
Day 2 - In Drumheller
Just seven kilometres west of Drumheller, on Highway 838, is the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, arguably the finest dinosaur museum in the world. The Tyrrell is devoted to dinosaurs and was named after Joseph Tyrrell, who in 1884 discovered an Albertosaurus, the first of hundreds of complete dinosaur skeletons, since removed from Alberta's Badlands.  full details

Today the museum has more than 80,000 specimens and 35 complete skeletons, more than any other museum in the world. All are strikingly and imaginatively presented with the crowd-pleasers being the original Albertosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex, as well as more unusual creatures such as the Xiphactinus. The museum alone is worth several hours, but you can spend a full day here by tacking on a short hike, guided May thru September, or on your own anytime. In Fall and Spring, the Museum offers "Snore with a Dinosaur" sleepovers for groups and families, and throughout the summer, nine different education programs daily including Dinosite, Excavate It, Fossil Casting and Summer Day Camps. 

CanaDream Club partners on today's itinerary are:

Royal Tyrell Museum
Dinosaur RV Park
Dinosaur Trail RV Resort (Holiday Trails)


Giant Teepee at Medicine Hat, Alberta Photo Credit: Travel Alberta
Day 3 - Drumheller to Medicine Hat - 247 km/155 mi
Heading out on the Dinosaur Trail, drive west from Drumheller, along the Red Deer River Valley to the first point of interest, the Little Church, often described as being able to seat thousands, but only six at a time. The road then climbs steeply out of the valley onto the prairie benchland.  full details

Take the first access road on the left - it doubles back to Horsethief Canyon Lookout from where there are spectacular views of the Badlands and the multicoloured walls of the canyons. The trail's halfway point is the crossing of the Red Deer River on the Bleriot Ferry, one of the few remaining cable ferries in Alberta. The road continues along the top of the valley to Orkney Hill Lookout for more panoramic views across the Badlands and the lush valley floor below.

If you choose, take a little diversion south to the tiny town of Rosebud for a live dinner theatre performance. Rosebud is home to the Rosebud School of the Arts, whose theatre grew out of a church outreach program for Calgary youth. Today, the theatre brings more than 40,000 people to the town annually to attend one of the many performances taking place at the Rosebud Opera House.

Going back on Highway 1, continue heading east. Visit the city of Medicine Hat, described by Rudyard Kipling in 1907 as a city 'with all hell for a basement' because of the huge gas fields under the city and this area. Today visitors flock to the world's tallest teepee, bask under Medicine Hat's endless skies or tour the Medicine Hat Clay Industries National Historic Site and the Medalta Potteries National Historic Site.  The most convenient campground for your overnight stay in this city is the Gas City Campground, operated by the City of Medicine Hat. 

Dinosaur Provincial Park Alberta - Photo Credit: Travel Alberta
Day 3 (Dinosaur Option) - Drumheller to Dinosaur Provincial Park
Serious 'dinophiles' can enhance their trip by heading south on Highway 56, then east on Highway 1, and slightly north on Highway 36 to Dinosaur Provincial Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Its focus is the Field Station, a base for scientific research, but is also home to numerous dinosaur bone-beds, rivaled only by sites in China's Gobi Desert.  full details

Most people come here for guided walks and the popular Badlands bus tours, which take in parts of the park otherwise out of bounds to visitors. Not only is the diversity of specimens great, but so is the sheer volume; more than 300 museum-quality specimens have been removed from bone-beds found here, and are exhibited in museums around the world.

Dinosaur Provincial Park campground, open year round, is close by and this would be an ideal place to spend the night.  Reservations are recommended.


Japanese Gardens, Lethbridge - Photo Credit: Travel Alberta
Day 4 - Medicine Hat to Lethbridge - 166 km/104 mi
Continue your southwesterly journey, turning onto Hightway 887 at Seven Persons and stop at Red Rock Coulee.Take Hwy 501 to the turn-off to Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, then continue on to Devil's Coulee Dinosaur Heritage Museum in Warner, before arriving in the city of Lethbridge.  full details

While in Lethbridge, visit the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, Fort Whoopup and the Sir Alexander Galt Museum. Take a 10-minute drive east to experience the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre in Coaldale.


Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta - Stock Photo
Day 5 - Lethbridge to Calgary - 217 km/136 mi
Take your time as you head back to Calgary today, perhaps taking Highway 2 and stopping in Nanton. Nanton is a quaint little town known for being the place to look for antiques and old memorabilia. full details

Alternatively, from Lethbridge continue west on Highway 3 to the junction with Highway 22 and follow the Cowboy Trail back to Calgary.
If you're continuing on to the Rockies after completing this tour, head West when you reach the Trans Canada Highway.  If you're travelling back to Calgary, our recommended campground in Calgary is Calgary West Campground close to Canada Olympic Park.  This campground has full hook-ups and gives a discount to CanaDream guests.  Unless you have made prior arrangements for a late drop-off, your RV is due back at CanaDream tomorrow morning between 08:00 and 10:00.  Allow at least an hour to get from Calgary West Campground to our Calgary location. 

CanaDream Club partners on today's itinerary are:

Calgary West Campground