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A Tour Through Alberta's Badlands

Updated: Apr 5

If you ever find yourself in Southern Alberta, Canada, you most definitely must take a drive through the Alberta Badlands. It is an incredibly fascinating area with a multitude of things to do. While exploring the badlands, you can be on the hunt for fossils as dinosaurs used to roam this area, you can check out the Star Mine Suspension Bridge built in 1931, there is always the Atlas Coal Mine and the mysterious path behind it, and of course, the Hoodoos.

Drumheller

The Dinosaur Capital of the World! As the city of Drumheller is located near the heart of the Badlands and exactly on the lands that, were at one point occupied by dinosaurs, the theme for this city is, you guessed it, dinosaurs! On every street corner there is a statue of a dinosaur, the streets share the same names as various dinosaurs and the Royal Tyrell Museum, located just Northwest of Drumheller, houses a large collection of dinosaur fossils. The best part about Drumheller though, is the "World's Largest Dinosaur". There is a large winding staircase inside this giant model T-Rex that takes you from the tail all the way up to its wide open jaw.


Drummheller, Alberta Canada
"World's Largest Dinosaur" - you can climb all the way up to the mouth


Drumheller, Alberta Canada
Statue of a dinosaur on the street corner

Star Mine Suspension Bridge

As you head Southeast out of Drumheller, your next stop should be the Star Mine Suspension Bridge.


Star Mine Suspension Bridge, Drumheller Alberta, Canada
Star Mine Suspension Bridge signage


It is 117 meters long, was originally build in 1931 and used by coal miners until 1957 to get to and from the mine located on the other side of the Red Deer river. The mine was closed in 1958 and if you cross the bridge to the North side of the river, you will see the remnants of the old Star Mine. In 1958, the Alberta government rebuilt the bridge and continues to maintain it for public use.


Star Mine Suspension Bridge, Drumheller Alberta, Canada
View of the bridge from atop the hills on the North side of the river

Star Mine Suspension Bridge, Drumheller Alberta, Canada
Hanging out in the remains of the old Star Mine

Hoodoo Trail

The Hoodoos are a super fascinating landmark. They are naturally made, sandstone pillars and typically stand 5 to 7 meters tall. The base is made of shale and they are capped with a large stone. The coolest thing about them though, is that they take millions of years to form. The Hoodoo site is a protected site but, you can still go and wander around all the hoodoos and climb up to the top of the hills behind the hoodoo site.


Hoodoo Trail, Drumheller Alberta, Canada
Approaching the hoodoo site

Hoodoo Trail, Drumheller Alberta, Canada
View of the Badlands from atop the hills behind the hoodoo site

Atlas Coal Mine

This was our last stop along our drive through the Badlands. As we had dogs with us, we were unable to stop and do the Atlas Coal Mine Tour but we did drive past the site and vowed to do it next time we are in the area.


Atlas Coal Mine, Drumheller Alberta, Canada
Portion of the Atlas Coal Mine

We continued driving past the coal mine on the little side road and we stumbled across a rather eerie sight. I can really only describe it as what looks like a memorial path system but I can't confirmed that. There are numerous logs, which look to form a path, and they are all standing on end. Each one of them has various items hanging from the limbs or sitting at the base of them. There is no signage explaining the purpose of these logs but to me, they look like memorial sites. It was amazing and fascinating to stumble upon these and it really just let our minds wander.


Atlas Coal Mine, Drumheller Alberta, Canada
One of the many logs with items placed on it.

Needless to say, the Alberta Badlands are a sight to behold and definitely worth the drive if you are in the area. If you've ever thought about a trip to Alberta, contact me for help or check out my Alberta Concierge Package and my Key to the City library!


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