Southern Alberta Road Trip

I spent a week exploring the highways and byways of Southern Alberta on one of the most beautiful road trips I’ve ever taken. I’ve been sharing the stories from this great adventure, but I wanted to take a moment to lead you through the experience by showing you what you will enjoy when you decide to hit the open roads of Alberta for yourself.

Dinosaur Provincial Park has more than a great name; the park also features dino bones (check them out on the self-guided interpretive trails or on a tour), an excellent museum, and some of the most beautiful countryside in Alberta, from hoodoo-packed badlands to lush river valley. Dinosaur is a UNESCO World Heritage site of the highest order, and more than 40 species of dinosaurs have been found here. Roll out on an expedition with one of the park’s fantastic guides, camp out under the stars while moose and pelicans sing you to sleep, and test your photographic skill with one of the park’s ardent photo enthusiasts; my first night in Dino, I met a palaeontologist/astrophotographer who taught me a lesson in all-night, star-trail photography. We sat up on a bluff near Fossil Display #2, sipped from 2-liter bottles of cola to keep us awake, and shot photo after photo of Alberta’s ever restless summer sky. [Flash traveled to Alberta courtesy of Travel Alberta.]
1500 N Dinosaur Trail, Drumheller, AB T0J 0Y0, Canada
The Royal Tyrrell is a family-friendly shrine to all things dino, and would feel like one of the world’s most beautiful art galleries if so many of the exhibits weren’t so hands-on, though I’ll admit I was warned at least twice to keep from tapping on Shelly’s (the soft-shelled turtle) glass case. Luckily, even big kids like me are welcome to climb on top of some of the dinobots outside, while young and old are encouraged to wander the interpretive trails through the museum’s badlands, and hunt for fossil fragments or T-Rex teeth. I thought I found a T-Rex canine, but when I called the Tyrrell curator to investigate, he concluded it was dog poop. The Royal Tyrrell is an important center for paleontological research and houses some 130,000 fossils – many collected from the badlands on the museum’s doorstep – that make up the more than 40 mounted dino skeletons and other exhibits, which include a re-creation of a 375-million-year-old reef, an Ice Age exhibit, a Triassic Giant reptile display, and more. [Flash traveled to Alberta courtesy of Travel Alberta.]
More From AFAR