Biking From Downtown Drumheller to the Royal Tyrrell Museum

by - Monday, June 27, 2016

Drumheller is the perfect place to explore by bike. Did you know you can ride a network of paved bike trails and bike lanes through town, cottonwoods and badlands to the Royal Tyrrell Museum (7 km)? With several parks, attractions and historical sites en route, you can make a day of it!

We spent the day biking in Drumheller recently and loved it. As my hubby said, "This is the most pleasant family ride ever!" The trail is paved and flat, except for the last section, and there were hardly any people on the trails (we saw a handful of people the whole day)! Drivers were extremely courteous, so that added to the experience as well. 

After exploring the museum, head back to town and cool off at Rotary Park Spray Park! The perfect ending to a perfect day!

Bike Route From Drumheller Visitor Information Centre to the Royal Tyrrell Museum

Distances below are from the Drumheller & District Chamber of Commerce (Visitor Centre)

0 km Start your adventure at the Drumheller Visitor Information Centre, home of the World's Largest Dinosaur and Rotary Park Spray Park. You can take the staircase inside the 26 metre tall T Rex to a viewpoint out of its mouth (for a fee).  Take advantage of flush toilets before hitting the trail.


World's Largest Dinosaur, Drumheller
World's Largest Dinosaur in Drumheller, Alberta
Map of Bike Route from Info Centre to Tyrrell Museum
Map: Drumheller Visitor Centre to North Dinosaur Trail
Detailed instructions below
  • Go around the spray park and head north towards the bridge.
  • Cross the bridge and take the underpass to the west side of the bridge (campground side).
  • Follow the Hiking Trail Signs! Turn left onto Poplar Street and stay in the bike lane. You will see a playground on your left.
    Trail marker
    Follow the Hiking Trail signs 
  • Poplar Street turns right; stay on it.
  • Continue straight to a paved bike path (parallel to North Dinosaur Trail).
  • Turn left.
2 km Check out the old tractors and two headed calf at Homestead Antique Museum. The General Store is a fun stop for souvenirs and treats too. (Did anyone say fudge??)

Homestead Antique Museum, Drumheller
Homestead Antique Museum
2.6 km Turn left at the turnoff to get onto the river pathway (if you pass Fossil World, take your next left). Continue straight, follow the path as it curves to the right, then take an immediate left (follow the sign).

Drumheller bike path
TURN LEFT HERE!
(Unless you wanna go to Fossil World!)
3.1 km At 15 St NW, the path turns into a bike lane; stay on the left side of the white line.

North River Path, Drumheller
Bike lane along North River Drive
4.1 km Just before 25 St NW, you will see a large bridge (CNR Midland Bridge) on your left. Go under the bridge to stay on the river pathway. Continue through groves of cottonwoods and McMullen Island Park.  McMullen Island Park has a picnic area and outhouses if you need a break. There are also spots to access the river and cool off!
  • Detour: To explore old mine sites at Midland Provincial Park, turn right at 25 St NW and CAREFULLY cross Highway 838. There are some interpretive exhibits and trails as well as outhouses. Go right ~50 metres to the site of the old head offices for the mine. Go left and ride the gravel road for 400 m to a 400 m interpretive loop. You can see remains of a tipple and bathhouse as well as mining equipment. There is a small gazebo at the far end where you can take refuge from the sun.
CNR Midland Bridge, Drumheller
Go under the bridge!
McMullen Island Park, Drumheller
McMullen Island Park is a refreshing oasis on a hot day!
Drumheller Badlands River Parks System Map
Drumheller Badlands River Parks System Map
5.6 km Cross Highway 838 at the crosswalk when it is safe to do so. You're now on the final stretch; bike through beautiful badlands all the way to the museum. Expect to climb steadily up a few hills (my 7 year old biked; my 5 year old walked a few parts).
  • Hike a bike section: Just before the museum, you will see a sign warning of stairs ahead. There are 24 stairs you will have to carry your bike down. It only took 2 minutes to carry everyone's bikes down.

Midlands Provincial Park
The best part of the ride!
Midlands Provincial Park
Biking in Midland Provincial Park
Midlands Provincial Park
Short hike a bike section (only 24 stairs)
6.9 km After stairs, cross a small bridge and stay left to avoid the hikers; it's also less steep this way. The museum is straight ahead and bike parking is to the left (past the public washroom building).

7.0 km You made it to the Royal Tyrrell Museum!

Dinosaur outside Royal Tyrrell Museum
Making Dino Friends Outside the Royal Tyrrell Museum
Royal Tyrrell Museum Exhibit
Royal Tyrrell Museum Exhibit

Things to Do En Route

  • Visitor Centre (Start)
    • World's Largest Dinosaur $3/person, $10/family, kids 5 & under - free
    • Rotary Park Spray Park - free
  • North Drumheller Community Playground (just across the bridge at the beginning)
  • Attractions: Funland Amusements (bumper boats!), Homestead Antique Museum, General Store, Fossil World Discovery Centre 
  • Midland Provincial Park
    • McMullen Island Park: day use area and shaded walking/biking trails, river access (but no boat access)
    • Midland Mine Office, Midland Mine No. 1, Midland Mine No. 2 - free to visit; please leave relics where you found them. Note that trails are not paved in this part of the park.
    • Royal Tyrrell Museum
  • Royal Tyrrell Museum (Destination)
    • Museum (fee)
    • Cenovus Palaeo Playground & Dino Dig Sandbox (free)
    • Lookout Tower (free)
    • 1.4 km Badlands Interpretive Trail (free)
Rotary Spray Park, Drumheller
Rotary Spray Park, Drumheller
McMullen Island Park, Drumheller
McMullen Island Park, Drumheller
Midland Mine Site No. 2
Biking single track around Midland Mine Site No. 2
Palaeo Playground at the Tyrrell Museum
Palaeo Playground at the Tyrrell Museum
It has a shaded sandbox and dino dig too! 

Trail At a Glance

ONE WAY DISTANCE: 7 km
Elevation gain: Minimal on first 5.5 km. About 100 metres gain over last 1.5 km.
Chariot friendly: Yes - but be aware there are 24 stairs at the end.
Recommended age: 5+ (provided your 5 year old has balance bike and pedal bike experience)

Know Before You Go

It can get extremely hot in Drumheller in the summer.
  • Plan to bike early or late in the day, or on a cloudy day. The Tyrrell Museum is open until 9 pm so you don't have to bike in the heat of the day. 
  • Bring lots of water! Sunscreen or light clothing should be worn to protect your skin.
Mosquitoes can be bad at certain times of year. Cover up as much as possible and use DEET / Icaridin bug spray as needed. 

Please stay on the trail in the badlands (last part of the trail to the museum) for your safety and to preserve the landscape for future visitors. The rock is extremely soft and is easily damaged.

Badlands clay can become extremely slippery when wet, so another good reason to stay on trails.

There are rattlesnakes and scorpions in the area so keep children close, wear closed shoes, and don't poke hands and feet into holes in the ground. 

There are also cougars around Drumheller, but they are rarely seen. Hiking/biking in groups is the best way to stay safe.

More Drumheller Area Attractions

  • Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site: "Go underground. Climb the tipple. Ride the train." ... and learn about Drumheller's mining history! (Fee)
  • Bleriot Ferry: Cross the Red Deer River in style on a little ferry! Free!
  • East Coulee School Museum: Go back in time to see how school was run when the mines were open! 
  • Hoodoo Trail, Willow Creek Hoodoo Provincial Historic Site
  • Horseshoe Canyon: A short detour off the highway that offers nice views. There are a few hiking trails as well, but it's a bit steep getting down into the canyon.
  • Horsethief Canyon: 48 km detour, similar to Horseshoe Canyon but bigger.
  • The Little Church: The littlest church seats only 6 people. So cute! Located just west of the Tyrrell Museum
  • Star Mine Suspension Bridge: A pretty bridge worth a stop on the way to Atlas Coal Museum.
Willow Creek Hoodoo Provincial Historic Site
Willow Creek Hoodoo Provincial Historic Site
16 km E of Drumheller
Star Mine Suspension Bridge
Star Mine Suspension Bridge
Horseshoe Canyon
Horseshoe Canyon

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