See more of Dinosaur Provincial Park this fall, and learn about dinosaurs that lived there through guided hikes and interpretive programs. If you’d like to stay a while, the campground is open year round!
Dino Stomp Tour
The badlands are bathed in soft golden light as we head off on the Dino Stomp Tour at Dinosaur Provincial Park. I’m glad we’ve come at summer’s end when sunrises are later and it isn’t so hot. We will be exploring the Natural Preserve for two hours, an area only open to park guests on guided tours or scientists who have permission to be on the preserve.
Our guide, Amanda, has worked here for two summers, and is excited to share everything she knows about dinosaurs and the park. Did you know Dinosaur Provincial Park has “the greatest number and diversity of late Cretaceous fossils in the world?” This is why the park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gorgosaurus ( a relative of the T-Rex), Centrosaurus (related to triceratops), and Parasaurolophus are just a few kinds of dinosaurs (out of 58!) that lived here 75 million years ago.
On our hands-on walking tour, we see how long a T Rex is (kid volunteers hold the rope), “dig” for fossils (find and brush off fossils stored in sand), jacket a fossil (coat it in gauze for transport), do a fun scavenger hunt, and visit the “Flintstone Bone”, an in-situ hadrosaur femur. All activities and commentary are tailored for families with kids 12 & under, and even preschool-aged dino lovers enjoyed the tour.
That’s not to say adults won’t get anything from the tour though! I loved hiking in the preserve and learning about the dinosaurs that used to live here, especially Dromaeosaurus, a feathered theropod I hadn’t heard about before. Dromaeosaurus was “the same size as a wolf, had weird toes with long claws, a very long tail… [was] covered in feathers and had hollow bones.” Pretty cool, right?
If you’d like to experience more of Dinosaur Provincial Park and fuel your kids’ curiosity in dinosaurs, sign up for the Dino Stomp Tour! The tour would be a great field trip if you’re homeschooling.
Dino Stomp Tour – Know Before You Go
The Dino Stomp Tour runs from May long weekend until the end of October. Reservations are recommended for this park’s high quality programs. Register now at Government of Alberta | Dinosaur Provincial Park | Online Hike & Tour Reservations.
Proper footwear (closed toe and heel – NO sandals, flip flops, or Crocs!) is required as you will be hiking 2 kilometres in the badlands. The trail is unpaved and is not stroller friendly. Elevation gain is minimal.
Hazards include prairie rattlesnakes, mosquitoes (can be quite bad in summer), and high temperatures in summer. More reasons to visit in the fall when it’s cool and there are no bugs! 😉
Bring water, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, bug spray, sunglasses, and a hat. As the program is outdoors, masks recommended but not required.
Pets are not permitted on interpretive tours or in the Visitor Centre.
Other Interpretive Programs at Dinosaur Provincial Park
The following programs are available for Fall 2020 at Dinosaur Provincial Park:
- Badland Explorer’s Hike: Learn about the history and geography of the park. All ages welcome; 2 hours; easy.
- Centrosaurus Bonebed Hike: Hike to a former dig site where hundreds of Centrosauruses were found. Age 10 & up; 3 hrs; Hike 4 km; rated moderate.
- Dinosaur Preserve Walk: A guided tour of the natural preserve road for ages 7 & up; 3.5 hrs; up to 7.5 km; difficult
- Golden Hour Hike: Designed for photographers 14 & up; 2 hrs; 3 km hike; moderate.
- Great Badlands Hike: An adventurous hike through rough terrain for ages 10 & up; 4 hrs; 6 km; moderate to difficult.
Book your tour online at Alberta Parks | Dinosaur Provincial Park | Activities & Events.
Where to Stay: Dinosaur Provincial Park Campground
Dinosaur Provincial Park is a full-service campground with power sites, showers, concession, and laundry. (Note that water is shut off and showers are closed after Thanksgiving long weekend.) Enjoy stunning sunrises, sunsets, and star gazing from camp; or hike up the hill for a birds’ eye view of the badlands. Huge cottonwoods shade most campsites, and some sites back on to a creek.
There are five public hiking trails in the park, two fossil display buildings, a canoe launch, playground, and excellent displays in the Visitor Centre. Don’t miss John Ware’s (relocated) cabin near Cretaceous Cafe! Hiking trails are fairly close to the campground, but I recommend bringing bikes if you’re short on time (bikes are not permitted on the hiking trails but will make it quicker going to get around the 3.2 km Public Scenic Loop Road).
Read more about camping and hiking in the park in our story: Exploring Dinosaur Provincial Park.
Reservations are recommended at this popular campground. Reserve a campsite at https://reserve.albertaparks.ca/.
Dinosaur Provincial Park is located 2.5 hours southeast of Calgary. ***The park is NOT in Drumheller; it is half and hour from Brooks, so plan accordingly.***