THE FREE-SPIRITED EXPLORER

The Drumheller Valley’s otherworldly landscape is a visual feast. To experience the area up close, follow this itinerary. You’ll see it all, from above and from ground level.

Day 1

10:00 a.m.  Follow Highway 9 southwest of Drumheller to Horseshoe Canyon, where you can park and choose a trail to hike in the badlands.

11:30 a.m. – Take one of Mountain View Helicopters’ tours: a five to six-minute hover over the canyon, or an 11 to 12-minute flight along its entire 13 kilometres.

12:30 p.m. – Lunch at Bernie & the Boys Bistro. If you order the Mammoth Burger, take a picture; your friends won’t believe the burger’s size.

1:30 p.m. – For a glimpse of Canada’s last standing wooden coal tipple and most complete historic coal mine, head east on Hoodoo Trail (Hwy. 10) to the Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site. On the way, visit the East Coulee School Museum, where miners’ children were students.

5:30 p.m. – Get your Greek on with dinner at Athens, and ask where Clint Eastwood sat when he was in the area filming Unforgiven.

7:00 p.m. – Check into River Grove Campground and Cabins on the banks of the Red Deer River and settle into a teepee with four cots inside and a picnic table and fire pit outside.

 

Day 2

9:30 a.m. – About 16 kilometres from Drumheller on North Dinosaur Trail (Hwy. 838), Horsethief Canyon offers stunning morning views of the badlands. Watch for the Little Church — a tiny white chapel that seats thousands, six at a time.

11:00 a.m. – On the way back to Drumheller, stop at Cactus Coulee Fun Park. Kick into gear in a Naskart racer or bounce on the bungee trampoline.

1:00 p.m. – Grab lunch at the relaxed Old Grouch’s Cozy Café. Enjoy homemade cabbage rolls and perogies, but leave room for a slice of one of Fran’s pies, baked daily.

2:00 p.m. – Paddle a raft from Newcastle Beach up the Red Deer River, then float back down. Follow Newcastle Tr. W. to 10 St. W., Drumheller.

5:30 p.m. – Dinner at Vietnamese Noodle House, featuring friendly service and delicious pho, bun, salad rolls and more.

7:00 p.m. – Visit Wayne’s Last Chance Saloon. The century-old building evokes the area’s coal-mining days.