Though even Calgary may not be at the top of your Canadian destination list, there are surprisingly quite a range of sights that Alberta has to offer. Just a stone’s throw North are a vast spread farmlands, followed by the fossilized dino remains which can be found to the East in the Dinosaur Provincial Park. And certainly not least, to the West lies the northern corridor of the famous Canadian Rockies amongst stunning hikes, alpine views, and lakes.
Here’s the scoop on a few of the sights just outside Calgary that you should consider on a day trip:
Red deer is a small town only a short distance away. Come here to visits a cute suburban town home to farms and a picturesque lake. Beautiful in all seasons.
BO’S BAR AND GRILL
Drove to Red Deer to meet old friend who had been au pairing for almost a year. We met at Bo’s Bar and Grill for lunch and both ordered the Breakfast Poutine; fries topped with gravy and cheese curds, yum!
Head out of from downtown Red Deer out to Sylvan Lake, passing quite a few farms and fields along the way. It was a beautiful day at the lake with clear skies and although it was chilly the sun was bright. There are walking tracks and benchs along the river.
Arguably one of Alberta’s biggest tourist attractions, Drumheller lies just east of Calgary situated in the Canadian badlands. With a huge abundance of dinosaur fossils found here, it calls itself the Dinosaur Capital of the World.
This town LOVES their dinosaurs and there are cute, funny and colourful dinosaurs placed throughout downtown.
WORLDS LARGEST DINOSAUR
And of course, Drumheller is home to the World’s Largest Dinosaur. This T-Rex sculpture is 4.5 times larger than it’s true real size. The visitor centre is just behind the T-Rex and for $3 you can climb inside and view the town of Drumheller from it’s jaws.
NORTH DINOSAUR TRAIL
After looking at some brochures we decided to hit the North Dinosaur Trail and make the loop around through the badlands.
The landscape is very unique and you can see the different layers of erosion very clearly.
SOUTH DINOSAUR TRAIL
After driving for another 15 minutes we came to the ferry that crosses a 30-metre creek to join onto the South Dinosaur Trail. Unfortunately the crossing was closed for the season and although it is only 30m the Mustang wasn’t looking quite buoyant enough for the short sail.
At this point, we turned around, went back the way we came through Drumheller and turned onto the highway to head towards the ghost town of Wayne. To reach Wayne you must cross 11 BRIDGES! The road winds around over and back across the creek… seems like the construction crew couldn’t make their minds up.
The town used to have a population of 2940 but now the sign boasts only 28 inhabitants. The Last Chance Saloon was after 9 bridges in Wayne where we then turned around as the road seemed to continue into nowhere.
DINOSAUR PROVINCIAL PARK
In addition to its particularly beautiful scenery, Dinosaur Provincial Park – located at the heart of the province of Alberta’s badlands – contains some of the most important fossil discoveries ever made from the ‘Age of Reptiles’, in particular about 35 species of dinosaur, dating back some 75 million years.
BANFF & LAKE LOUISE
After making our way west from Calgary earlier in the week, we began our long drive to Vancouver the Canadian Rockies. We followed the Canada #1 Highway. Entering the Canadian Rockies there was Bow Valley Provincial Park to our left then Banff National Park to our right.
The highway runs through the mountains right next to trees, so watch out for animals, and some of the roads are cut straight through the mountains. Unfortunately with our schedule we didn’t have a chance to stop and explore any of the places whilst driving through. However, the drive itself is truly incredible given the scale of the surrounding mountains and we did get to enjoy the scenery though as it was a nice, clear day. There were quite a few cars around and a lot of logging trucks.
We stopped at McDonalds in Golden for lunch. It was surprisingly good and they also had the Monopoly game going on and some other people in the store gave us theirs as well to add to our board.
Continuing on our way, past Glacier National Park of Canada and Revelstoke National Park we stopped at Starbucks in Revelstoke for caramel brule and chestnut praline coffees. Next stop: Kamloops, followed by Hope and finally onward back to Calgary (or onward to Vancouver).