Locaed about 1.5 hours west of Calgary, the area around Drummheller, Alberta is an incredible site, escpecially if you are interested in geogology or dinosaurs. Hiking Drumheller is one of the best ways to explore this region.
The area, known as the Badlands of Canada is known for its stunning rock formations, hoodoos, and striking rock color. This area is also known as the Donisaur Capital of the world and many fossils have been discovered in the region. In addition to the amazing hikes throughout the area, you can also find several dinosaur-themed attractions including the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology.
We visited Drumheller after spending a few days in Banff during the summer of 2023 and will share a list of the Best Drumheller hiking trail options to help you choose where to visit during your stay. We loved exploring this part of Alberta.
Looking for more adventures similar to the Badlands of Canada? Check out Badlands National Park!
Drumheller’s Unique Landscape
Drumheller is renowned for its otherworldly landscape known as the Badlands. This area is characterized by deep canyons, towering hoodoos, eroded sandstone formations, and striking red and orange hues.
The Badlands are the result of millions of years of erosion and sedimentary rock deposition, making them a significant geological site.
The Best Drumheller Hike
If you are looking for trails for hiking Drumheller or a few hikes in the Canadian Badlands, scroll through the list below. It’s important to note that many of the trails can be adjusted to be shorter if you don’t want a long hike.
Horsethief Canyon Trail
Distance: Approximately 0.5 - 2.1 miles Difficulty: Easy Highlights: Stunning views of deep canyons and hoodoos and a relatively short and family-friendly hike.
This is a quiet and interesting canyon. There are less facilities than nearby Horseshoe Canyon but the canyon is much bigger to explore.
Horseshoe Canyon Trail
Distance: up to 2.5 miles Difficulty: Easy Highlights: Gorgeous canyons and colored rocks
This is a beautiful canyon that is a great hiking trail. You can take a well marked trail down into the canyon and then spend time wandering between the rocks.
See more about hiking Horseshoe Canyon.
Distance: About 0.1 - 1 mile (there are other nearby trails as well to make this longer. Difficulty: Moderate Highlights: Unique geological formations, including hoodoos, eroded sandstone, and panoramic views of the Red Deer River Valley.
Most people visit the hoodoos and do the short walk through the ones right next to the parking lot. These hoodoos reminded us of Bryce Canyon.
To see the hoodoos, park in the large parking lot and take the short path through the rock formations. If you want a longer hike, you can climb up to the viewpoint above the hoodoos although in our opinion the highlight is the hoodoos right near the parking lot.
Midland Provincial Park Loop
Length: Approximately 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) loop Difficulty: Moderate Highlights: A scenic loop through the Badlands, river views, chances to spot wildlife, and an opportunity to explore different terrains.
Midland Provincial Park boasts a multitude of enjoyable hikes that traverse the expansive Badlands terrain. Encompassing 280 hectares of stunning natural landscapes, this park, home to the renowned Royal Tyrrell Museum, ranks among the top attractions in the Drumheller Valley.
Once the site of the Midland Coal Mine, infamous for a tragic mining accident in the 1920s, it underwent transformation and earned its provincial park designation in 1979. While the remnants of Midland’s mining history have largely faded, the park’s diverse network of hiking trails now draws a different kind of crowd to the area.
Orkney Viewpoint Trail
Length: Roughly 1.9 miles round trip Difficulty: Moderate to challenging Highlights: Sweeping views of the Red Deer River Valley, unique geological formations, and the thrill of reaching the Orkney Viewpoint.
The Orkney Viewpoint Trail in Drumheller, Alberta is moderate with incredible views of the Red Deer River Valley.
Bleriot Ferry Trail
Length: About 1.6 miles round trip Difficulty: Easy Highlights: A hike leading to the Bleriot Ferry, which crosses the Red Deer River and provides access to additional trails and viewpoints.
The Bleriot Ferry Trail is a delightful hiking option that leads to the historic Bleriot Ferry, an iconic river crossing over the Red Deer River. Along the way, you will get views of the river and surrounding area and see the operation of the ferry.
Length: Approximately 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) one way Difficulty: Easy Highlights: Accessible from the Royal Tyrrell Museum, this trail offers pleasant views of the Badlands and the chance to see fossils in their natural setting.
This easygoing trail starts near the Royal Tyrrell Museum and winds through the serene Badlands terrain. What sets the Terrace Trail apart is its unique feature – it allows hikers to explore the natural setting where fossils have been discovered, offering a fascinating peek into the area’s paleontological history.
Red Deer River Suspension Bridge Trail
Length: About 0.9 miles round trip Difficulty: Easy Highlights: A short walk to the suspension bridge that spans the Red Deer River, offering picturesque views of the Badlands and river valley.
This is a short little trail to a picturesque suspension bridge that spans the scenic Red Deer River. On this hike you will have views of the Badlands and get the extra fun of crossing the bridge.
Things to Know about Hiking Drumheller
How to Choose the Best Drummheller Hike
The best Drumheller hike for you depends a bit on what you are looking for an how much time you have. If you just have 1 day in Drumheller, I would recomend visiting either Horseshoe or Horsethief Canyons, stop at the hoodoos and then choose one other short hike based on your interest,
Leave No Trace when Hiking Drumheller
It’s important to practice leave no trace when hiking. In Drumheller, many of the trails are prone to erosion. It’s important to stay on trails and respect signs. We saw plenty of people walking off trail during our visit.
Best Time of Year to Hike Drumheller
You can hike in Drumheller all year long. Summer is the most popular time to visit this area, but each season offers something different, although winter can be unpleasant, icy and winter. Late spring and fall are some of the best times for hiking Drumheller.