Published: July 11th 2010July 11th 2010
Calgary to Drumheller
A week in Calgary and the Badlands was a good break, and apparently timed in the midst of some great weather. This was just prior to the start of the Calgary Stampede, and there were some good deals to be had.
For the first three nights I stayed in downtown Calgary right near the beautiful Prince's Island Park - a direct result of those great deals - relaxing and pampering myself. One evening we went to Body Works, that travelling display of actual cadavers that have been plasticized for preservation and educational purposes (!) and attended a terrific lecture by an orthopedic specialist afterwards. Another evening we went to Shakespeare in the Park for a unique presentation of Othello by the Mount Royal University College drama department.
A day of shopping and then we hit the road to the Drumheller area (about a 90 minute drive) for a visit to the Badlands. The scenery on the way is beautiful! On arrival we arranged a place to stay and then headed out to drive a loop that would take us to Orkney lookout point, Horse Thief Canyon, across a river on a ferry, to a foot suspension bridge, and then
Calgary to Drumheller
These are all taken from the car as we drove.
down to the Hoodoos. Then on to Rosemond to see an old coal mine site and museum school before calling it a day.
I have to say the Hoodoos were initially a disappointment - I was expecting these very tall formations but they were not very big at all. Also, a little disconcerting at the lack of oversight to ensure that folks respect the environment.
Second day we started early and headed out to the Royal Tyrell Museum, which documents the discovery of dinosaur fossils in this part of the world. A great place - your ticket is good for the entire day so you may want to think about planning in advance to participate in some of the workshops on offer. Highly recommend an early start to beat the masses (which we were very glad we did at this time of year). We also hiked around the area for awhile before hitting the road and heading to Horse Shoe canyon (which the natives believe is haunted) and the small community of Rosebud before heading 'home' to Calgary.
A side note: prior to visiting Royal Tyrell Museum, I commented a few times on how some of the
rock formations that we were seeing were very similar to what I had seen in Morocco. For instance, the 'monkey fingers' referred to in Todra Gorge were very similar to the area around the HooDoos. The geography as a whole closely resembles the region we saw on our return trip from the Sahara. Additionally, when we were in the desert we were approached to buy some fossils - these looked far too polished and fake to me (never mind not having any knowledge of dino/fossil discoveries in this part of the world) so I said no. But the fossils we saw in Drumheller were exactly the same as those presented to us in Morocco - hmmmm.
One last day for some shopping and then the red eye from Calgary on Thursday, arriving home Friday AM. A great trip that allowed for a little bit of everything.
This break was double duty - a visit with my son on his turf, but also some R&R for me. So I decided I would look at hotel options for the first few nights, and totally lucked out with the Sheraton Eau Claire Suites right down town at Prince's Island Park.
Calgary to Drumheller
They had an online promotion that was about 1/3 of their usual rates making it cheaper than your average Day's Inn!. So I booked three nights, had an easy night on arrival and three days making good use of the fitness centre and area. Staff are terrific here, so if you are visiting Calgary keep an eye on their online rates - it is well worth it. You are within a couple of blocks of main downtown Calgary, while being right on the edge of a beautiful park beside the Bow River.
Drumheller is overpriced and reservations recommended. We didn't have any, and actually this worked well - we would have booked with one of the known an advertised brands but instead ended up at a small facility that has only recently joined the Travelodge chain. It doesn't look like much from outside, but we sucked it up because there were no other options and it turned out to be spotless, quiet, and overlooking a park area by the river. There are no facilities like a pool and waterslide, which many families may want, but a short walk away is a small parkette with wading pool that is just
as fine in the summer. Highly recommend this place - and the staff were very friendly and welcoming, which was not the case at the other places we stopped at.
There are more photos below