Drumheller is just under 2 hours from Calgary, about 120 km east. It's best known for its dinosaur history -- an amazing amount of fossils have been recovered from the area, and one of the world's leading dinosaur musuems -- The Royal Tyrrell
From a hiking perspective, it's a whole new world. The mountains are gone, replaced by canyons and hoodoos - a type of area called the Badlands. The area is dry, hot and arid. When the temperatures soar in July and August, Drumheller can have temperatures that rival Las Vegas and Arizona.
For that reason, Dave and I wanted to get out to the area before those badlands heated up to something beyond bearable.
Our first stop on the drive in was Horseshoe Canyon. After driving for an hour on the prairie, you think there's nothing but grass in every direction. Then you turn off the highway and this sight greets you:
It was a novelty to be hiking in a canyon, and have all the downhill hiking at the beginning. We descended into the canyon to take a closer look at the formations. Mix sand, rock, wind and let sit for a few thousand years and you get some pretty amazing terrain:
The black stripe near the top -- that's coal. It makes sense when you consider how rich with fossils the area is that there would be plenty of coal seams as well. The area was discovered and founded thanks to coal mining, but that's all in the past now.
Onward to Drumheller and the Royal Tyrrell....