Visiting Dinosaur Provincial Park Near Patricia, Alberta
Dinosaur Provincial Park is located in Patricia, Alberta which is about a two and a half hours East of Calgary. The park is famous for its landscapes and abundance of dinosaur fossils (shocker, given the name). The park has a campground if you're looking for a weekend getaway, or you can just drive out in the morning and hike for the day (like we did). There is also a 5km loop you can drive in your vehicle to tour the area once you drive down into the park (I highly recommend this). While on the little drive, we pulled over a few times to climb the hoodoos to take pictures!
Note: There were multiple signs saying to be aware of rattle snakes in the area. Of course we did not see any on our trip, but it's just something to be aware of.
There also was a little museum that housed some of the fossils found at the park, but we didn't get to see it because of the Covid-19 social distancing measures (next time!). There's also a little building that sells coffee and ice cream and some small goods for campers! I'd recommend stopping in and grabbing some ice cream after your hike for the road!
I'd also recommend wearing good, supportive running shoes since some rocks are sometimes uneven. And be prepared to be very hot and sweaty by the end, it get's warm out there! (Also, don't these pictures almost make you think we're in Utah?!).
Look out for these amazing views as you drive down into the park! It's truly remarkable. Also, before going down into the park, there is a parking lot you'll see to your right and it has a beautiful lookout of the park and makes for a great picture!
It was definitely unlike any other hike I've ever done, and I would highly recommend visiting! Be sure to bring a hat and sunglasses and wear sunscreen! The park is usually a lot warmer than you'll think and little to no wind once you get down there. Dogs are allowed on this path, but there are MANY little cactuses popping out of the ground so watch your step and be cautious if you're bringing your furry friends along! The hike isn't that difficult, so it would be a perfect little date since you can talk while you're walking or to go as a family with kids! Hope you guys get to go and see it!
When To Go:
Summertime (May-August) would be the best time to go! (I don't think it's even open in the winter). I recommend going on an overcast day if you can, it would be better for hiking since it get's really hot down there all on it's own. As you can tell, most of my pictures were taken on an overcast day, and they still turned out good! The sun came out toward the end of our hike and man was it hot!
Best Spots For Pictures:
On the 5km driving loop (public loop road), we pulled over a couple of times to climb the hoodoos and take pictures! As well as the little 2km walking loop that took us through the park! There were tons of areas to take pictures on top of the hoodoos! Along the 2km walk called Coulee View Point Trial, there was a lookout over the river and green space that you can take pictures of as well (just be careful not to get too close to the edge). There is also the cottonwood flat trail, which takes you down to red deer river through the trees, which also could be pretty for pictures. My favourite part about this park is that even if there are tons of people on the hike (which there never is), there is so much space to take your pictures that nobody will be in them! It's a very quite hike (surprisingly), we didn't see that many people!
How To Get There
Dinosaur Provincial Park is NOT located at Drumheller, Alberta. Brooks is the closest city, located on the Trans-Canada Highway #1. The park is located 48 km northeast of Brooks and 18 km from the village of Patricia. The closest fuels stations are at Brooks (48 km) or the town of Duchess (34 km).
The co-ordinates to use in GPS systems are - Latitude: 50.7537 | Longitude: -111.528
There are 120 RV and tent-friendly sites, including unserviced, powered and pull-through areas! The campground is shaded by cottonwood trees and many of the sites back onto a beautiful little creek!
Site Rates (not including GST):
- No Services: $29.00*
- Power Only: $36.00*
- Best Average: $29.00*
I hope all of that information helps you pick what kind of trip you'll make out to Dinosaur Park if you get the chance to go! I was overwhelmed with the landscapes (especially since I'm from BC) and I think it's a great little road trip for somebody from Calgary! Hope you guys have a good rest of your day, thanks for reading!