Follow The Fossil Trail
by Christie Goss
Alberta is a fossil hotbed – a dinosaur jackpot if you will. Some of the most important dinosaur discoveries in the world have been unearthed in our backyard. Venture out to discover renowned landscapes brimming with prehistoric heritage.
Here’s a glimpse into the highlights of Alberta’s Ultimate Dinosaur Roadtrip.
Start at Devil’s Coulee in Warner, a deep ravine amid the Canadian Badlands. Here in 1987, experts discovered the nesting site of some Hadrosaur, appropriately nicknamed ‘duckbill’, dinosaurs. Over 20,000 eggshell fragments have been found in the area since and there’s more to discover at Devil’s Coulee Dinosaur and Heritage Museum.
Dinosaur Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is world famous for dinosaur finds – with over 300 specimens already discovered in the area. The picturesque landscape characterized by striped hills and otherworldly rock formations is not to be missed. Try comfort camping for a unique stay under the stars and join one of the many guided hikes, tours or digs in the area to explore the abundance of prehistoric fossils and unusual wildlife.
Make your way to Drumheller, dubbed Dinosaur Capital of the World. A trip to the infamous Royal Tyrrell Museum is obligatory. Soak up the wealth of prehistoric knowledge and be amazed by the abundance of fossils and full dinosaur skeletons on display, recreating life in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
Nearby, take in the view at Horseshoe Canyon, where the vibrant rock layers demonstrate the dramatic environmental changes in Alberta’s past, each filled with distinct fossils from eras gone by. Enjoy Midland Provincial Park, a once lush, green corner of the world home to many dinosaurs including the duck-billed Hadrosaurs, armored Ankylosaurs, and the fierce meat-eating Theropods.
If your dinosaur thirst hasn’t be satiated, soon you can head north to Grande Prairie. The new Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum is scheduled to open its doors in September. Horned ceratopsians were abundant in the nearby Pipestone Creek bone bed, a favorite of many for their unique head ornaments. Though less explored than the Canadian Badlands to the south, there are many known fossil producing areas close-by leaving much to be discovered.