Dinosaur Provincial Park is one of Canada’s natural treasures. Located in Alberta, the park preserves one of the richest finds of fossils in the world, along with some scenic lands including badlands, prairie grasslands, and groves of cottonwood trees. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dinosaur Provincial Park is nestled in the Red Deer River Valley, located a half hour from Brooks and about 2.5 hours to the southeast of Calgary—and 75 million years away.
The history of the park begins a very long time ago when dinosaurs roamed the land that would someday become the prairies of Canada. Fast forward to 20th century and you have the beginning of Dinosaur Provincial Park. It was established in 1955, the same year Alberta was celebrating its Jubilee Year and its 50th birthday. For the first decades of the park’s existences, its fossil finds were sent to museums away from Alberta; the closest was the Royal Museum in Ontario. When the Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology opened in Drumheller in 1985, there was a place to display many of the amazing finds right in Alberta.
Long before the fossils and articulated skeletons were discovered, the dinosaurs roamed the same landscaped as Dinosaur Provincial Park. Many of them were swimming in the waters on an inland lake, including ancient paddlefish and the precursors to salamanders and turtles. Back on land the Daspletosaurus stood at the top of the food chain. This relative of the Tyrannosaurs Rex feasted on the Hypacrosaurus and Centrosaurus, whose fossils were also found at the same site. If you’re curious about the dinosaurs, you make sure to see the exhibits at the visitors center or the skeletons on display throughout the park’s outdoor exhibits. In the summertime, park rangers lead guided tours of the fossil beds with the chance to do some digging yourself.
Camping and Hiking
Camping and Hiking
With such amazing scenery and so many things to do, it’s only natural to want to spend a lot of time at Dinosaur Provincial Park. Four campsites throughout the park are accessible year-round, although the number of spots dwindle during the winter. In addition to traditional tent and RV campsites, there are seven cabins available to reserve, complete with river views, heat, and queen-sized beds. Both overnight and daytime guests will find a lot to do in the park. Paddling the Red Deer River is a relaxing and scenic way to explore as is hiking. Five interactive interpretive trails wind through the different landscapes, each one a way to discover the amazing landscapes and stories found at Dinosaur Provincial Park.