Hikes in Drumheller

Region in Alberta, Canada

The first thought that pops into your head when you think of Drumheller is probably a picture of badlands with dust and dirt covering prehistoric dinosaur bones awaiting excavation. Most people flock to Drumheller to relish in the evidence that dinosaurs once roamed the land here, taking in information at the Royal Tyrrell Museum or snapping photos of the World’s Largest Dinosaur, a gigantic statue. But when you want to move on from the museums and fascinating dinosaur-related information, hikes in Drumheller await!

The badlands and hoodoos create a setting that differs from the Rocky Mountains lining the Alberta and British Columbia border—walking on the trails carved out here will have you feeling you’re a character in a western movie. And the number of stories swirling around you, whether dinosaur or western-like, will add a layer of epic eeriness, supernaturalness to your hiking adventures!

The Greatest Hikes In Drumheller

One of the best ways to get a feel for the indescribable vibes in prehistoric Drumheller is to explore the area on foot! While you’ll find more hikes in the nearby (sort of) Dinosaur Provincial Park, it’s still fun to lace up your shoes and let the badland scenery envelop you between dinosaur viewings. Most visitors travelling through Drumheller don’t stay too long, and thankfully most of the hikes in the area are short, offering a quick body break before moving onto something else!

  1. Horseshoe Canyon Loop Trail - This short 3.9km family-friendly trail is located in Horseshoe Canyon Provincial Park, which is just 16km outside of Drumheller. If you’re in Drumheller, you won’t want to miss out on this wildly popular hike as it curves around the canyon, unveiling burgundy striped walls that hark back to Cretaceous times. This area is famous for archaeological findings!
  2. Dry Island Buffalo Jump Trail - The Dry Island Buffalo Jump Trail sits one hour from Drumheller, making it a better destination if you’re a local or someone passing through on a road trip. However, like most other routes in the area, the 7.2km Dry Island Buffalo Jump Trail boasts an archaeological site that contained Albertosaurus bones. On another note, this area features a landmark where Indigenous people used to drive buffalo over the cliffs to create food for their community and families.
  3. Horsethief Canyon Trail - The Horsethief Canyon Trail is the ultimate bang-for-buck wild west experience and is definitely worth a slight detour from Drumheller or the Royal Tyrrell Museum. This family-friendly out-and-back route may only be 800m long, but after 400m of walking, you’ll reach the canyon where outlaws hid their stolen livestock over a century ago. After relishing in the outlandish vibes, you’ll turn around and head back the way you came.
  4. Drumheller Pedestrian Trail - Revel in Drumheller on this 24.1km trail that starts from the Royal Tyrrell Museum! However, if you aren’t in the mood to finish the entire route, you can always pick and choose your start and endpoint. If you take on the whole trail, you’ll walk along Badlands Interpretive Trail and the Drumheller Pedestrian Trail before following the banks of the Red Deer River and into Midland Provincial Park.

When Is The Best Time To Hike in Drumheller?

Weather-wise, the best time to hike in Drumheller is from June to September, but hikes around the Royal Tyrrell Museum may get congested during the summer months, so you can always opt to hike on a warmer day during one of the shoulder seasons. However, you can do most hikes in Drumheller year-round!

Best Regions for Hiking in Drumheller

Since Drumheller is a small town, it’s hard to pick the best region for hiking here! Yet, some nearby provincial parks are worth noting, such as Horseshoe Canyon Provincial Park and Midland Provincial Park. If you don’t mind driving an hour or so from town, consider checking out Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park or Dinosaur Provincial Park. You’ll find more of a selection for hikes in Dinosaur Provincial Park!

Other Outdoor Activities in Drumheller

Some other outdoor activities in Drumheller include revelling in an incredible starry night sky while tenting out at Horseshoe Canyon Campground or mountain biking through Drumheller’s tremendous Land Before Time-like setting. Most road and mountain biking are multi-use trails!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Drumheller in the Badlands?

Drumheller is located within the Red Deer River Valley in the badlands of Alberta.

How far is Horseshoe Canyon Provincial Park from Drumheller?

Horseshoe Canyon Provincial Park is around 16km from Drumheller.

Can I camp in Drumheller?

Yes! Check out Horseshoe Canyon Campground for available campsites.

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Best Hikes in Drumheller

Open details for Horseshoe Canyon Loop Trail

Horseshoe Canyon Loop Trail

Easy
3.9 km
113 m
1-1.5h

Hiking the 3.9 km loop that makes up the Horseshoe Canyon Trail is the best way to see Horseshoe Canyon Provincial Park. This trail is the highlight of the area, and even though it is highly popular, it is worth a visit. You’ll feel like you have been whisked away to another planet when you catch a glimpse of the incredible canyon.

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Open details for Dry Island Buffalo Jump

Dry Island Buffalo Jump

Moderate
7.2 km
285 m
2-3h

The Dry Island Buffalo Jump trail is a stunning circuit that travels through the provincial park. This route features a landmark that was once a place where indigenous people drove buffalo over the cliffs in numbers to provide food for their community. There is a famous archaeological site here that is known for the discovery of Albertosaurus bones.

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Open details for Horsethief Canyon Trail

Horsethief Canyon Trail

Very Easy
0.8 km
22 m
0.5h

The short and easy Horsethief Canyon is just outside of Drumheller and is only 800 m long. It is the perfect fresh air stop for all abilities. The canyon itself is a stunning landmark that can’t be missed when passing through.

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Open details for Drumheller Pedestrian Trail

Drumheller Pedestrian Trail

Hard
24.1 km
331 m
5-7.5h

The Drumheller Pedestrian Trail is a great cycling and hiking path in the centre of Drumheller. The trail travels along both sides of the Red Deer River and through Midland Provincial Park. The trail can be easily joined from anywhere in town or other points of interests which makes this accessible to all types of hikers.

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