If you’re looking for something to do in and around the Badlands, I’ve got the answer!
I’ve once again been selected to be an Alberta Badlands Tourism Ambassador, and this is the third year for me in this role.
One thing I’ve noticed during my travels, visiting unique destinations throughout Southern Alberta, is that we have some truly amazing places to discover. Yes, the big draw whoever anyone mentions “Alberta” and “Tourism” in the same sentence is the majestic Rocky Mountains – and they certainly are a sight to behold – but I would argue that the Badlands region offers vastly different experiences.
It’s been a pleasure to discover quirky destinations like the Torrington Gopher Museum, or awe-inspiring spots like Dinosaur Provincial Park and Writing-On-Stone. Whenever friends from other provinces note that their travelling to Calgary, I often suggest a detour along Highway 570 toward Drumheller in order to take in the fantastic valley littered with ghost towns and the famous Atlas Coal Mine.
The beauty is that most of these Badlands beauties cost little to no money to visit! My family lives fairly close to the aforementioned Dinosaur Provincial Park, and we go there quite often for the kids to hike and run out their excess energy. Inevitably, we discover new paths, a breath-taking vista, or something else previously undiscovered from previous outings.
This year, the particular focus of the Badlands Ambassador program is on creating more video, which I upload to YouTube and Instagram. It’s always a bonus to run into travellers who are shocked and amazed by the interesting locations in the Badlands, often stating, “how did I not know about this before?”
Some key memories from this year so far include seeing Jan Arden at the Badlands Amphitheatre in Drumheller. This location – known primarily for its majestic Passion Play – is a musician’s dream. The acoustics are simply unparalleled, and there truly isn’t a bad seat in the house. Nestled in the hoodoos that make Drumheller famous, the amphitheatre has carved out an experience like no other. Lucky are those with tickets to a performance! Another delight we discovered in Drumheller was a lovely Greek restaurant (Athen’s Greek Restaurant) that offers extraordinary home-cooked food. This is an absolute MUST STOP if you are in the area – and hungry! After trying their moussaka, I’ve been inspired to recreate the dish at home (to rave reviews, even the kids ate it!).
Through the summer, there are several small-town rodeos and parades nearly every weekend. Canada Day is best spent in the Village of Rosemary, a place that really knows how to party! They cap off festivities with a live concert and the best fireworks show in the County of Newell.
For nature and camera buffs, this region is well-acclaimed for bird watching, geocaching, and viewing the Northern Lights. Yes, even this far south, you can view those dancing lights in the sky. My recommendation for best results is to check out places like Elkwater (a dark sky preserve) or Dinosaur Provincial Park. Even from my back deck in Duchess, I have a clear view when they’re out!
The area is also a dream for people into water sports, fishing, camping, and hunting with our abundant lakes and rivers.
This area is also loaded with historical and cultural importance with places like Blackfoot Crossing, the Brooks Aqueduct, and Fort Whoop Up, to name a few. You’re bound to run into people with interesting stories about this place and how the West was won.
Indeed, one visit to the Alberta Badlands will have you returning and bragging to your friends about the wonderful adventures you had!