Guide to Dinosaur Provincial Park Camping
The Dinosaur Provincial Park camping trip is sure to be the perfect fit for your bucket list. This park is located near Drumheller, Alberta, and offers breathtaking views of badlands and river valleys that are teeming with prehistoric fossils, making it one of Canada’s most unique natural areas.
Truly a haven for outdoorsy types and dinosaur enthusiasts alike, there’s no better place than Dinosaur Provincial Park to explore the stunning landscape and learn more about the fascinating history of our planet!
One of Southern Alberta’s hidden treasures is Dinosaur Provincial Park. It is the largest badlands region in Canada and contains some of the most magnificent and incredible landscapes outside of the Rockies.
Dinosaur Provincial Park Camping Sites are located in Dinosaur Provincial Park, 48 kilometers northeast of Brooks off Highway 876.
There are more than 120 RV and tent-friendly sites, including three pull-through, powered, and unserviced options.
The Red Deer River
The Red Deer River flows alongside the campground, which is tucked away in a valley behind cottonwood trees. Several spots have a view of Little Sandhill Creek. Walk through the stunning, distinctive scenery, join a tour, or attend a performance in the amphitheater (July and August only).
Badlands camping is an incredible adventure. Booking in advance is advised at this busy campground. The campground is accessible all year and operates on a first-come, first-served basis from October to May.
Top 15 things to do while Camping in Dinosaur Provincial Park
Take the incredible view from the entrance sign
You’ll notice the entry sign as soon as you arrive at Dinosaur Provincial Park. Hang a right into the parking lot before continuing down the road past it. From there, you may enjoy the most spectacular view of the entire area. Only from here can you properly grasp the vastness of this stunning Badlands area.
It’s critical to do this first because if you skip it and just drive down into the park, you’ll only get glimpses of the view from your car and will want to stop to appreciate it. There is also a trail running down from the lookout to the Interpretive Center.
Walk the Prairie Trail
The short (0.3 km) Prairie Trail is located on the other side of the same parking lot. To be perfectly honest, it’s nothing out of the ordinary, especially if you live on the plains. It’s just a path cut through some tall grass, with a few informational signs thrown in for good measure.
The point, I suppose, is to contrast the surrounding prairie landscape with the badlands in the valley below. But, after traveling through the plains for many hours just to get here, you probably want to get down into the park.
Visit the Visitor’s Centre & Museum
After driving a few hundred meters into the park, you’ll come to the Dinosaur Provincial Park Interpretive Centre & Museum (also known as the “Field Station” on certain park maps).
There are just two conventional parking places (plus two parking spaces for disabled persons) and a drop-off loop, so you may drop your passengers off at the entrance and/or go on to the park’s main parking lot, which is a hundred meters downhill.
How much does it cost?
The museum admission fee is $5 for adults, $2 for children, and free for children under the age of six ($14 for a family). It is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed from November to March. There is an Interpretive Center which features a small gift store and museum that you may explore for around 30 minutes after buying dinosaur provincial park tickets.
Inside, your children may learn about the geology and ecology of the badlands, as well as view a dozen amazing fossils discovered in the region, such as a big lambeosaurus skeleton being attacked by numerous dromeosaurs and an enormous chasmosaurus skeleton.
Walk the Coulee Viewpoint Trail
The Coulee Viewpoint Trail begins at the Visitor’s Center. This 0.9-kilometer-circle walk across the badlands offers stunning views of the campsite and valley below.
This route has several hilly sections. If you stay at the campsite, which is located in the valley below, you may trek up to the Coulee Viewpoint Trail from a few different locations.
Dine at the Cretaceous Café
Although it is unlikely to gain any Michelin stars, the Cretaceous Café serves typical foods like burgers, poutine, and “raptor wraps.” It’s important to know because there are no restaurants or even gas stations around Dinosaur PP, so campers have a backup option for food.
The Cretaceous Café also serves as the campground’s check-in point, where you can purchase firewood and other camping goods and where you can use the showers and washing machines.
The Cretaceous Café is located in the main parking lot of the park and is called the “Dinosaur Service Center” on some park maps. Also, you could use the website for dinosaur provincial park camping reservations (check here)
Visit John Ware Cabin
The historic John Ware Cabin is located directly behind the Cretaceous Café. For the last five years of his life, from 1900 to 1905, this was the home of a former African American slave.
His entire life narrative may be found here. The cottage is only available to the public on weekends in July and August, or by arrangement.
Play in the playground
If you’re visiting Dinosaur Provincial Park with children, you know they love a nice playground. They’ll be captivated by the enormous playground across the main entry road from Cretaceous Café.
To spend some time, look across the nearby stream to the northern portion of the campsite, or cross a bridge over the creek to start exploring. The campground’s comfort camping units are also placed on a huge field near the playground.
Have a campfire overlooking the Red Deer River
A side road just before the playground goes to the Dinosaur Provincial Park boat launch. Aside from the boat launch, there are areas with huge fire pits that overlook the river.
Take an interpretive tour
The majority of Dinosaur Provincial Park is essentially a nature reserve that is not open to the public unless you attend an interpretive tour. The park provides six different interpretive tours that you may arrange online before your visit.
The trips last between 2-4 hours and most require you to gather at the natural reserve gate and drive in convoy. The tour is always both educational and entertaining for the children. There are numerous activities, such as fossil digging, dinosaur bone plastering, and a scavenger hunt.
The most remarkable aspect of the visit is discovering a massive hadrosaur limb bone still embedded in the earth!
Drive the scenic loop
You’ll find the start of a four-kilometer driving circle loop through Dinosaur Provincial Park just before the campsite. The final four entries are all placed along the loop, which is the primary area of the park that is open to the public.
Except for the four little parking areas at each of the following, you are not permitted to stop elsewhere. The loop is just one-way (counter-clockwise). It is also feasible to ride or stroll along the gravel loop.
Walk the Badlands Interpretive Trail
The 1.3-kilometer Badlands Interpretive Trail is the first stop on the picturesque loop. This is the only location in the park where tourists can explore the nature reserve without joining an interpretive tour.
The trek passes through several stunning hoodoos and badlands sceneries of the park. It also features placards that describe the park’s scenery and the dinosaurs found in the park.
Visit the two dinosaur fossil displays
You’ll come across two shelters with fossil exhibits about halfway around the circle; each has its own parking space, but they’re close enough to walk between.
The famed “headless hadrosaur” is still partially buried in the dirt in the first shelter. The second features another actual dinosaur skeleton, together with paleontological equipment to simulate a real excavation process.
Walk the Trail of the Fossil Hunters
This pleasant 0.9-kilometer walk starts and concludes near the second fossil shelter. It has a breathtaking landscape as well as signage presenting major characters in Alberta’s paleontological history, such as Joseph Burr Tyrrell, for whom the famed dinosaur museum in Drumheller is named.
One of the nicest features of this route is that you can completely ignore it; our kids liked racing up and down hills and carving their own tracks through the surrounding scenery.
Walk the Cottonwood Flats Trail
The last hike in Dinosaur Provincial Park offers access to a completely different environment: the verdant, wooded riverfront.
Cottonwood Flats is the last of the five hikes. The majority of the 165 bird species that inhabit the park live here. Most remarkable of all is perhaps the cottonwood trees themselves.
The campsite may be readily accessed on foot from this 1.4-kilometer circular route, which takes less than an hour to complete.
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Finally – Dinosaur Provincial Park Camping, Go Camping
Dinosaur Provincial Park camping is quite popular, and you’ll need to plan well in advance to obtain a place in the summer for dinosaur provincial park comfort camping. Summer weekends frequently sell out as soon as they become available in the spring, although dinosaur provincial park winters are a bit off-season. You may book the Dinosaur Provincial Park Camping sites and campgrounds well in advance online here
Dinosaur Provincial Park Camping Sites are a must-see if you choose to camp at the park and want to experience Alberta’s unique Badlands scenery and lots of dinosaur provincial park activities. With 122 campsites, the park offers a wide variety of camping options for all types of campers. Whether you’re looking for a secluded spot in nature or an open area with plenty of activities, Dinosaur Provincial Park Camping has something for everyone. From hiking trails to fishing spots, the park has everything you need to make your camping trip memorable.
Staying Safe in the Park
Things to do
- It may become quite hot in the badlands! The badlands may be quite treacherous, so bring lots of water, a hat, and sunscreen when you go hiking.
- In the badlands, natural caverns and sinkholes may emerge, so take caution where you tread or sit. When trekking, keep a sharp eye out for them and try to avoid stepping on them or going straight over them.
- Although poisonous, prairie rattlesnakes seldom bite humans and cause death. If you leave them alone, they will do the same for you.
Things to avoid
- Avoid trekking and climbing after a rainstorm and make sure you are wearing sturdy shoes.
- Sharp spines may be seen on cacti. Avoid getting close to these cacti.
- Scorpions and black widow spiders both contain venom, so stay on paths and steer clear of ledges, heaps of rocks, and tall grass. You probably won’t run across them since they spend the day sleeping underground. Avoid sticking your hands, feet, or other body parts in fissures or gaps for your own protection.
Plan your Trip
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Dinosaur Provincial Park camping and to discover authentic dinosaur fossils firsthand. It is unquestionably one of the greatest dinosaur experiences available to young dinosaur enthusiasts. The experience and surroundings of the park are breathtaking, even for adults.
The experience has improved for the dinosaur provincial park camping, and staying overnight is a reasonable option unless you live very near the park. This park has more to offer than you can experience in a single day, so plan your trip and explore your stay at the Dinosaur Provincial Park camping sites!
Dinosaur Provincial Park FAQs
Which is better Drumheller and Dinosaur Provincial Park?
Dinosaur Park offers a much greater opportunity to observe (and even locate!) actual dinosaur fossils in situ, Drumheller has a superior museum with limited natural fossils in comparison to DPP. Also, Visitors can stay at the badlands at the campground of Dinosaur Provincial Park.
Does Dinosaur Provincial Park have showers?
Booth services, firewood sales, showers, and flush toilets are provided until October 30. Electricity connections are provided all year. The sani-dump station is open year-round for dumping, however, there is no water for washing from late October to early May.
Is there wifi at Dinosaur Provincial Park camping?
Wi-Fi hot spots are available in the Visitor Centre (both inside and outside at the picnic tables), the campsite, and the Cretaceous Café
Is Dinosaur Provincial Park worth visiting?
Dinosaur Provincial Park stands out among Alberta’s provincial parks. Dinosaur Provincial Park is worth a visit for individuals of all ages, whether you are a paleontology or geology expert or simply a bunch of self-proclaimed fossil hunters with a passion for history.
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