10 Badlands Must-Dos From an Expert Storyteller

Canadian badlands
Canadian badlands
Explore the Canadian Badlands

10 Badlands Must-Dos From an Expert Storyteller

Jaybo Russell shares his top tips for exploring the prairies and badlands just outside of Calgary.

Want to know what’s so special about the Canadian Badlands? Look no further than Jaybo Russell (@jayborussell). The storyteller and historian came to visit 20 years ago and has never left. He’s even writing a book on the entire social history of Drumheller. Unearth Jaybo’s top tips for exploring the prairies and badlands, located just outside of Calgary.

1. See the Fossils at the Royal Tyrell Museum

Insider Tip: The Royal Tyrrell Museum houses over forty mounted dinosaur skeletons in “Dinosaur Hall” including the 2017 addition of a well-preserved nodosaur.

Royal Tyrell Museum Fossil

The Royal Tyrrell Museum

2. Catch a Theatre Show at Rosebud



Rosebud Theatre

Rosebud Theatre

3. Escape to Escape This! 

Escape This! Drumheller is one of those attractions that makes Drumheller such a great multi-day destination. The award winning Escape This! Features four unique escape rooms - three of which highlight some of Drumheller’s famous - or perhaps infamous history. Relive the days of coal mining with Coal Heist, or the Prohibition-era themed Mary’s Place, or perhaps put on your thinking cap to solve the Dino Mystery. The fourth escape room features the whimsical, fantasy-based Through the Looking Glass. Find the White Rabbit’s pocket watch before it’s too late! When my friends and family come to town, I bring them to Escape This! Drumheller."

The staff at the Atlas Coal Mine after they successfully conquered Escape This! 

The staff at the Atlas Coal Mine after they successfully conquered Escape This! 

4. Relive the past at Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site 

Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site and a cat

Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site

5. Get Schooled on East Coulee History 

6. Marvel at the Hoodoos

“There are many places to view the badlands and hike. The Hoodoo Recreation Area near East Coulee is the most popular stop for viewing our unique geological history. For those who want something off the beaten path, but easy to access and photograph, Chimney Rock is part of a small cluster of hoodoos about 500m south of the Atlas Coal Mine.” 


Hoodoos in the Canadian Badlands.

7. Hit the water with Red Deer River Adventures 

Insider Tip: Rent a kayak or canoe for your own adventure or book a guided tour of the Alberta Badlands by water. Tours range from two hours to a full day.  

8. Meet the World's Largest Dinosaur 

“First Stop in Drumheller should always be the World's Largest Dinosaur. This is home to Drumheller's Tourist Information Centre. The folks there are well-versed in all the cool stuff available in the Drumheller region and are happy to assist in planning your adventures in the Canadian Badlands. Yes, they know the touristy stuff, but they also can suggest locations for photographs, and assist in getting you off the beaten path.”

Drumheller Dinosaur

The World's Largest Dinosaur in Drumheller.

9. Drive the Dinosaur and Hoodoo Trails 

“There are three main driving circuits in the Drumheller Valley and they will lead you to most of the stuff you wish to see and do. North and South Dinosaur Trails highlight the Badlands around Drumheller while the Hoodoo Trail leads visitors to East Coulee.”

Want to ask a question about exploring the Canadian Badlands or see more stories from Jaybo? Find him on Instagram @jayborussell

10. Take a Hike at Horseshoe Canyon

“I recommend hiking around Horseshoe Canyon. Horseshoe Canyon is protected by the Nature Conservancy of Canada with several trails to explore in and around the Canyon. I suggest hiking the ridge to the west of the Canyon for great views and choices of trailheads to descend into the Valley. Easiest trail is the new trailhead from the parking lot. Stairs, a wide platform and easy trails lead hikers into to the canyon bottom. Be prepared to see fascinating rock formations, songbirds, and wildflowers.”

Horseshoe Canyon

Horseshoe Canyon