Get to know the enchanging landscapes of Big Sky Country and the Rocky Mountains on this 12-day guided adventure through Alberta. Traverse the fossil-bearing outcrops, grassy plateaus, and steep coulees that make Dinosaur Provincial Park so iconic and explore southern Alberta’s badlands, including a visit to the famous Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller. Then go beyond the ordinary to dig for fossils with world-renowned experts on an authentic dinosaur dig in the province’s north. End the epic trip with a relaxing stay in the beauty of the Canadian Rockies.
Day 1: Calgary
Welcome to Calgary, Alberta, Canada! Our group will be converging on Calgary throughout the day today. Dinosaur Trips will pick you up at the airport and take you to one of Calgary’s leading hotels to give you some time to settle in and explore the city at your own pace. We will convene that evening for a welcome drink and introductions, and we’ll map out the journey ahead of us for the days to come.
Day 2: Dinosaur Provincial Park
Starting this morning, all meals are included, and that begins with our kick-off brunch. We’ll enjoy Calgary’s best brunch spot as we’re joined by a local fossil hunter who will regale us with stories and samples from their finds, and give us a sense of a lay of the land as we prepare to head out into the Badlands & Beyond!
After brunch, we leave the city behind and make our way east, stopping along the way for some light hiking as we get our first taste of the Badlands and the environment, refueling in Drumheller, before arriving at Dinosaur Provincial Park for a gorgeous golden hour trip into the Park that gives us the opportunity to see the Badlands through the perspective of the Blackfoot First Nation.
We’ll head into the restricted access Natural Preserve, where our interpreter will guide us on a light hike, taking in the diminishing rays of evening light on the hoodoos, while learning about the cultural significance of this unique landscape to its original stewards.
We will comfort camp inside the Park, and as we gather around the campfire and under the stars, we’ll all raise a glass of Alberta’s finest whisky – or your drink of choice, of course – to our first day in the Badlands.
Day 3: Explore Dinosaur Provincial Park
We’ll wake as the sun rises up over Big Sky Country, Canada to the smell of coffee and a delightful breakfast in the Badlands, before we set back out into Dinosaur Provincial Park to venture off the beaten path on a four-hour hike exploring the wild terrain with a knowledgeable guide. Our hike will traverse the fossil-bearing outcrops,the grassy plateaus, and the steep coulees that make Dinosaur Provincial Park so iconic, spotting Alberta wildlife, fossils in the rock, and awe-inspiring panoramas along the way.
After lunch in the Park, you’ll have time to explore the Visitor Centre, John Ware’s Cabin, and the rest of the Park on your own before another evening spent around the campfire and under the stars.
Day 4: Drumheller
After another morning enjoying breakfast al fresco Alberta-style, we’ll make our way northwest back across the province to “The Dinosaur Capital of the World” – Drumheller, Alberta, home of The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, arguably the greatest dinosaur museum on the planet. And the good folks at the Museum have put together a program tailor-made just for us!
We are really excited about this special programming, as we’ll get incredible access to the Museum and its paleontologists on an exclusive guided tour of the iconic gallery, during special fossil identification activities, and on our sunset hike.
We’ll also sit down for dinner at the museum where we’ll learn more about our paleontologist guides’ work, research being carried out at the Museum, and – per our Dinosaur Trips mission – how we can all help to further support and elevate dinosaur research in Western Canada.
Then we’ll settle in for the night at one of Drumheller’s quaint country inns before heading much further north in the morning.
Day 5-9: Grande Prairie for a Real Dinosaur Dig
Today we leave the Badlands behind as we head into the Beyond portion of our adventure, making our way back to Calgary to catch our flights up to Grande Prairie and Wembley where we’ll join the Dinosaur Research Institute for our 5-night, 4-day fossil dig with an all-star list of dinosaur experts that includes Dr. Philip Currie, Dr. Eva Koppelhus, and Dr. Corwin Sullivan of the Phillip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum. You’ll be digging with Dr. Currie and his colleagues in the Pipestone Creek Bonebed, which is one of the densest mass fossil sites in the world!
This part of the trip will be coordinated by Mona Trick of the Dinosaur Research Institute. As part of our company commitment to advancing dinosaur research in the places we explore, 100% of the proceeds from this portion of the trip will go directly to the Dinosaur Research Institute. Dinosaur Trips will help coordinate your payment of this portion of the trip with the Dinosaur Research Institute – rather than Dinosaur Trips – and you’ll receive a Canadian charitable tax donation receipt for a portion of the fees.
We’ll be joining an authentic fossil dig for these four days and therefore accommodations, meals, and transportation will all be consistent with all the bona fides of a genuine dinosaur dig experience, and all provided by the Dinosaur Research Institute.
Across the four days of digging, special museum access, and meals with the rest of the expedition team, we’ll learn all about the dinosaurs of northern Alberta from world-renowned scientists; we will peruse the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum galleries, collection and preparation areas; search for tiny fossils using microscopes at the Museum; explore the Wapiti River by raft; search for fossils near a dinosaur quarry; and hike and explore the Kleskun Hill Natural Area.
Day 10-11: Banff, Canmore & Kananaskis
After four days and five nights spent getting our hands good and dirty fossil hunting in northern Alberta, we’ll catch our flights south once more as we lean into a few days of pampering and chasing a couple more adventures at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.
Enjoy the spa and amenities at the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, part of the Autograph Collection Hotels, a “global collection of distinctive independent hotels carefully crafted to leave a lasting imprint” as we cap off our adventure.
Besides leaning into some real rest and relaxation around the Lodge and picturesque Canmore, you’ll also have the chance to saddle-up for a horse ride in the shadow of the Canadian Rockies and delve into the earth for a deep caving adventure.
We’ll cap it all off, raising our glasses one final time to the incredible experience, to our new found friendships, and to our prehistoric discoveries.
Day 12: Return Home
After breakfast, we’ll head back to the Calgary airport for our respective flights home.
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