You know those campgrounds that you return to again and again? Dinosaur Provincial Park is one those campgrounds for us. Even after this year’s trip, we were already planning next year’s trip – excited to see how much higher we can climb, what else we can explore and take part in another excursion into the Natural Preserve.
You’ll know when you get there, they said. We did. You’re heading over the farm land in the area and all of the sudden you enter the badlands and it’s all hoodoos and cliffs as far as the eye can see. The new landscapes are even more exciting when you’re actually staying overnight there. The signs about the rattlesnakes? Don’t let them scare you too much, we didn’t even see one while we were exploring the park.
Steps Away from the Badlands
You’re in the midst of the badlands. The Dinosaur Provincial Park campground is on 20km of the Badlands that can be accessed by the public. Depending on where you’re camping (south campsites are closer to being on the badlands, you’re just a creek, or a set of stairs away from exploring the Alberta Badlands.
There’s a creek throughout the campground that’s perfect for wading. Easily walked across in most areas, watch for those areas that are a bit deeper, so you might end up jumping in to save a laughing child that would have swam out themselves – thank goodness for the next one.
Dinosaur Provincial Park has the largest population of Cottonwood Trees in North America. The campsites near S45 where we stayed had a constant flow of ‘fuzzy snow’ as the kids called it from these trees. They provided wonderful shade and were large enough for a large hammock to be used in between. Plus, they’re perfect for climbing.
The showers are helpful for those situations when you’ve jumped into the creek to save your child even though they laughed and were on the way to swim out. Other amenities in the campground include the canteen with yummy breakfast, deep fried pickles and ice cream. At the canteen, you can find the things you may have forgotten at home, like matches or dish soap.
We spent the weekend at the campground, spent time at the visitor center, took a bus tour of the Natural Preserve and hiked through the campground, exploring Coulee trail and the 3km dinosaur loop. We searched for cacti, we played in the water, and immediately found wildlife. With so much to do inside the campground, and around to explore, it’s an easy weekend filled with fun.
You’re going to be able to exhaust the kids every night so they will sleep in the next morning. Well, that’s what we did. The kids slept past eight both mornings we were there, and woke up ready to run out of the tent, find their new friends, have breakfast and explore some more. We climbed small hills, we climbed big sandstone sides of tiny mountains, we climbed stairs and we climbed more. It’s a kid’s dream!
If you’re not up for traditional camping, or don’t want to bring along the supplies required, give comfort camping a try. They’re tents with beds, refrigerators and everything that you need to feel at home in Dinosaur Provincial Park – without hauling it all along with you.
You can book campsites at Dinosaur Provincial Park in their unserviced, serviced or comfort camping up to ninety days in advance. We paid $82 for two nights accommodations.