Amid the stunning landscape and abundant wildlife, camping in Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park campground is sure to be a favourite with the entire family.
Dinosaur Provincial Park is located approximately two and a half hours southeast of Calgary, Alberta. Its claim to fame, aside from the spectacular scenery is the abundance of Dinosaur fossils found in the area over the past 100 years.
Camping in such a unique environment is truly an amazing experience. Campers can have of several visitors to their campsite throughout the day or night. During a recent trip our campsite was visited by numerous Deer, a Porcupine gnawing at the bark on a nearby tree, a Pheasant, an Owl and several tiny creatures that made their presence known only by their scurrying beneath the crunchy leaves. Listen carefully and you might hear a pack of coyotes howling in the distance.
In 1979, Dinosaur Provincial Park was designated a United Nations World Heritage site. World Heritage sites are established for the protection of “significant, irreplaceable cultural and natural heritage resources on an international scale”. Other World Heritage sites include Vatican City, Yellowstone National Park and the Statue of Liberty just to name a few.
The campground offers 126 campsites divided into two loops. There are pit toilets, potable water and trash receptacles situated throughout as well as a shower house, laundry facility and convenience store near the campground entrance. Each campsite has a fire pit and picnic table but only about 75 sites have power.
The north camping loop is located near the Red Deer River and is also bordered by Little Sandhill Creek. The south loop is sandwiched between the Little Sandhill Creek and the weathered rock formations known as Hoodoos, carved by wind and rain over the centuries.
Both camping loops have several campsites which are nicely treed providing much needed shade during the blistering hot summer months when temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius. It should be noted that the campsites located along the hoodoos in the south loop can really cook on those hot summer days, but during the winter months are our preference for the very same reason.
This campground is reservation only during the Summer months so be sure to book early at Alberta Parks reserve.albertaparks.ca
There are a multitude of educational opportunities available to visitors of Dinosaur Provincial Park. From a stroll through the museum where there are numerous dinosaur fossils on display, to a 3 day guided excursion where visitors can actually dig for fossils the park offers something for everyone.
Situated throughout the park are numerous interpretive trails with signage detailing the history of the area dating back some 75 million years. There is a “public loop” road that allows visitors to travel up through the rock formations and get a closer look at the terrain. In the center of the loop are ample opportunities to get out and get some exercise scrambling up and onto the hoodoos.
All in all, Dinosaur Provincial Park is one of our favourite places to camp in Alberta, but truth be known, of the half a dozen trips we’ve made here we’ve rarely seen a leaf on a tree, preferring to visit the park during the off season. This year however, we’ve decided to visit in the heat of the summer and enjoy the park like we’ve never have before.