The Badlands Trail
Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta
Located in the south east part of Alberta, the Badlands Trail in Dinosaur Provincial Park is pretty self explanatory. The looped path takes you through the badlands in short. Located along the scenic drive section of the park past the campground, this trail borders the nature preserve. Before I get into specifics and details of what you'll see along the way, it's important to remember to always obey the posted signs here. They explicitly state that you are not to go off the trail, as the preserve is off limits to anyone but park staff, tour groups, and scientists.
The start of the trail is marked by this cool looking sign.
While there isn't a whole lot of elevation gain on this short hike, there are other factors to be aware of. Since the temperature of the badlands can get extremely hot, make sure you have an adequate supply of water, a hat, and definitely apply some sunscreen! The first section of the trail is probably the least impressive, since you are walking up a small hill.
The trail has a variety of interpretive signs along the way, giving information about the badlands and the fossils found here.
After a short bit of the hike, you'll be faced with a decision, to either head left or go right. The trail is a loop, so either way you'll end up coming back out to the other side of what you choose. When I did this hike I chose to go left.
The hoodoos and cool rock formations you'll see on this hike.
You'll begin to start seeing weird rock and sand formations as you make your way along the trail. One of the things I love about the badlands is that they feel "otherworldly" in terms of their natural features.
The barriers on the left of this picture serve as a reminder to stay on the path and not explore off of it.
Like I mentioned before, there isn't a whole lot of elevation gain on this hike, but you'll occasionally walk up small hills and such. As you continue on, you begin to see more and more sandstone ridges cut with rills. Rills are what I consider the "veins" of the sandstone, at least that's what they look like to me.
While in spots like this leaving the path may be tempting, just don't do it.
Later in the hike you'll come to the most impressive part, where you're walking on sandstone in among the hoodoos and rock formations instead of seeing them from afar.
This section is easily the most impressive on the hike.
As you can see from the above picture, the sandstone formations are quite the sight to behold. You'll make your way from here to where the trails intersected, and then make your way back to the trailhead. Really this hike is great for families, because young kids should easily be able to do it and it'll give them a sense of adventure when exploring the badlands. Regardless of age though, I think hiking this trail when coming to Dinosaur Provincial Park is a must for everyone to experience at least once.
Enjoyed the Badlands Trail guide? Watch a video of my last trip to Dinosaur Provincial Park below!