Horseshoe Canyon and the Dinosaur Trail

Horseshoe Canyon

17 km west of Drumheller is Horseshoe Canyon, a spectacular chasm in otherwise flat prairie. Trails lead down from the parking lot (take care, they are steep and slippery) and we set off to see if we could find the end of the canyon. We couldn’t! There were other things we wanted to do that day so eventually we gave up and turned back.

From Horseshoe Canyon, we drove back into Drumheller and crossed the Red Deer River by bridge to follow the 48 km Dinosaur Trail, a loop on both sides of the river. Our first stop was The Little Church which can seat a mere 6 people at a time.

Next, it was on to Horsethief Canyon, once a hiding place for its namesake outlaws, and an opportunity for more hiking.

There is no bridge to cross back over the river – instead the Dinosaur Trail takes you via the Bleriot Ferry, the eponymous Bleriot being André, brother of the more famous Louis who was the first man to fly the English Channel.

Once back on the south side of the river, there was just one last stop at the beautiful Orkney Viewpoint. I’d love to know how it got its name.

Then we headed back to Drumheller for our last night. Despite our misgivings when we arrived, largely because of the terrible hotel, we had a great time and could have spent longer exploring. However, we still had one more Badlands adventure to come, so the next day we were back on the road again.


  1. Jude of Heyjude just pointed out to me that you’re featuring some of the same places I’ve been highlighting. This summer I finally visited the American Badlands in South Dakota, which I’d always known about, and then became aware of the Badlands in Alberta, which I’d somehow never heard of but which gave us another incentive to visit the place along with the Canadian Rockies. I’ve slowly been showing pictures of both:


    • Thanks for the link! I’ve scrolled down and seen so many places that we’ve been, either this recent trip or previously. Amazingly, I seem to have liked a couple at the beginning so maybe Jude tipped me off then, in which case I’m sorry I didn’t follow up further. Later in the day I shall give each post the attention it deserves!


  2. Wow! Never saw any of this on our trip . . . we missed out on so much. This is just fabulous. So glad John took a picture of you inside the church as couldn’t quite work out why it only fitted six from the first few photos!


  3. it seems like we can spend more time everywhere. But, there are so many places to explore that we all have to make choices, unfortunately. It is sometimes a toss-up, knowing that “you are here now and don’t know when and if you’ll ever be back, so let’s do it in depth”, but there are so many other sites in the area as well.

    Some of these names sound familiar, as we recently came across a Horse Shoe canyon and a Horsethief trail… in the US. I wonder whether they are Native American names.


  4. Anabel, it would seem I am not the only person who loved that church, what a find 🙂 Plus, what a diverse countryside!