Monday, May 26, 2014

Camping in the Alberta Badlands

This past weekend we traveled south to Dinosaur Provincial Park for our annual May camping trip.  With 12 families, this was our biggest Dinosaur trip yet and definitely one of the most fun. 

Hiking in Dinosaur Provincial Park

We always set up along the creek in the north loop because it's a wide open area and lets us camp as a group - without having to book an actual group site back in February!

Camping along the creek in Dinosaur Provincial Park

The kids also LOVE playing in the creek, despite the signs warning users to avoid swimming in it.  The water certainly doesn't look clean but so far nobody has gotten sick after any of our camping trips.  Fingers crossed. 

Playing in the creek at Dinosaur Provincial Park

Normally, we just let the kids dig in the mud, find toy dinosaurs that we hide for them, and play next to the creek.  This year though, the water was so high, there wasn't much sand beside the creek to play in.  Also, it was the hottest May Dinosaur trip we've ever had and this was by far the easiest way to cool the kids off.  It seriously felt like August and I can't imagine how hot Dinosaur really gets in mid-Summer!

Playing in the creek below our campsites
The other big attraction of Dinosaur is the hiking trails through the badlands.  Hoodoos, sand hills for climbing, and fun little interpretive trails make for an excellent day at camp!  And as an added bonus, you never have to get into your car as everything is within an easy walk from your campsite. 

Hiking in the Alberta Badlands
Family-friendly Hiking on the Badlands Trail
Fun for the Whole Family - Parents Included

For more information on hiking in Dinosaur Provincial Park, visit the story I wrote last year:  Hiking in Dinosaur Provincial Park

Hiking the Coulee Viewpoint Trail

New to us this year was the opportunity to bike the badlands while in Dinosaur Provincial Park.  We decided to try biking the Public Loop Road which is a shared road between cyclists, hikers, and motor vehicles.  Located right in the campground, it is the access road for three different hiking trails - all of which could be visited while on your bike ride.

Biking the Public Loop Road in Dinosaur

We biked the road early in the day and met maybe one vehicle the whole time we were on the road.  I biked it again later in the afternoon and didn't meet a single vehicle on that ride.  If riding with young children, try to choose quieter times of the day to ride the road and you will likely not have to worry about much traffic.

Biking Through the Badlands
The road was very gradual and good for a family ride
Hiking one of the trails along the Public Loop Road
Views like this made the ride absolutely spectacular!
For more information on biking and other activities you can do as a family in Dinosaur Provincial Park, visit the Park Website

For more information on camping in Dinosaur Provincial Park, read the story I wrote last year:  Camping in Dinosaur Provincial Park

Our Campsite along the creek

Final Tips on Camping in Dinosaur Provincial Park:

I've always wished that there were areas you could freely scramble, roam, and explore in this park without the constant signs asking you to stay on the trail.  Apparently, there ARE.

"Explore in the public "scramble zone" which is located inside the public loop road. This area is located east of the campground.  It's a great place to explore the badlands on your own."  (Taken from the Alberta Parks website)

Now I know what we're going to do next time we visit!

So much to explore in Dinosaur Provincial Park!

For more awesome family campgrounds in Southern Alberta, visit this link to Summer Planning: The Best Provincial Park Campgrounds in Southern Alberta

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