Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Spring Road Trip to Drumheller (and bike to a ghost town!)

Every spring we take a day trip to Drumheller to bike to the ghost town of Wayne. On the bike ride you cross 11 one-lane bridges on a scenic country road that winds its way through the badlands, making for some spectacular scenery!

Visiting the Ghost Town of Wayne near Drumheller

Road Biking to the Ghost Town of Wayne 

First up, know that you'll be biking on a shared road with vehicles. It's only a family ride if you have confident riders who can share a road with motorbikes and vehicles. There are 11 one-lane bridges that you'll have to cross, but we've always found that vehicles give us wide birth and let us cross before attempting to pass us. (Nobody is going to go ripping past you on a narrow bridge until you're off the bridge.)

Biking across one of the 11 one-lane bridges on the way to Wayne

Why Bike to Wayne (when you could drive)

We like to do things a little differently so one year we thought it would be fun to bike to Wayne for drinks at the Last Chance Saloon (completely family-friendly in case you're wondering why I am suggesting you bike to a pub.) - And the saloon has a large outdoor patio!

We discovered that it was a fun spring outing when many trails in the mountains are still snow covered. We also enjoyed biking across all the bridges (who doesn't love bridges, right?) 

Add the opportunity to bike through the badlands full of hoodoos and coulees and it's a great day trip!

The ride is also short at approximately 10 km return. The stop at the saloon breaks the trip up and it's an extremely pleasant outing.

There's also a disc golf course in Wayne should you want to bring some discs with you. 

Not your average way to ride to the Last Chance Saloon

Additional Notes about Biking to Wayne with Kids:

The motorbikes were quite scary at times when they came up behind us in groups of 10+ riders. Children with sensitivities to loud noise might not enjoy this ride. To avoid this, try visiting Wayne mid-week when it will be quieter. You can also visit in the off season when the saloon is closed (before April most years) or plan this for a fall bike ride when it might also be quieter. 

Also know that if you choose to visit the saloon, you will be visiting a "biker bar." Most visitors to Wayne arrive on motor bike and you will most likely be the only guests on "pedal bikes." There is also a very good chance that you will be the only people with children in the bar. Needless to say, language is sometimes an issue and conversations around you might not always be family-friendly. We didn't really find this to be a big problem but I would suggest going early in the day before the bar gets too busy. (Going in April will also help before the majority of bikes come out for the season.)

Overall, we find this to be an incredible experience biking through the badlands to a ghost town and we do the trip annually.

Not your "every day" experience in the Alberta Badlands

Playing Disc Golf in Wayne 

We usually bring a few discs with us for some "extreme disc golf" in Wayne. You can get a map of the course from the saloon and you can choose to just play the first 9 holes (there are 18 in total.) 

Know that this is an advanced course! You'll be throwing discs between coulees, climbing up and down between the tops of the coulees, and you'll need to be able to do some long range throws. (I've asked my husband to throw a couple discs for me in the past.) Finding discs can be a challenge too if you're not careful about watching where they land. 

We love this disc golf course because we're basically going for a hike through the badlands, throwing a few discs as we go.

I don't recommend this course if it's wet. It gets very slippery and muddy. I also recommend good shoes if you plan to play here.

Extreme disc golf in Wayne 

Option B for Biking in Drumheller (pathway riding)

For a "safer" and more "family-friendly" biking experience with young children in Drumheller, I  recommend biking the paved river parks trail system  to the Royal Tyrell Museum. We've started from McMullen Island Park but you could also start right downtown by the big dinosaur and the Visitor Centre.

Biking the River Parks Trail System in Drumheller

While the paved riverside trail is generally easy, there is one long hilly stretch leading up to the museum that younger kids may have to walk. I'd also strongly advise sending adults down the hill first on the return ride. There's one blind corner and if you're going too fast, you could easily collide with people walking or riding up.

Other than this section though, the ride is relatively flat and you can start your ride downtown by the giant dinosaur if you want to ride further. Our shortened trip from outside the town core was only 6 km return at most.

Biking to the museum in Drumheller on a scenic paved pathway

Other Fun Activities in Drumheller 

Below are suggestions for other fun activities you can try with your family while in Drumheller for a day trip.

The Drumheller Skatepark is a fun place to stop with the kids

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