When most people think of “Alberta”, images of picturesque mountain lakes, refreshing waterfalls, and striking prairie sunsets naturally pop into their minds. (Meanwhile, people who haven’t been to Canada simply believe the entire country is an Arctic tundra, but I digress.) The beauty of the Albertan badlands shouldn’t go unnoticed. After a day of exploring Dinosaur Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, I thought I would share some safety tips and fun facts about this outlandish travel destination. Here are 5 things every outdoor enthusiast should know about the badlands of Alberta:
1.) The badlands used to be completely submerged in water!
Today, Dinosaur Provincial Park sits at about 2,000 feet above sea level. 75 million years ago, the badlands were a subtropical paradise featuring lush palm trees and ferns, similar to northern Florida today.
2.) You might find dinosaur bones!
… In case you were wondering why this place made it to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, this park is home to the highest concentration of Cretaceous fossils in the world. Dinosaur Provincial Park features exhibits about dinosaurs, fossils, and the geology of the park. Visitors can even take part in authentic dinosaur bone digs!
3.) Summer temperatures in this lunar landscape can shoot up to 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit)!
Having said that, make sure to drink plenty of water and lather on sunscreen during the summer months. In the winter season, the temperature can drop to -32 degrees Celsius (-25 degrees Fahrenheit), so make sure to plan your trip accordingly.
4.) Hoodoos, low-lying coulees, and isolated mesas will have you feeling like you’re walking on the moon!
Popular trails including Badlands Trail, Cottonwood Flats, Coulee Viewpoint, and the Trail of the Fossil Hunters can be hiked all year round!
5.) Beware of rattlesnakes, bullsnakes, and scorpions!
Don’t let this fact deter you from exploring, though. In reality, there have only been four reported cases of rattlesnake bites in Dinosaur Provincial Park, with a grand total of zero deaths. In case you do get bitten, keep calm and carry on. Increasing your heart rate will cause the rattlesnake venom to spread through your body at a faster rate. On the other hand, bullsnakes love to make appearances at camp sites, though they are not venomous. Scorpions in the area are diminutive and transparent, and it’s quite rare to encounter one.
Truth be told, I would worry more about the pesky mosquitoes in the air rather than the creepy crawlers on the ground. Make sure you’re armed with bug spray!
Thanks for reading and if you want to see more astro photos, read Alberta By Night!
For other must-see destinations in Alberta, make sure to check out my other posts in the #LuluLivesHere series.
Photography by Francis Ymbang