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stillhouse Feb 16th, 2004 03:44 PM

Any dinosaur lovers out there? I'm having trouble deciding how/whether to fit a trip to Drumheller and Dinosaur National Park into our trip.

We get into Calgary around 2pm and plan to spend two nights in Banff, hiking, taking gondola, seeing historic sites, etc.

Third and fourth nights are in Lake Louise where we plan to do various hikes.

Fifth night is at Emerald Lake Lodge following a half day of rafting and half day of Yoho National Park highlights.

Nights six,seven, and eight are in Jasper with a full day driving the Icefields Parkway and then hiking in the Jasper area.

That leaves night nine near Calgary before we leave at 12 the next day. I've been trying to change my flight to give me an extra night but so far no luck.

Options: 1) Cut Banff area down to one night and have two at the end to visit Drumheller/Dino Natl Park.

2) Cut Jasper nights down to two and visit Drumheller/Dino.

3) Drive from Jasper to Drumheller (seven hours?) the last day and still spend the night in Calgary-skip Dino. National Park.

4) Don't go. I'm really reluctant not to because I don't know if we'll have the oppt not to go back.

Dinosaur lovers-what do you think? Last year we were in Nova Scotia and my son still reminds me that I failed to book a fossil tour that I had considered.

Judy_in_Calgary Feb 16th, 2004 05:02 PM

Stillhouse, I think the dinosaur stuff in Drumheller is really worthwhile, all the more so if one member of the touring party is particularly interested in fossils. I think it's worth shaving bits here and there from the rest of the trip in order to fit in the dinosaurs. I also recommend going to Drumheller first, because the drive across the prairie would be a let down after the mountains. This is how I think you could do it.

1 On arrival in Calgary, drive straight to Drumheller. If budget permits, stay at charming Heartwood Inn. Otherwise stay at one of the very ordinary but nevertheless clean and okay motels in Drumheller.

2 Spend all day in dinosaur country. In the late afternoon / early evening do the 2.5 to 3 hour drive from Drumheller to Banff. Summer days here are very long, and I'm sure you'll be up to it.

3 Spend day exploring Banff and its surroundings. Drive to Lake Louise that evening.

4 Hike around LL. Overnight again in LL. From here on in, your itinerary is the same as it was before.

5 Emerald Lake Lodge

6 Jasper

7 Jasper

8 Jasper

9 Calgary (You might consider staying in Canmore rather than Calgary, to squeeze out some more hours in the mountains. With your noon flight the next day, even considering that you'd need to get to the airport 2 hours before your flight, you easily could drive straight from Canmore to the airport.)

10 Depart

brookwood Feb 16th, 2004 06:38 PM

I have done all of it that you describe.
Only I had the luxury of more time.
First let me say that I think Drumheller and the Royal Tyrrell Museum is a great trip objective. If you like the subject, I think you will be cheating yourself if you don't go there.

You might consider two nights in Jasper.
The three main attractions near there are Mount Edith Cavell and the Angel Glacier, the Whistler with its tram car, and Lake Maligne.
You could do all of those in one day, actually.

Then drive back down the Icefields Parkway to The Crossing and take the David Thompson Hightway to Rocky Mountain House, and skirt Red Deer on the secondary roads. Pick out a route to Drumheller that by passes the larger towns. You can make that in one day. I did it as I recall.

I think trying to make it to Dinonsaur would be a bit much because it is a long drive from Drumheller and the Tyrrell Museum.

You can spend several hours at the Tyrrell Museum and enjoy all of the exhibits.

I have been there twice, and I could stand a third trip I think.

The so called back roads of Alberta, once you are out of the foothills, tend to be good roads, flat and straight. So don't hesitate to plot the most direct route if the road is paved. We have wandered around those byways and found that we could drive just about as fast on them as we could on the Trans Canada.
Traffic is usually light and most of it that is there moves faster than I want to.

April Feb 16th, 2004 08:27 PM

I'm not even a dinosaur lover but I loved the Royal Tyrrell Museum, hoodoos and surrounding area. I'd be inclined to reduce the time in Jasper.

Judy_in_Calgary Feb 16th, 2004 09:52 PM

Oh my gosh, Stillhouse, I just realised something. You're going to Emerald Lake Lodge, aren't you? You won't be far from Field. From there, if you are fit enough, you can go on a hike to the Burgess Shale. I haven't done it myself, but I have numerous friends who have done it and enjoyed it. It's on my to do list.

The thing that's exciting about the Burgess Shale is that they have a large scale model of it at the Royal Tyrrell Museum. That is to say, the Burgess Shale now is rock. But millions of years ago it was an ocean. What they have at the museum is a pool with animated models of the sea creatures that used to inhabit that ocean swimming around in the pool. The animated models are several times larger than the real creatures were, for the sake of easy visibility in the pool.

Anyway, I think it would be exciting to see the exhibit in the museum and then to relate it to in situ rock formations that you'll encounter later in your trip. Young friends of mine (elementary school students through teenagers) who have been to the Burgess Shale have been very excited to find trilobites amongst the rocks.

brookwood Feb 17th, 2004 08:36 AM

Does anybody know if the Burgess Shale Learning Center in Field ever got more than 6 inches off the ground?
I went there a few years ago and got to see some of the fossils still in the rock matrix, but I don't know what really happened to the effort.

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