Back in August, I visited my family in Kelowna, BC. When I came home, my sister Stephanie tagged along with me. One of the things we love to do most when my family visits, is take a drive out to Dinosaur Provincial Park. We mainly go for the hiking, but own really clear nights, the stargazing is to die for out there!! And it becomes a very popular place in the summertime for camping, and guided tours!!
Growing up, we never really left Kelowna. My Dad always said that we lived in the perfect place; the lake in the summertime and Big White for skiing int he winter. When I moved out to Alberta and was introduced to new experiences (such as hiking big mountains and stargazing in the prairies), I found I didn't want to ever move back.
Dinosaur Park is one of my favourite places around the area. The drive is about 35-45 minutes north-east from Brooks. You pass by plenty of farms and ranches, and the little town of Patricia, as well (they have the coolest little bar there too). As you get closer to the valley you start to notice the coulees. For those who have never seen them before, it's definitely a sight to behold.
At the top of the park is a lookout point where you can get a good view of the majority of the park. But the best part is driving down the steep hill into the park, where you can take EVERYTHING in!!
There are four main hiking areas that anyone from the public can access; the Coulee Viewpoint trail behind the Visitor's Centre, the Badlands Trail, the Fossil Hunter's Trail where you can climb over coulees, and the Cottonwoods Flats Trail. Each trail is so entirely different, and in the Fall, the trees surrounding the Red Deer River are just ablaze in those stunning reds, yellows, and oranges!! Never mind the fact that it's an entirely new world when you visit in the wintertime!!
One of my favourite memories from some of the first times Cal took me out to the park was when he decided that the mule deer that lived in the area were now considered "raptors". It still cracks me up to this day, and it's one of my favourite things to tell people when I describe the park to them. They all think I'm nuts though, haha!!