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Alberta, Badlands

Alberta's Buffalos and Badlands

11-day tailor-made self-drive from £1,755 pp incl. flights


Short description

Combine Alberta's Wild West heritage and myriad natural wonders


  • Explore the Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta’s Badlands
  • Visit Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo-Jump, one of the oldest bison-jump sites in Canada
  • Take in alpine beauty of Waterton Lakes National Park
  • Explore Calgary, home to Canada's cowboy culture

In Brief

  • 1 Night Calgary
  • 2 Nights Banff
  • 1 Night Drumheller
  • 2 Nights Elkwater
  • 1 Night Lethbridge
  • 2 Nights Waterton


Recommended for:
Mountains | Natural world | Self-drive

Alberta is renowned for the soaring peaks, turquoise lakes and mighty glaciers of the Rocky Mountains, the resorts of Jasper and Banff synonymous with this outdoor playground. Less well known are the 'badlands' – a landscape of towering hoodoos and ancient fossils from when dinosaurs roamed the earth. This fly-drive perfectly encapsulates these two, very different regions, beginning with a stay in Banff before heading on to Calgary, the brash, beating heart of Canada's cowboy culture. From there, the landscapes change dramatically, from the wind-sculpted valleys of Drumheller – Canada's dinosaur capital – to the prairies and plateaus of Cypress Hills provincial Park and the lush green valleys and granite peaks of Waterton Lakes. 

Day by day itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Calgary, a place buzzing with innovative energy while embracing its rich western heritage. Enjoy a visit to the iconic Calgary Tower (admission included). Another highlight worth visiting is the Heritage Park Historical Village (admission not included) on the city’s south side, a “living museum” representing turn off the-century Calgary with costumed interpreters, a steam train and scale-model sternwheeler, an old fashioned candy store and much more. In the evening, embrace Calgary’s vibrant entertainment and culinary scene

Stay: International Hotel Calgary (Superior)

Meals: B

Days 2-3
Calgary to Banff

Take the short (2-hour) drive from Calgary to Banff on either the TransCanada Highway or the more scenic 1A Highway. Once in Banff proceed to your selected hotel to check in and the rest of the day is yours to explore at your own leisure.

Next day explore Banff and the surrounding area. In town you’ll find lots of excitement including shopping, cafés, nightlife and museums. Check out the Cave and Basin National Historic Site (not included), Banff Gondola (included) where you will see a panoramic view of the Bow Valley, and then take a dip in the restorative hot mineral pools at the Upper Hot Springs (included)

Stay: Buffalo Mountain Lodge (Superior)

Day 4

Depart Banff, heading east toward Drumheller. There is nowhere quite like the Drumheller Valley; Dinosaur Capital of Canada! Being here will take you into another world - the world of startling contrasts between the deep past and the exciting present. Rolling fields suddenly give way to steep, dry coulees ridged with the strata of hundreds of years of erosion by time, wind and water. Don’t miss the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology (included) - Canada’s largest dinosaur museum where you can journey through time and come face-to-face with incredible creatures that lived millions of years ago.

Stay: Canalta Jurassic Hotel (Superior)

Meals: B

Days 5-6
Cypress Hills Provincial Park

A morning tour brings you into the Dinosaur Provincial Park to explore a landscape of ancient fossils, deep river canyons and wind-sculpted hoodoos. You’ll then head south to Cypress Hills Provincial Park, a region of plateaus and plains in Alberta’s spectacular southern reaches. Perhaps hire a mountain bike, paddle board or kayak for a day of independent exploration, or join an interpretive hike before heading to the Camp Cookhouse for an optional gourmet dining experience prepared by a top Canadian chef.

Stay: Elkwater Lake Lodge & Resort (Superior)

Day 7
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park

Today’s drive brings you along the Red Coat Trail to the Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, home to the largest concentration of rock art on the Alberta plains. Options abound for exploring this archaeological preserve, with interpretive-centre visits and aboriginal-led hikes bringing you along ancient hoodoo trails and past rushing rivers before your final drive of the day, a short hop to Lethbridge, where you’ll spend the night.

Stay: Coast Lethbridge Hotel (Superior)

Days 8-9
Waterton Lakes National Park

Pausing to visit the frontier outpost of Fort Whoop-Up, whose erstwhile inhabitants of illegal whiskey and firearms traders were ably policed by Canada’s fist Mounties, today’s journey sees you through the Great Plains to Waterton Lakes National Park. Mirroring the vast landscapes of Montana’s Glacier National Park, which itself is just a short drive across the border, this is a vast region of alpine forests, plunging cliffs and soaring peaks peppered by rushing waterfalls and sparkling rivers. It’s best explored on a network of hiking trails that range from challenging full-day treks to gentle lakeside strolls. And, if that all sounds too much, perhaps take it all in with a visit to the Prince of Wales Hotel, famed for its spectacular views and indulgent afternoon teas.

Stay: Bayshaw Inn (Superior)

Days 10-11

Travel north to take in the wonderfully named Head-Smashed-in Buffalo Jump. Included entry brings you right into this World Heritage site, where a local guided will share the story of the region’s native people and their unique hunting practices. Then, head back to Calgary to board your overnight flight home, arriving in the UK on day 11.



Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Superior

11-day tailor-made self-drive from £1,755 incl. flights


Low Season

from £1,755 pp. incl. flights

High Season

from £2,515 pp. incl. flights

Validity :  16 May - 01 Sep 2019

Includes :

  • Complimentary access to UK airport departure lounge
  • Return flights from UK to Calgary
  • 10 days car hire
  • Accommodation for 9 nights 
  • Admission to Head Smashed-in Buffalo Jump interpretive centre
  • Admission to either Banff Upper Hot Springs or Miette Hot Springs in Jasper
  • Admission to Royal Tyrrell Museum
  • Admission to Calgary Tower
  • Banff Gondola
  • 2 hour bus tour in Dinosaur Provincial Park

Terms & Conditions

Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

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