Ride Difficulty Rating: Beginner to Intermediate
Distance: 47.7 Km
Estimated time: 3.5 Hrs Based on cycling speed of 15 km/hr (Incl. Ferry crossing and steep climb up the embankment)
Elevation Gain: 400 m
Maximum Elevation: 824m
Maximum Grade: 13.8%
Best Parking Option: The Visitor Information Centre (60 1st Ave W, Drumheller, AB) Look for the world’s largest dinosaur!
Points of Interest: Landforms along the route, Tyrrell Museum, Bleriot Ferry
Amenities: Bathrooms at the visitor’s centre.
Comments from our test riders:
Beginner Road Cyclist: I had to walk my bike on the steep incline after getting off the Ferry!
Intermediate Road Cyclist: This was an amazing workout with unique scenery!
Expert Road Cyclist: Great early season ride and loved those steep grades.
What to expect from this ride
Cycling the Badlands has to be one of the best ways to experience this geologic wonderland. The unique land forms and spectacular views are displayed all along this route. The historic Bleriot Ferry ride across the Red Deer River makes this trip one of a kind.
The total distance for this ride is 48 Km. There are two challenging hills as you climb out of the Red Deer River valley onto the escarpment and then when you debark from the Bleriot Ferry and climb back up for the return trip. All of that elevation gain is then translated into lovely downhill stretches that fully compensate for your efforts. A maximum grade of 13.8% can be experienced if you go counterclockwise at 26 Km when you climb up from River to start the South half of the Dinosaur Trail. Parking is available at the Drumheller Visitor Centre (Look for the “World’s Largest Dinosaur”). It is the perfect spot to pick up a map and chat to the experts at the centre to verify the Bleriot Ferry hours and road conditions. It is recommended that the loop be ridden counterclockwise since there are rumble strips along the North uphill section. It is easier to avoid these bumps on the climb up (you may have to ride slightly on the outside of the shoulder since it is narrow and the rumble strips take up this space). The ideal time to do this ride is early season before the valley heats up (and it does get very hot during the Summer). Alternatively, a cool day in the Summer in Calgary becomes a comfortable day to do the ride in Drumheller (check the weather reports before planning a trip!). This road can get busy since it is a recommended tourist scenic route and accesses the Royal Tyrrell Museum, hikes, and other points of interest in the Badlands. Fortunately the traffic is slow moving and if you ride single file and start early, the trip will be even more enjoyable. Completing the loop on the South side of the river is a downhill run with a large shoulder and no rumble strips to interfere with your stability. There is more traffic so be visible and ride single file!