As you approach Drumheller, the road dips down dramatically into the Red Deer Valley, looking like a big layered cake. This community was founded on coal but now thrives on another subterranean resource – dinosaur bones. A small town set amid Alberta's enigmatic badlands, it acts as the nexus of the so-called Dinosaur Trail. Paleontology is a serious business here (the nearby fantastic Royal Tyrrell Museum is as much research center as tourist site), and downtown the cartoon dino statues on most street corners add some color and character to an otherwise average town (though the dino-related prefixes to business names is sometimes pushing it a little). And then there's the large matter of the 26m-high fiberglass Tyrannosaurus rex that haunts a large tract of downtown. But don't let the paleontological civic pride deter you: there's enough to do around here (dinosaur-related and otherwise) to keep you from dwelling on the kitsch. Add in the museums in nearby East Coulee and the ghosts of Wayne, and you've got a full itinerary.
The summers are hot, and the deep-cut river valley in which Drumheller sits provides a much-needed break to the monotony of the prairies. Hoodoos dominate this badlands landscape, which has featured in many a movie (mainly Westerns).