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Red Coats and Coulees

A circle tour from Medicine Hat and Walsh area features the Canadian Badlands' best-loved provincial parks: Cypress Hills, Writing-on-Stone and Dinosaur. From a land untouched by the last ice age and ancient native rock art to the lively city of Medicine Hat where all can look forward to festivals, shopping, and the historic downtown, there is something for everyone on this road trip!

The Canadian Badlands Touring Routes aim to follow good secondary highways and occasionally, offer gravel-road alternatives. Please drive carefully and respect private property. Every effort has been made to ensure accurate information at the time of publication. You are advised to conduct further research in advance. We are unable to accept responsibility for any inconvenience, loss or injury sustained as a result of anyone relying upon this information.

Tour Route

1. Day One highlights | Walsh/Medicine Hat to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park

Métis traders, European explorers, and Mounties have left their mark in this south-eastern corner of the Canadian Badlands. Who would expect a forest and a lake on the prairie? Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is alive with wildlife, and people engaging in a variety of activities such as camping, biking, hiking canoeing, boating, swimming, and horseback riding.  Due to its elevation, some nights are paradise for star-gazers. If you’re not the camping type you can stay in Elkwater Lake Lodge and “rough it.”

Another area highlight is the Fort Walsh National Historic Site. The Northwest Mounted Police once lived in high style with a bed made of thick branches, a wool blanket, and a rifle of course.  No paper plates for these fellows, they ate their meals on fine china and played cards, read and wrote letters by kerosene lamps.  A life for the adventurous with a hardy heart.

2. Day Two highlights | Cypress Hills/Medicine Hat to Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, up pops another geographic wonder!  Lots more than gophers here!  You might see bats, pronghorn, deer, skunks, racoons, beavers, deer mouse, salamanders, frogs, toads, bull snakes & prairie rattlesnakes.  This region is sacred to the Blackfoot people and you can see the petroglyphs on the rocks as you explore. You can go for a float down the Milk River, camp, bird watch, canoe or kayak. Lots here to see and do in the Canadian Badlands.

3. Day Three highlights | Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park to Dinosaur Provincial Park

Dinosaurs play the starring role in a visit to Devil’s Coulee and UNESCO World Heritage Site Dinosaur Provincial Park. Wonder at dinosaur eggs at the Devil’s Coulee near Warner, and then travel to Scandia to visit the Eastern Irrigation District Historical Park. The final destination of the day is Dinosaur Provincial Park, where dinosaur fossils beckon the sharp-eyed fossil hunter on a guided hike or bus tour through Alberta’s paleontological treasure

4. Day Four highlights | Dinosaur Park to Medicine Hat

Dinosaurs give way to a lively city based on another prehistoric commodity; natural gas. After visiting the Canadian Badlands’ natural wonders over the last few days, enjoy the arts and heritage of Medicine Hat, a city "with all hell for a basement," according to poet Rudyard Kipling. Tour the Medicine Hat Clay Industries National Historic District and enjoy live theatre at the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre in Medicine Hat. Be sure to check out the world’s largest Teepee, the Saamis Teepe, adjacent to the Medicine Hat Visitor’s Centre.

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