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The Badlands of Canada

By Linda Tancs

Badlands are a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water. In Canada, they’re particularly prevalent along the Red Deer River in Drumheller, Alberta. Overall, they span east from Drumheller to the Saskatchewan border and south to the United States. Legend has it that the term “badlands” there originates from early French explorers who considered the region’s steep-sloped mesas and deep, winding gullies as “bad lands to cross.” That’s hardly the sentiment today, with hiking being a key attraction. Head to Drumheller, touted as the best of the badlands, where Horseshoe Canyon provides a dramatic introduction to the terrain. Its sand and clay formed the internationally recognized hoodoos, which you can navigate via a heavily trafficked loop trail. You can also walk, bike or splash your way through 11 miles of pathways. Get your maps and guides from the Visitor Information Centre, which is located at the base of an 86-foot-high fiberglass Tyrannosaurus rex that is considered to be the world’s largest dinosaur. The views from its jaws aren’t bad, either.

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