I’ve been to Drumheller and area a few times now, but never once stopped in at the Atlas Coal Mine until June of 2014. If you’re in the area, I’d highly recommend it as a must-see part of your journey through the Alberta Badlands!
It’s an easy find from anywhere in Alberta, and there are a lot of different ways to get there including main highways and back country gravel roads. Simply do a search for Drumheller in your GPS/maps and plot a course. You’ll want to take Hwy 10 East, following the scenic Hoodoo Trail. Just across the river, watch for the signs!
This was done over a weekend trip from Edmonton. I didn’t map out the exact route I took, but it consisted mostly of main roads to Drumheller. Nothing exciting for photos.
It was a weekend in June when I was here, and I was suprised that the place wasn’t packed with tourists. All that much better as I really dislike the crowds.
You do need to pay for admission into the area and for the guided tour, but as mentioned, I highly recommend the visit – so cough up the few dollars it costs and enjoy.
There are a few areas to roam around while waiting for your tour to start:
The tour takes you through the different buildings on the site including the wooden tipple.
The guides are well versed in the history of the mine and the era, and it’s quite interesting learning about the history of the mine and the way of life here.
There was a Drumheller festival going on and many camp sites were full. A couple of spaces available at the camp site right in the town of Drumheller, so I grabbed one and set up for the night. In retrospect, I should have found a secluded area out of town and just popped up the tent and camped there.
You can’t visit Drumheller without climbing the stairs of the giant t-rex and having a look from its mouth.
Had to return ‘home’, so I took a leisurely drive through the hoodoo’s:
Walked the Star Mine suspension bridge and explored some surrounding abandoned remains:
There is a lot of interesting things to see in the area. Be certain you explore thoroughly, and don’t forget to walk the old railway bridge. Just watch your step!
I’d definitely take this trip again and highly recommend the Atlas Coal Mine tour to others interested in mines and history. You can visit the official Atlas Coal Mine web site here.
My cameras were not fully charged when I went here, so I had to resort to poor cell phone photos. I’ll spare the blurry, poor lit shots in my post here, but you can flip through many more of varied quality on Flickr here.