This can be a 1-day cruise or a weekend getaway. From Calgary, take hwy 2 north to secondary rd 567, then go east until you hit hwy 9. Turn north and follow hwy 9 all the way to Drumheller. If you have the time, make sure you stop at Pioneer Acres just north of Irricana. You can't miss the truck and tractor on top of 10 meter poles at the entrance.
It is also home to the Royal Tyrrell museum, one of the largest dinosaur museums in North America with over 40 mounted dinosaur skeletons.
(Courtesy of Wikipedia) South of the traffic bridge over the Red Deer river on Highway 9 is the World's Largest Dinosaur, a 26.2 metres (86 ft) high fiberglass Tyrannosaurus rex that can be entered for a view of the Badlands. Tourist attractions also include the Star Mine Suspension Bridge, Atlas Coal Mine, Reptile World, Canadian Badlands Passion Play, Horseshoe Canyon, Horse Thief Canyon, hoodoos,Bleriot Ferry, East Coulee School Museum, Homestead Museum, and Little Church which is capable of seating only six patrons.
Your trip to the badlands would not be complete without driving Hwy 10X with its 9 bridges in 5 km/3.5 mi and a stop at the "Last Chance Saloon" for one of their famous bison burgers. The Last Chance Saloon is part of the Rosedeer Hotel which is home to a ghost living on it's third floor.
You can take Hwy 56 south to Hwy 561, than go west to Wheatland County where it merges onto Hwy 1 (Trans Canada Highway) and back to Calgary.
1. Whenever possible, try to find a hotel thatís in walking distance to a restaurant/bar so you donít have to get back on the bike after youíve had a few drinks with dinner and before you turn in for the night.
2. Eat very light for breakfast, then eat an early lunch before the lunch crowd arrives. If youíre going to eat a heavy meal or a lot of food, save it for the last meal of the day when youíre done riding ó because big meals take a lot of energy to digest and will make you drowsy.
3. Donít eat at chain restaurants. Instead, stop at mom & pop restaurants and local pubs whenever possible. (The hole-in-the-wall dives have much more character, and you learn a lot more about the people and things to do in the area).
4. Carry water and make a point to drink some every time you stop (even if you donít feel thirsty). Itís important to your alertness and your overall comfort level to stay hydrated. Start the trip with a frozen bottle of water. It lasts a long time.
5. Even if you only remotely want to see something, then STOP! Enjoy the ride and everything there is to see and do along the way. Otherwise, youíll be wishing you had if you didnít. It helps to find places ahead of time by searching online or viewing other motorcyclistsí itineraries
6. To avoid having to keep unfolding then refolding the map while on the bike, I sometimes use an app called CamScanner to take a photo of the exact portion of the map I am most interested in for that particular leg of the trip. That way, I can just zoom in to the ďphotoĒ of the map that is stored on my phone in order to see things on the map even closer.
7. Take a photo at each and every stop ó including state lines, historic roadways, and noteworthy locations. Try to take a group photo at the start of each day.
8. Pack a small pair of binoculars in a place that is quick and easy to get to. They could come in handy to see whatís up ahead of you on the road or to view wildlife in the distance.
9. If you wear glasses, take a cheap spare pair along with you rather than your everyday pair ó in case you lose them, misplace them, sit on them, squish them while packing, etc.
10. Iíve learned the hard way that many places ó especially little towns ó donít take credit cards or even debit cards. Plan ahead! Have plenty of cash (or a debit card) available instead.