Exploring Alberta’s Provincial Parks: Dry Island Buffalo Jump

About Dry Island Buffalo Jump

Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park is a medium provincial park located about 16km east of Trochu, Alberta. It is one of Alberta’s less known gems and offers visitors with scenic badlands viewpoints. The park is located along both shores of the Red Deer River and the region has never had human development meaning that all the grasses in the park are Alberta’s native grasses.

The park is named after the large plateau found in the center of the park where the Cree natives hunted buffalo for their tribes. They would drive buffalo off the steep cliffs where they would fall to their deaths in the valley where they would then harvest meat and other materials from the carcasses. For first nations tribes, this hunting method was instrumental in their survival.

Albertosaurus skeleton on display at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto

The park also holds scientific significance as well. It contains the most important Albertosaurus bone bed in the world which was first discovered in 1910, and first scientifically analyzed in 1997 by Dr. Phil Currie of the Royal Tyrell Museum. The Albertosaurus was named after – you guessed it – Alberta.

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Summer at Dry Island Buffalo Jump

There is some summer activities at Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park that visitors can do. The park is popular for canoeing and kayaking the Red Deer River. Fishing is also a popular activity here. There are good hikes through the park which offer good geocaching opportunities.

For bird watchers, there are more than 150 bird species that have been seen in the park including turkey vultures, golden eagles, red trailed hawks, Swainson’s hawks, prairie falcons, mountain bluebirds, belter kingfishers, warblers, ducks, great blue herons, marbled godwits, and willets.

Winter at Dry Island Buffalo Jump

Winter activities are similar to those in the summer except there isn’t any river access since it is largely frozen and river ice is extremely unsafe. Gates to the park are closed in the winter as well so you will have to hike in.

Camping at Dry Island Buffalo Jump

There are two campgrounds and a group use area at Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park. Visitors at Tolman campgrounds should note that there is a gun range nearby so there will be lots of audible gunfire. For firearms owners – this camping spot is perfect for a weekend of perfecting your firearm skills.

Whenever using a firearm, safety always needs to come first!

CampgroundAmenitiesType of SiteAmount AvailableCost/Night
Tolman East Campground
(May 20 – October 12)
Firepits, hand launch, outhouses, playground, water taps.Unserviced40$25.00
Tolman West Campground
(May 20 – October 12)
Cook shelter, firepits, hand launch, outhouses, boat launchUnserviced 25$25.00
Group Camping
Tolman East Group Use
(June 18 – October 11)
Firepits, outhouses$165/5 units + $25/extra unit
This data is accurate as of 2023

Day Use at Dry Island Buffalo Jump

Dry Island Buffalo Jump day use area has firepits, a hand launch, interpretive viewpoint, and outhouses.


Distances to Alberta Cities

Distance to Calgary: 179km

Distance to Edmonton: 244km

Distance to Red Deer: 94km

Distance to Lethbridge: 304km

Distance to Grande Prairie: 667km

Coordinates: 51°56’09.4″N 112°58’59.8″W

Alberta Parks Website