A drive south down Highway 4 toward the U.S. border is an excursion into interesting and unique territory. Here in the badlands of southern Alberta, fertile farmland is juxtaposed against ethereal sandstone hoodoos. The landscape is surprising in its duality – rich with crops and yet hypnotically mysterious, dry, and barren. The topography is unique in all of Canada, the result of ancient glacial movements and thousands of years of westerly winds.
The heart of southwest Alberta’s badlands is Milk River, a friendly prairie town with strong agricultural ties and the centre of all the services you’ll need. There are several places to stay and dine, which is good because there are plenty of reasons to hang around for while. The town offers a number of great amenities, but the geographical wonders of Milk River Country are what make a trip to this area a truly unforgettable experience.
The town of Milk River is named after the silty body of water that flows gently beside it. Runoff from the surrounding sandstone landscape is what gives the river its milky appearance – and hence its appropriate name. The Milk River is the only river in Canada that eventually drains into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a popular place to canoe, kayak, and fish, and it attracts plenty of wildlife as well. Bird watching and hunting are both great activities here.
Of course, most people make a trip to Milk River to see the incredible hoodoo formations at Writing On Stone Provincial Park. And if you have an inclination for ancient history, you’ll want to venture over to Devil’s Coulee Dinosaur Heritage Museum to discover how and when the biggest creatures to ever walk the earth lived in this part of the world.