It was hot, I mean really hot. Yes, Alberta has hot summers but this was worse because it was high humidity which is abnormal for this dry area. The humidity and heat were off the scale as we made our way into the Canadian Badlands and over to Tolman, Alberta.
On our way we passed the lovely agriculture and farming town of Trochu, which is just west of the campground by about 20 km. Trochu has the lovely Trochu Arborteum and Gardens and the Sweetgrass Cafe and the town even participated in the Pinkest Town in the West fund raiser for fighting cancer. Trochu is also the home to the World’s Largest Golf Tee so you don’t want to miss that!
Campground: Tolman East Campground
Location: Tolman, Alberta
Cost: $18 (CAD)
Services: Dry Camp
Comments: A quiet campground with an A and a B loop and no services which sits along the shores of the Red Deer River in central Alberta in the Canadian Badlands. The campground provides tanks of water with a recommendation of boiling before using along with vault/pit restrooms and trash bins. We found a large spot along the river with trees and brush on both sides of us AND shade! Thank you! There was only one other camper there at the time in the loop next to us. We found the site lovely and peaceful.
The Tolman East Campground (east of the Red Deer River) is one of 2 campgrounds at Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park. The campground itself is about an hour’s drive north of Drumheller. The other campground is Tolman West Campground which is west of the river. At least those are the names according to the park website. But upon arrival you will see signs with the name Tolman Bridge Campground.
Whatever you want to call the campgrounds they both reside along the shores of the Red Deer River in the valley amongst the badlands.
The Tolman East Campground is more wooded and the sites are better delineated but is it primitive with lots of brush.
Tolman West Campground is more of an open field where you just park your rig on the grass basically anywhere so it just depends on your preference and the time of year if you want shade or not. During our stay shade was mandatory. Did I mention it was hot and humid?
Note that there is a gun range west of the Tolman West Campground but it is only open during the day and we only heard it a few times during our stay.
The Dry Island Buffalo Jump viewpoint is well worth the visit if you haven’t been to a jump before. It is about a 45 minute drive north of the campground to the actual site of the ancient buffalo jump. The Cree native people would hunt and kill the bison by driving them over the cliffs and were ingenious in their ability to corral the bison in drive lanes which were miles long and funnel them to the edges of the cliffs.
The Red Deer River is a popular location for paddling so if you love to canoe this is an ideal location. There is a boat launch at the Tolman East Campground along with a map showing the canoe routes.