Why You Should Visit Wayne, Alberta

In Wayne, Alberta you’ll find a bar with real bullet holes in the wall in a ghost town that is said to have real ghosts. You’ll also find an operating hotel – quite possibly the only one in a Canadian ghost town. The honeymoon suite at the Rosedeer hotel has a private bath, but not a private bathroom. If you want to use the toilet, you have to go across the hall. It’s the price you pay to honeymoon in an Alberta ghost town. Fortunately, the actual price you pay is only seventy-five dollars per night.

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An image of an antique music box in the Last Chance Saloon in Wayne, Alberta near Drumheller, Alberta
For a small fee, you can hear this music box play in the Last Chance Saloon in Wayne, Alberta. Photo by Debbie Olsen.

Wayne – Alberta’s Wild West

The Rosedeer Hotel is in a little place called Wayne, Alberta. It’s located about 16-km and 11 single-lane bridges southeast of Drumheller, Alberta. Wayne sprung up when the Red Deer Coal Company built the Rose Deer Mine, in 1912. In its heyday, the town had a population of more than 2000 people. There were two schools, a hospital, several stores, a hotel and the saloon that miners affectionately dubbed the “Bucket of Blood” due to the large number of drunken brawls.

Wayne was a typical Wild West town. Life was hard for the miners who lived there and many took liberties with the law, especially the prohibition laws that were in place in Alberta from 1915 -1923. To curtail illegal liquor sales, the Mounted Police eventually stationed an officer in the town, but it was difficult for one man to tame a wild place like Wayne, Alberta.

An image of the inside of the Last Chance Saloon in Wayne, Alberta near Drumheller, Alberta
Every wall in the Last Chance Saloon in Wayne is decorated. This deer had obvious opinions on Alberta politics. Photo by Debbie Olsen

Related: If you love history and stories about ghost towns, check out this book about the Ghost Town Stories of Alberta.

What Happened When the Mines Closed in Wayne, Alberta

The Great Depression hit Alberta’s coal mining industry hard and the first mine in the Drumheller area closed down in 1932. By the time the last mine in the area shut its doors; the population of Wayne, Alberta had dwindled to fewer than 300 souls. Today the hamlet has only 28 permanent residents and the only evidence of the glory days is the Rosedeer Hotel and the aptly-named Last Chance Saloon, which are both still open.

An image of some antique cars parked outside the Atlas Coal Mine near Drumheller, Alberta
Atlas Coal Mine and Wayne, Alberta are two popular road trip destinations for antique car owners and motorcyclists. Photo by Debbie Olsen.

Related: Check out our post 14 Fun Things to do in Drumheller.

Visiting the Last Chance Saloon

When you walk inside the Last Chance Saloon, you’re usually greeted by Dave Arsenault who owns and operates the saloon and hotel.

The walls of the saloon are decorated with old black and white photos of miners, antiques, numerous nick-nacks, and mounted hunting trophies. There isn’t a bare spot on the wall and even the roof is “decorated.” There’s a racoon wearing a New Year’s Eve party hat in the corner, a warthog over the door wearing a Canada flag toque and a White Tail Deer who is very involved in Alberta politics judging by the fact that he has several campaign buttons pinned to his fur.

In the corner of the room is an antique bandbox that was removed from a bus depot in Calgary and still works. For a small fee, you can hear it play.

The saloon menu is pretty simple and consists of burgers, fries, a few salads and a couple of homemade desserts. On Wednesdays, draft beer is served in quart sealers that were once used for canning dill pickles. The food isn’t all that special, but the atmosphere is truly unique. Sitting in the saloon of a real Wild West ghost town isn’t something you get to do every day.

Even though Wayne is not a huge tourist centre (it is officially listed on the website Ghostowns.com), you shouldn’t let that discourage you from paying a visit. A lazy afternoon spent in the Last Chance Saloon is an experience that really shouldn’t be missed. It’s worth the drive just to sit in a bar with actual bullet holes in the wall in a ghost town that is said to have actual ghosts. All it would take is one night in the honeymoon suite to find out if there is any truth to the rumors that the hotel is haunted – an easy task if you don’t mind sharing a bathroom.

An image of two people geared up for a tour of the Atlas Coal Mine near Drumheller, Alberta
A visit to Wayne, Alberta would not be complete without a tour inside the Atlas Coal Mine. Photo by Debbie Olsen

If You Go to Wayne, Alberta:

-The Rosedeer Hotel and Last Chance Saloon are located in the tiny hamlet of Wayne, Alberta – about 16-km southeast of Drumheller. Getting there is half the fun and it’s a popular road trip stop for motorcyclists.

-The saloon is family-friendly and has a children’s menu for ages 9 and under.

-In the peak summer months, the saloon and hotel are open 7 days per week. In the winter, it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and the other hours can be variable. In the off season especially, it’s a good idea to call (1-403-823-9189) before your visit.

Looking for more great road trips in Alberta? Check out our post about Things to do in Red Deer in winter.

12 thoughts on “Why You Should Visit Wayne, Alberta

  1. Zyn Reply

    My maternal family lived in Wayne as I had the opportunity to go there a couple of times. It is such a beautiful place with such friendly people that I totally recommend it to everyone.

    1. wanderwoman Reply

      Thanks for the comment, Greg! Wayne certainly is a special place. I loved my visit there and I loved stopping at the Last Chance Saloon!

  2. Greg Escaper Reply

    I was on a road trip with my friends, and we had the opportunity to pass through Wayne. It was such a nice town that we decided to spend the night there and interact with the locals.

    1. wanderwoman Reply

      Thanks for the comment, Greg! I feel the same way. Wayne is such a cool little spot and so many people who visit the badlands miss it.

  3. Greg Escaper Reply

    Wayne, Alberta is not as promising as this article makes it out to be, to be honest. I have been there about four times now, and it’s always been a little underwhelming for me. Maybe I am not going with the right people.

    1. wanderwoman Reply

      Sometimes it’s not where you go, but who you go with. ha ha. I liked Wayne, but then I like windswept isolated ghost towns that have interesting history. And I had fun at the Last Chance Saloon, but I did go with a good group of people.

  4. Tracy Reply

    It’s nice to see Wayne represented so well. Its a awesome little town to go. it’s filled with such a rich History.
    I took my family on a road trip to Wayne in 2003. My kids & I wanted to see where my mom’s family always talked about. We had been told many a story’s about Wayne. There was one story that took us on that trip. We had to see how far it was from Wayne to Drumheller? As my grandma always recalled how she walked the rails from Wayne to Drumheller in labour in April 1932 to deliver my Uncle in Drumheller. Due to the Dr. Going on rotations between Drumheller 3days& Wayne 2days. So we saw how far it really was.
    She was one strong lady. As my mom was a kid born in Wayne’s Hospital in 1938. So we really enjoyed seeing all the pictures and talking to the few people left.
    We found out Wayne is a awesome part of our history & a neat small town. I recommend going to see it if your in the area.

    1. wanderwoman Reply

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Tracy. I love the story about your grandma walking 14-km along the train tracks while in labour to get to Drumheller where the doctor was. I can’t even imagine doing that. I agree with you about Wayne. Even if you don’t have personal history there, it’s an interesting place to visit. Thanks again! -Debbie

  5. George Meek Reply

    I was born in Wayne on January 25th, 1939 .
    My family moved on as my father went overseas to fight in the war and it wasn’t till 2017
    that I returned to Wayne.
    WOW! What a fun filled unique place to visit.
    The food in the saloon was great and everyone was so friendly .
    The area around Wayne is a must to visit and I highly recommend
    it as a holiday destination.
    I revisited Wayne in 2018 and am anxious to return..

    1. wanderwoman Reply

      Thanks so much for sharing your story, George! I agree with you whole heatedly. Wayne is one of those really unique places that is worth visiting. I hope you get the chance to visit Wayne again soon! -Debbie

  6. MEL PRICE Reply

    My father was born in the Wayne hospital over 80 years ago. He grew up in East Coulee
    I am among the many bikers who have visited the Saloon a number of times.
    It never gets old.
    Love the area.

    1. wanderwoman Reply

      We love the Last Chance Saloon and the town of Wayne. We’ve been twice already this summer. Might be making trip number three soon! Thanks for reading our post and for your comment.

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