Concise Guide to Cypress Hills Destination Area

Cypress Hills Destination Area

Cypress Hills Destination Area, Saskatchewan, Canada : An Overview

Located in southwest Saskatchewan, the Cypress Hills Destination Area will take you on a journey comprised of 18,000 sq kms of awesome! Filled with incredible landscapes, abundant wildlife, art, shopping, fine dining, luxurious and unique accommodations, adventure opportunities, signature events and world class attractions. While some may view Saskatchewan as flat and boring, anyone who takes the challenge to drive 30 minutes or less directly south of the Trans Canada Highway will find that it is anything but that!

How to get to the Cypress Hills Destination Area?

Location: Southwest Saskatchewan, Canada
Nearest Big City: Regina, Saskatchewan
Nearest Airport: Regina, Saskatchewan



Regina is the nearest big metropolitan city, and the easiest way to get to the Cypress Hills Destination Area if to drive from Regina (if you are flying in) which takes approximately 3-3.5hrs (dependent on where you are travelling to). Alternatively you can fly into the smaller city of Medicine Hat via Calgary, and drive 1-1.5hrs to reach the area. See driving directions here.

By Bus: Greyhound service either from the West or the East will bring you directly into the Town of Maple Creek.

Click the below links to directions to the Cypress Hills Destination Area on Google Maps (Note: Maple Creek is used as the base point for exploring the CHDA, additional locations are additional distances).

  1. From Calgary to Maple Creek ~ 396 kms
  2. From Edmonton to Maple Creek ~ 680 kms
  3. From Regina to Maple Creek ~ 381 kms
  4. From Saskatoon to Maple Creek ~ 405 kms

Cypress Hills Destination Area attractions and partners are spread over a combination of six communities and Park areas including: Grasslands National Park, Gull Lake, Shaunavon, Eastend, Maple Creek and Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.

Cypress Hills Destination Area can be accessed by car through:

1. Hwy 4 south from the City of Swift Current and the Trans Canada Highway, leading to Val Marie and Grasslands National Park or south and west off of Hwy 4 to Hwy 13 to the Towns of Gull Lake and Shaunavon.
2. Hwy 37 south off the Trans Canada Highway at the Town of Gull Lake leading to the Towns of Shaunavon and Eastend
3. Hwy 21 south off the Trans Canada Highway to the Town of Maple Creek and from there to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, and the Town of Eastend.
4. Hwy 41 South in Alberta off the Trans Canada Highway into Elkwater in the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park and the West Block of the Saskatchewan side of the Cypress Hills.

 

Getting Around in the Cypress Hills Destination Area:

It is best to have a car, if you want to visit all the different locations at your own convenience.

Parking is never a difficulty within any of the communities or Parks.

From time to time, packaged bus tours from major centres can be accessed, and organizers of scheduled/ticketed events may provide complimentary transport. It is best to check the CHDA website Travel Deals”  section to learn of any upcoming trips.

When to visit & time required to visit the Cypress Hills Destination Area?

Cypress Hills Destination Area1

A year-round travel destination, the Cypress Hills Destination Area (CHDA) has for years been a summer-centric destination with a season that runs between May and September, with peak times during the summer months of July & August, but as more attractions, events and businesses come to the area, and more winter offerings become available, visitors are now excited about visiting the area during the winter and shoulder seasons as well.

In addition to the regular summer-time offerings of camping, interpretive programming, hiking, boating, paddling, ziplining, mountain biking, horseback riding, golf, fun summer festivals, attractions, and fitness-oriented events, winters in the CHDA offer visitors a chance to ski, snowshoe, snowmobile, toboggan, ice fish, skate and take in a host of new festivals and events.

Year-round, the area boasts a strong art and cultured atmosphere with lie music and exhibits, along with a wide variety of fine-dining opportunities and first-class accommodations.

 

Time required to visit:

There is no one simple answer as to how long it takes to see the Cypress Hills Destination Area. For those travelling great distances who have but one chance to see all of the events and attractions the CHDA has to offer, a minimum of four to five days is required, but more are recommended so that you are not rushed.

Those who reside within a 3-4 hour driving distance, who have the opportunity to make repeated trips to the area, and who could choose one destination to focus on could easily spend a mere one to two days, while those within a 2-3 hour driving distance could easily enjoy full and satisfying day-trips to one of the main communities or Parks.

How much does it cost to enter the Cypress Hills Destination Area?

Despite being a National Park, Grasslands National Park to date has not implemented gate entry fees, nor has the Alberta side of the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park. The only vehicle entry fee that is required is on the Saskatchewan side of the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, running from mid-May to mid-September.

Vehicle entry fees for the Saskatchewan side of the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park are as follows:

VEHICLE ENTRY FEES

Day Pass: $7.00
3-Day Pass: $17.00
Weekly Pass: $25.00
Transferable Annual Permit: $50.00
Saskatchewan Senior (65+): FREE

*Vehicle Entry Fees – park entry fee must be paid in order to access the park and the services. This fee is in addition to camping fees and is charged on a per vehicle basis. **Please note, any vehicle entering the park containing a Saskatchewan Senior regardless of the ages of the other passengers in the vehicle will be allowed free entry.

All other fees associated with taking in specific attractions within the Cypress Hills Destination Area are at the discretion of the individual attractions, businesses and events. Vehicle entry fees can be paid when entering the Park gates, or can be paid online when booking camping accommodations.

Where to Stay in the Cypress Hills Destination Area?

Where to stay depends on how long you are planning to spend in the Cypress Hills Destination Area (CHDA) and where you plan to concentrate your activities.

Remember that distances between attractions and Parks can be great within the CHDA and accommodations/camping should be booked keeping those distances in mind, with an eye to perhaps choosing a location such as the Towns of Maple Creek, Val Marie or Gull Lake or the Cypress Hills Centre Block as a base from which you set out to explore further afield through day trips:




Cypress Hills Centre Block to Elkwater Townsite: 142 kms
Cypress Hills Centre Block to Maple Creek: 33 kms
Cypress Hills Centre Block to Eastend: 62 kms
Cypress Hills Centre Block to Shaunavon: 127 kms
Cypress Hills Centre Block to Val Marie: 235 kms
Cypress Hills Centre Block to the Winery: 52 kms
Cypress Hills Centre Block to Historic Reesor Ranch: 120 kms
Cypress Hills Centre Block to Fort Walsh: 88 kms
Cypress Hills Centre Block to Gull Lake: 116 kms

When you’re looking at where to stay, in the CHDA budget need not be a concern as accommodations are available to fit every price point. From budget-friendly camping that starts at $10/night to elegant and luxurious accommodations that during peak season start at $189/night. (Note: Peak Season accommodations should be booked well in advance).

Accommodations within the CHDA include quaint and cozy Bed & Breakfasts, Hotels, Motels, Guest Ranches, private, municipal and park-based campgrounds as well as full-service year round Resorts on each side of the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park. Check out a full-listing of accommodations here.

What to do in the Cypress Hills Destination Area?

One of the premier tourism destinations in Saskatchewan, whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures that include skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, geocaching, ziplining, boating, or paddle sports, or you’re looking for art and culture, luxury and fine-dining in a beautiful and natural setting abundant with wildlife, the Cypress Hills Destination Area has plenty to offer.

 Dining options are equally as varied as our activities and attractions. Have one of the restaurants pack you a picnic for the day, or pack your own using one of the kitchenettes available in many of our accommodations. For those who prefer to eat out the CHDA has many full-service restaurants available that offer everything from family-friendly fare to an intimate evening for two.

Cypress Hills Eco-Adventures

Cypress Hills Eco-Adventures

Attractions include (not limited to)

Fort Walsh National Historic Site

Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park

Historic Reesor Ranch

Cypress Hills Eco-Adventures Ltd

The Cypress Hills Dark-Sky Preserve

T.rex Discovery Centre

Cypress Hills Vineyard & Winery

For a complete list of attractions, see Here.

All photos: © CHDA

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