Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, on the Alberta/Saskatchewan border, is notable for so much more than being the highest elevation in the prairies. It’s the perfect place to explore nature in a whole new way.
The total area of the Alberta portion of the park is 205 square km and sits about 600 metres above surrounding area.
Things to Do at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park
Night Sky: Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is a designated dark-sky preserve. Bundle up and head up to the plateau for stargazing that’s out of this world. There’s nothing to block your view of the expansive night sky, and no blaring lights to dim it. Keep an eye out for northern lights dancing among the stars.
Search for orchids: Did you know that you can find wild orchids in the park? Visit the park around mid – June or early summer, and you may spot one of the fourteen orchid species in bloom. Go on a orchid hunting trip and you may find Calypso Orchid, Spotted or Stripped Coral-root Orchid, Mountain Lady’s Slipper, Yellow Lady’s Slipper, White Adder’s Mouth (a rare species elsewhere in Alberta) and many more!
Wildlife: Cypress Hills is ideal for spotting wildlife! Moose, elk, deer, and even the occasional cougar call the park home. It’s a birder’s paradise, too, with over 220 species.
Scenic drives: Being so far above the prairie landscape offers incredible views you don’t even have to leave the car for. The west driving route runs through the Alberta side of the park, including Head of the Mountain – the highest elevation in Cypress Hills, offering glimpses of Montana.
Comfort camping: Camping is not just for summer – especially when done in comfort. In addition tent camping, 8 comfort cabins with prices that start at $90 are available to book at the part. Comfort cabins have a small kitchenette and eating space in addition to sleeping cots. The backcountry huts, such as the Tom Trott cabin, are open year round for you to rest your head after all those winter activities.
Historic sites: Cypress Hills is full of historic sites to visit and learn about the past. St. Margaret’s Church was built in 1907, but still opens year round, and Willow Creek Burn still shows the result of a 1934 fire on the landscape.
Hiking & Mountain Biking: Whether you hike the trails of Spruce Coulee trails, or the Elkwater trails, you will be taken through fantastic viewpoints amidst the prairie landscape. Since many trails in the park are multi-use, the park offers plenty of fun to both hikers and mountain bikers.
Horse Riding: Over 140 km of trails and Fire and Resource Trails to explore on horseback. Ride along Spring Creek Ski Trail,Spruce Coulee Trail or in the Nine Mile Area and trot along winding trails through mature forest or through stirrup high grasses while taking in the astounding vistas and sweeping views of the surrounding plains or the Sweetgrass Hills of Montana far to the south.
Water Fun: Enjoy water themed fun at Elkwater Lake — boating and windsurfing, canoeing and Kayaking at the Lake, swimming and beach fun at Main Beach, and fishing at Reesor Lake or Spruce Coulee Reservoir.
Hidden Valley Ski Resort: Hidden Valley is located right within the park, near Elkwater. Whether you stick to the easy slope or head for the black diamond, you’re sure to have a great day in the fresh winter air.
Snowshoeing: There are trails for more than skiing and biking! Explore areas designated for strapping on snowshoes to explore the quiet wilderness at your own pace, such as the short Sunset Trail or the more ambitious Ridgetop Trail.
Snow luge: More than just tobogganing! Though, you can do that, too… Grab your sled or borrow a plastic saucer from the Visitor’s Centre to head down the hill on this run down the hill with snow-packed sides.
Fat bike trails: Biking the trails is by no means limited to warm temperatures. Hit the snowy trails through the park on your fat bike to keep the adrenaline pumping.
Cross-country skiing: Whether it’s close to the Elkwater townsite on Rangers Trail or deep in the backcountry trails on Mitchell Creek Trails, Cypress Hills is the perfect place to cross-country ski. Bring your own or rent equipment from the Visitor’s Centre.
PLAN YOUR TRIP TO CYPRESS HILLS
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is located approximately 75 km southeast of Medicine Hat on Hwy. 1 & 30 km south on Hwy. 41
Address: 33 Lakeview Dr, Elkwater, Alberta, T0J 1C0
Hours: The park and the visitor centre is open year round.
Get in touch:
Visitor Centre Phone: (403) 893–3833
Campsite, Group Camp, and Comfort Camping Reservations : Toll Free: 1–877–537–2757
General Provincial Park Information: Toll Free: 1–866–427–3582/ Phone: (780) 427–3582
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