The county of Grande Prairie is abundant with natural beauty- from rivers and deep valleys to green foothills and rocky mountain views, the area has a lot to offer in the summer months. With the natural beauty comes plenty of outdoor recreation like hiking, swimming, boating, or fishing, as well as numerous photo backdrops. And while you may be touring Grand Prairie to see natural wonders like Kleskun Hill, the Wapiti River and Dunes, or the Rockies, you can find plenty of other unique things to do.
Kleskun Hill Natural Area
The Kleskun Hill Park and Natural Area is east of town near Bezanson; as you enter you’ll notice Dinosaur Hill and Garrett Hill, the eroded remains of an old river delta-similar (just like southern Alberta’s badlands) which are a unique sight in the northern prairies. The rocks rise 100 m over hills and plains which are dotted with over 160 species of wildflowers and plants, some of which are unique to the area or the badlands in southern Alberta.
Camping options can seem endless in Grande Prairie, but you can centre your decision around what you want to do while you’re out here.
Some campgrounds are best for wide-open star gazing space and quiet relaxation, while others can offer a place to sleep while you enjoy nearby thrills and adventure.
For thrills and adventure, camp beside the Wapiti River at either Pipestone Creek Campground or O’Brien Provincial Park.
For excellent views of the stars, the Kleskun Hill campground is a peaceful option. Or if you’re looking for more water activities, Saskatoon Island and Young’s Point PPs are both on small lakes. And in between, there are several more municipal and provincial park campgrounds.
Wild River Adventure Tours
Explore Grande Prairie region rivers on a guided adventure tour. Plan a river day with Wild River Adventure Tours to explore the Wapiti River and travel by water from Grande Prairie upstream to the Narraway.
There are tough hikes and easy hikes around Grande Prairie, but any number of them can take you to some spectacular viewpoints and lookouts.
For shorter and family-friendly hikes you can venture onto the Whispering Ridge Lake or Wapiti Dunes trails.
The Lost Lake Loop is a little longer at 9km, but for a real challenge there are the Evergreen Dunes (difficult due to length) or Magoo’s Landing Loop (difficult due to terrain).
- Whispering Ridge Lake: 1.3km; easy
- Wapiti Dunes: 7.1km; easy
- Lost Lake Loop: 9.0km; easy
- Evergreen Dunes Loop: 23.0km; moderate
- Magoo’s Landing Loop: 5.1km; difficult
Natural Swimming Areas
There isn’t a large window in Grande Prairie for natural summer swimming. But when you get the chance, GP county is home to a few natural areas where you can chill on a hot summer day in incredibly clear water. Both the Wapiti and Simonette River offer shallow enough areas for cautious swimming, beach-lazing, and slow-floating.
Muskoseepi Park in town offers tons of outdoor recreation all year long and is home to its own stocked fishing pond. This can be a wonderful spot to teach kids how to fish in a safer environment.
For a more backwoods fishing experience, the Simonette and Wapiti rivers are both popular spots, as well as Young’s Point on Sturgeon Lake.
There are two parks in GP county built specifically for BMX and mountain biking skills and practice. Nitehawk and South Bear Creek Park both offer enclosed courses. However, along the trails of the Wapiti River you can also find unpaved and unmaintained trails.
Hythe Motor Speedway
Racing begins this weekend in Hythe! This family-friendly spectator sport makes for a thrilling afternoon of fast cars and sunshine. You may also get a chance to see the race cars up close between or after races. You can purchase your race tickets in advance online to ensure you get a spot. Events run every weekend until September.
- Hythe Motor Speedway: AB-721, Hythe
You have two options for disc golf in the town of Grande Prairie: South Bear Creek or Thrill Hill. Disc golf is an iteration of golf, but with the use of frisbees tosses rather than golf swings. Your aim? To get the frisbee across the green and into a wire basket. There are even different ways you can move around the courses, according to your skill level.
Pipestone Creek Park
Whether you come to Pipestone Creek for a weekend or the day, you can find several family-friendly activities within the riverside park. There are a few group day use areas along the shores of the Wapiti, and trails which follow the Pipestone Creek and a few important pieces of history like dinosaur bones and Alberta’s Indigenous cultures. There are several amenities in the park like showers, washrooms, firepits, camping, rocky beaches, a playground, firewood, and picnic tables.
There are several places in Grande Prairie where you can enjoy an afternoon of golfing, wining, and dining. From Beaverlodge and down Highway 43 to the Wapiti River and the town of Grande Prairie are a few different options for your day on the greens:
- Pipestone Golf Club: 703064b, Range Rd 82, Wembley
- Riverbend Golf & Country Club: Range Rd 105, Beaverlodge
- Spruce Meadows Golf Club: Range Rd 53, Sexsmith
- Grande Prairie Golf & Country Club: 711040 Resources Rd, Grande Prairie
- Bear Creek Golf Club: 11220 132 Ave, Grande Prairie
- The Dunes Golf & Winter Club: 60042 Township Rd 704A, Grande Prairie
See Alberta’s northwest regions from way up above on either a helicopter or hot air balloon tour! These unique adventures offer a bit of thrill while you get the chance for unbeatable views. You can expect forest, valleys, riverbanks, small mountains, and all the towns and hamlets in between.
Enjoy an afternoon of golf which your younger kids can enjoy too and hit up one of Grande Prairie’s two mini golf courses. On top of mini golf, this is a great excuse for ice cream, snacks, or a picnic.
Sexsmith Skateboard & BMX Park
If you’re looking for an adventurous activity to take on with your kids this summer, biking and boarding is a fun way to enjoy the sun and get moving. Even if you don’t want to get on the course yourself, the surrounding park is an excellent viewing area where you can set up a blanket and from where you can keep an eye on younger kids.
Grande Prairie Corn Maze
The stalks at the Grande Prairie Corn Maze are expected to be tall enough for the maze by mid-August. Once it is open you can make your way through the labyrinth, take photos in their pumpkin patch, and explore the beautiful farmland.
Grande Prairie Corn Maze: Country Roads RV Park, 63061A TWP 722 Grande Prairie
Saskatoon Lake Bird Sanctuary
There is no shortage of wildlife in Grande Prairie in late summer. This area is especially awesome for bird lovers and bird watchers as it is on a migratory route. As many bird species head back south for the summer, they’ll stop off in GP.
Take in the sights of birds like mallard, ruddy, or ring-necked ducks, northern pintails, canvasbacks, and the area’s famous trumpeter swans. If you’re heading onto any of the county’s trails, other wildlife you might come across includes deer, moose, elk, coyotes, or the odd bear.
The closer we get to fall, the more birds you’ll notice showing up around Grande Prairie. The best place to see the huge variety of bird species which live in this area (part-time or full-time) is the Saskatoon Lake Bird Sanctuary within the Saskatoon Island PP. The Park’s trails can take you through the sanctuary made up of grassland and forest, and to the shores of the lake. Dusk can be an incredibly active time for the birds, so consider a sunset walk!
Saskatoon Lake Bird Sanctuary: Saskatoon Island Provincial Park
Down to Earth Farms Petting Zoo
Visit the farm with your entire family and feel the love of a ton of animals all at once. From cats and dogs, to goats, sheep, rabbits, and other farm animals, the Down to Earth Petting Zoo has all animal lovers covered. In addition to the time spent with the adorable animals, you can expect to learn a bit about human and animal farm life.
Down to Earth Farms Petting Zoo: Site 11 Box 28 RR2, Sexsmith
Pack in some more road trip time this August and make a tour of the museums and historic sites in the county of Grande Prairie. From Bezanson to the B.C. border are many preserved buildings and museum exhibits to check out with your family this summer to get a true sense of Northwest Alberta’s history.
In the city of Grande Prairie are their own Museum and the Reverend Forbes Homestead; after these, you can follow AB-43 to the north in order to see all that the Spirit of the Peace Museums have to offer in the region.
Pictures with the Roadside Attractions
There are a few items around Grande Prairie that might stick out from the regular scenery. While all of Alberta is known for its quirky and exceptionally large roadside attractions, there are some gems hidden around Grande Prairie which make excellent family photo backdrops or picnic sites in some cases. The town of Grande Prairie is home to two attractions of this kind: the Trumpeter Swan and an active Sundial. In Falher you will come across the World’s Largest Bee, and in Beaverlodge you will encounter a beaver of all things!
- Beaverlodge: Giant Beaver
- Falher: World’s Largest Bee
- Grande Prairie: Trumpeter Swan
- Grande Prairie: Sundial
Canoeing & Kayaking
For an adventurous paddle, you can launch onto the Wapiti River which runs west to east from B.C. and along the southern edge of Grande Prairie County. The Wapiti is recommended for experienced paddlers and has many small rocky beaches that make great launch sites, especially in Pipestone Creek and O’Brien PP. But for the less experienced or just a more relaxed paddle, you also have the options of Saskatoon Island PP and Young’s Point on Sturgeon Lake.
- Wapiti River
- Saskatoon Island Provincial Park
- Young’s Point Provincial Recreation Area
- O’Brien Provincial Recreation Area
This large recreational facility is best known for its equestrian facilities, shows, and races, but can also be a great place to go for dinner, the casino, or their archery and disc golf courses. The horse races are scheduled for Saturdays and Sundays for the remainder of summer. You’ll also find baseball fields, a Learning and Innovation Centre, campground, and several event spaces available for rent.
Outdoor Pool & Splash Parks
The heat of summer really makes those pools and splash parks look good. Especially if you have young ones. The outdoor pool in the city of Grande Prairie, as well as the splash parks in other small towns, are a safe and easy way to get in a quick cool-down.
- Muskoseepi Park (outdoor pool and splash park): 102 Ave and 102 St., Grande Prairie
- Lions Park (splash park): 9933 90 Ave., Grande Prairie
- Clairmont Adventure Park, Clairmont
- Sexsmith Spray Park: 9802-103 St., Sexsmith
Provincial Park Picnic
The Provincial Parks in the county all offer different types of scenery for different types of picnics. Saskatoon Island and Mountain parks are a close option for people in the town of Grande Prairie and offer lakeside or Rocky Mountain views. You can also take your picnic riverside along the Wapiti at O’Brien PP.
- Saskatoon Island Provincial Park
- Saskatoon Mountain Provincial Recreation Area
- O’Brien Provincial Park
- Young’s Point Provincial Park
- Kleskun Hill Natural Area
Shop the homemade, the handmade, and the locally produced goods of Grande Prairie this summer through their various markets. All around the county are farmer’s markets and permanent market shops where you can find home décor, local meats and produce, clothing, baked goods or sweets, and other fun goodies.
The city of Grande Prairie has a plethora of artisanal shops, local cafes, and restaurants, as well as an Alberta Approved Farmers’ Market. Start your day by shopping for handmade goods from GP’s local creators at places like 17th Street Soap, duCharmed creations, Leslie Lovlin – Inner Sage Ayurveda, Miss Bliss Bath & Body, little wood bird Design Co., Wright Life Wild Crafting, Craft Things GP, Of Moons & Mountains, and A Different Stitch. If you’re out of energy after it all, fuel up from a local food stop like Mud Puddle Farm, Calabria Deli & Bistro, or Madhatters.
More Things to Do in Grande Prairie