If you’ve never been to Grasslands, then the drive there may take you by surprise. Your eyes will have gotten accustomed to seeing nothing but extensive farmlands. And then suddenly you’ll find yourself in a sea of grass that has been saved from the farmer’s plough and now hosts herds of plains bison. From this point on you can look forward to at least ten more surprises:
1. Valley of 1,000 Devils
With a name like that, you can expect nothing but adventure. The badlands are as barren as they can get with quicksand and hoo doos cropping up every so often. Here, you can walk for miles without seeing a soul creating the perfect environment for quiet reflection or friendly mischief.
The East Block of Grasslands National Park is one of my favourite places in Saskatchewan to explore. The rugged terrain can make traversing the landscape a challenge, but it’s that same ruggedness that creates some wonderful scenery. If you’re at all like myself and have yet to abandon your childhood, the chance to see a dinosaur fossil sticking out of a butte is also a big draw. #ExploreSask #GrasslandsNP #ValleyOf1000Devils River #Saskatchewan #KeepExploring #TravelPhotography #ExploreCanada
2. Otter Basin
Spend a few days exploring the prairies without being confined to designated routes. The changing landscape will take your breath away as seemingly endless hills give way to desolate badlands. Tipi ring settlements of Otter Creek Ridge and the badlands’ Baculite fossils will take you back to a different era.
3. Equestrian Trails and Campgrounds
Feel the wind against your face as you gallop along the Broken Hills, Butte Creek/Red Butte or North Gillespie Trails. At the end of a thrilling day lead your horse to a nice pen near the Belza Day Use Area or the Rock Creek Campground. And in case you do not have your own horse, you can always hire one from local outfitters or go on a guided tour!
"His name is Buck," our guide, Denis, answered under his breath as he watched me mount the saddle. I found out why moments later after I pulled up too sharply on the reigns. "Give him his head!" Denis barked and no sooner had I let up than Buck calmed. After that it was smooth sailing, so to speak, as Denis led us south east to the far tip of Grasslands' West Block and the northern border of Montana. – @nathanielatakora #ExploreSask
4. The Ecotour Scenic Drive
Grasslands National Park is a vast park that would take you days to traverse on foot…but that’s why we’ve got vehicles! See it all in a matter of hours as you cruise along the Ecotour Road. The Frenchman River Valley presents you with endless possibilities of wildlife sightings and archaeological discoveries.
5. The Frenchman River
During certain times of the year, this gentle giant allows you to paddle in its waters. From the safety of your kayak or canoe you can watch animals of all types come down to quench their thirst. But be sure to contact the park before you take your canoe out because water levels are not always suitable for paddling.
6. The Dark Sky Experience
You haven’t seen the stars until they shine down on you in a place where there is little or no artificial lighting. This is what it means to watch the stars in a Dark Sky Preserve like Grasslands. If astronomy is your thing then you can’t afford to fall asleep; there is an extravaganza in the sky.
7. Eagle Butte Trail
One might be forgiven for assuming that the prairies are full of nothing but grass. But the truth is that gorgeous flowers blossom here. Would you like to see them for yourself? Just hike this 2km trail where you will see some that you know and others that you’ve never come across.
8. Zahurski Point Route
So you take your bike with you everywhere you go? That’s great because it is very welcome in Grasslands National Park. Grab a map and explore the Zahurski Point Route that offers you fantastic views of the badlands or leads you into a secluded valley. Either way 11km of moderate terrain are at your disposal.
9. 70 Mile Butte
If you are still wondering what the park looks like from above then you should put on your hiking boots and climb to one of the highest points in Grasslands. This climb is rated as difficult but as you stand at the top of the hill you will know that is was truly worth the sweat.
10. Rim Walk Trail
At the end of a wonderful day why not take a leisurely stroll along this short trail. You can marvel at the colours of the sunset as you discuss the day’s events with your friends and family. And you don’t necessarily have to walk, bicycles are allowed on this trail.