Snowy Season in the Boreal Forest: Two Ways

Embrace winter surrounded by the beauty of northern Saskatchewan. Adventures await at some of the province’s most popular parks and four-season destinations. Enjoy some front-country fun with the family or answer the call of the wild and explore the boreal backcountry this snowy season.

Family Fun

In the park

Enjoy the comforts of the resort village of Waskesiu, while experiencing northern wilderness encounters in the heart of Prince Albert National Park. From the townsite, you can explore winding, scenic trails on cross-country skis or by snowshoe. Hit the ice for some indoor skating at the Paul G. Horne Memorial Arena or venture out on the frozen lake for some ice fishing. After a day of outdoor recreation, warm up by the fire in the enclosed camp kitchen near the Main Beach. From your cabin to the cross-country ski trail, opportunities to connect with your family are endless.

At the lodge

Take your family on a weekend getaway to Elk Ridge Resort, located just outside of the national park. Wake up early and breathe the fresh northern air as you head out for a cross-country ski or snowshoe with the kids. Experience the boreal forest in all of its winter glory as you glide through or hike the resort’s more than 10-km groomed trail system. Then strap on some skates or grab a broom and rocks and play a few ends of curling. The lodge overlooks a frozen pond with a skating loop and hockey rinks, as well as a curling sheet. Before the day is done, hit the resort’s toboggan hill where you can jump on a tire tube and race to the bottom. Wind down in the hot tub or keep the adrenaline pumping with a rip down the waterslide into the saltwater pool. The sight of the resident elk wandering the property will make this a vacation to remember.

On the trail

Discover a hidden winter wonderland as you explore the boreal forest by snowmobile. Elk Ridge Resort is connected to the Lakeland snowmobile trail system that encompasses more than 350 km of groomed trails in and around Great Blue Heron Provincial Park. With local trails ranging from 7 km to 120 km in length, riders of all ages can suit up for this family-friendly winter activity. After a day of sledding through untouched powder and witnessing breathtaking scenery, nothing beats a hotdog and a mug of hot chocolate at one of the warm-up shelters along the trail.

Wilderness Adventure

Behind the sled

While the Alaskan huskies bark and yelp around you, snuggle in your sled with a blanket and wait in excited anticipation as your musher readies the team for takeoff. Or experience hands-on mushing with a tailored dogsled adventure with Sundogs Excursions. Located on the southern edge of the boreal forest in Great Blue Heron Provincial Park, Sundogs Excursions has more than one million acres of wilderness in its backyard. Gain a deeper understanding of this unique eco-system while in the company of an expert, imaginative nature interpreter. Overnight excursions will take you into the backcountry by day and let you experience the stillness and tranquility of the northern forest at night. With the glow of the moon as your backdrop, cozy up and sleep in an old-time prospector’s tent warmed by a woodstove.

In the backcountry

Explore two parks this winter as you create your own snowshoeing or cross-country skiing adventure from Prince Albert National Park to Great Blue Heron Provincial Park. A 1-km spur trail connects the Spruce River Highlands Trail in the national park to 18 km of cross-country ski trails in the Anglin Lake trail system. Begin your journey at the Spruce River Highlands Trailhead, and then follow the spur trail to enter the provincial park. Plan your course through the network of Spruce River Highland, Caribou, and Tower trails. For a truly unique experience, take the Tower Trail and spend the night at the first-come, first-served Tower Cabin, equipped with four bunks, wood, a wood heater, matches, outhouse and toilet paper.

Under the canvas

Although summer campgrounds are closed, you can still register for a camping experience in Prince Albert National Park. Located along the shores of Waskesiu Lake, two front-country winter campgrounds at Birch Bay and Paignton Beach feature enclosed kitchen shelters, firewood and pit toilets. Gather together around the glow of the campfire to roast marshmallows and stargaze as the sun sets over the frozen lake. The northern sky and solitude will make your winter camping experience unforgettable.

Planning Your Trip

How to Get There:

Prince Albert National Park
Located approximately 90 km north of Prince Albert. Accessible by Hwy 2 and 264 or Hwy 263 (the Scenic Route), all of which are paved, year-round roads.
The average travel times to Waskesiu by vehicle are:

  • Prince Albert – 1 hour
  • Saskatoon – 2.5 hours
  • Regina – 5 hours
  • Edmonton – 7 hours
  • Calgary – 8.5 hours

Parks Canada Visitor Centre
Located in the Waskesiu townsite.
306-663-4522
1-888-773-8888 (toll-free)

Great Blue Heron Provincial Park
306-982-6250
1-800-205-7070 (toll-free)

Waskesiu & Area Wilderness Region
306-940-7243

Where to Stay:

Elk Ridge Resort
Located on Hwy 264, just outside of Prince Albert National Park.
Luxury lodge with dining (gourmet and casual) and spa, log cabins, cottages and townhouses.
Winter equipment available.
Packages available, including dogsledding and snowmobiling. 
306-663-4653
1-800-510-1824 (toll-free)

The Hawood Inn
Located on Lakeview Drive in the Waskesiu townsite.
Family-friendly hotel and condos with restaurant and lounge.
Winter equipment available.
306-663-5911
1-877-441-5544 (toll-free)

Lost Creek Resort
Located on Hwy 264, just outside of the Waskesiu townsite.
One- to three-bedroom cabins.
306-663-5025
1-866-663-8622 (toll-free)

Things to Do:

Sundogs Excursions
Located at Anglin Lake in Great Blue Heron Provincial Park.
Orientation to multi-night dogsledding excursions and guided snowshoeing.
306-960-1654

Saskatchewan Snowmobile Association
Lakeland Snowmobile Club
Encompasses the area in and around Great Blue Heron Provincial Park.
Bring your own snowmobile or rent one in Prince Albert at Lake Country Rentals
Snowmobiles are not permitted in Prince Albert National Park.

Winter Events:

Christmas Tree Harvest
November 24-December 24, 2017
Prince Albert National Park
Get in the spirit of the season and cut your own Christmas tree! Pick out a young spruce tree in the designated area to help maintain the Waskesiu Community Fuel Break. Create new Christmas traditions and family memories this holiday season at Prince Albert National Park.

Canada 150 Skating Day
December 9-10, 2017
Prince Albert National Park 

O Christmas Tree Winter Festival
December 15-17, 2017
Prince Albert National Park

Fireside Holiday Menu
December 24-26, 2017
Elk Ridge Resort

Christmas Holiday Week
December 27-30, 2017
Elk Ridge Resort

New Year’s Eve in the Boreal
December 31, 2017-January 1, 2018
Elk Ridge Resort

Party On The Pond! Presented By Molson Coors
February 9-11, 2018
Elk Ridge Resort

Waskesiu Snow Days
February 16-25, 2018
Prince Albert National Park

2017 Family Week
February 19-24, 2018
Elk Ridge Resort