Forested Playground or Wide-Open Prairie - You Choose
Saskatchewan is home to two National Parks: Grasslands National Park and Prince Albert National Park. The difference between these parks is astounding and largely due to where they are located in the province. Grasslands is found in southern Saskatchewan, along the Montana border. It is a sanctuary protecting some of the last untouched prairie grasses in North America. In the north, Prince Albert National Park is situated in an area where aspen parkland transitions into boreal forest.Deciding between the parks is kind of like coming to a fork in the road. You really want to go both directions, but which route to go down first? Here’s more information on each park.
Location: West Block is 1.5 hours S of Swift Current on Hwy 4; East Block is 2 hours S of Moose Jaw on Hwy 2
Scenic Grasslands National Park has varied terrain with rolling grasslands, weathered cliffs, deep coulees and mysterious badlands. The park is teeming with wildlife including white-tailed deer, mule deer, pronghorn antelope and golden eagles. It is also home to endangered and threatened species like the sage grouse, ferruginous hawk, greater short-horned lizard and burrowing owl.
In the West Block, along the Frenchman River Valley, the magnificent Plains bison graze peacefully while you listen for the "barking" of the black-tailed prairie dog. This is the only place in Canada where these colonies are found in their natural habitat. The badlands in the East Block are a geological and paleontological wonder.
At the Visitor Centres, you'll find displays, brochures and knowledgeable interpretive staff with information on programs, special events and safety. The West Block Visitor Centre is located in Val Marie and the East Block Visitor Centre is located in the Rock Creek Campground.
Learn more about the park here.
Location: 90 km N of Prince Albert, access from Hwys 2 and 264 or 263
Prince Albert National Park is one of Saskatchewan’s most popular four-season destinations, a place where you can mix northern wilderness encounters with the comforts of a lakeside resort. The park covers 388,000 hectares/one million acres in an area that includes some 1,500 lakes and streams.
Wildlife in the park reflects the changing habitat. Moose, wolves and caribou inhabit the northern forests, while elk, deer and badgers explore the southern parkland region. Bison roam freely in the southwest corner of the park, where pockets of fescue grassland can be found. This herd is one of only two such herds protected within a Canadian national park.
The charming resort village of Waskesiu, situated in Prince Albert National Park, has a wide range of accommodations and services. Pitch your tent or park your RV in one of the two major campgrounds. Campgrounds with varying levels of services can be found in outlying areas in a variety of settings. With a backcountry permit, adventure-seeking visitors can hike or canoe and camp in remote reaches of the park, or visit the log cabin of the world’s most celebrated naturalist of the 1930s, Grey Owl.
Learn more about the park here.