Adventures in the Boreal Forest
Resting on the shoulders of Saskatchewan’s prairie lies the expansive wilderness of the northern boreal forest. The land bears its history in pristine lakes, valleys and ridges formed by ancient ice, and the water that brought people together and saw countless adventures unfold.
At Prince Albert National Park, where rolling fields give way to towering evergreens and aspen, these stories are waiting to be discovered.
The southern boundary of the park is marked by a transition from aspen parkland to boreal forest. From here – considered the park’s ‘back entrance’ – take the Highway 263 Scenic Route, where deer, elk, moose, black bear and even timber wolves can be spotted.
On the shores of Waskesiu Lake, the Waskesiu townsite delivers a taste of luxury in the heart of northern wilderness. From May to September, the resort village bustles with activity with restaurants, boutique shopping and accommodations. A 600-metre-long beach offers a great afternoon for the whole family. Some businesses are open year round, although the townsite is quieter after Labour Day.
Settling in is no problem with a number of campgrounds to choose from depending on your family’s level of comfort. Red Deer Campground, located in the townsite, is made for neighbourly get-togethers. It includes 161 full-service, pull-through sites for recreational vehicles (RVs) and trailers within walking distance of the beach and playground.
From spring to summer, the aroma of smouldering birch and toasted marshmallows hangs in the air at Beaver Glen Campground. For RVs and tents, there are 200 electrified back-in sites nestled beneath a dark canopy of spruce and poplar. There are 10 reservable oTENTiks – for those who want a taste of camping but don’t want to haul all of the gear. oTENTiks are not available in 2021.
Peace and tranquility are the main draws of Narrows Campground, Namekus Lake Campground and Sandy Lake Campground. These rustic settings offer lakefront camping away from the busier areas of the park, while still providing vehicle access, fire pits, picnic tables and cooking shelters. Adventure-seekers can also acquire permits to hike or canoe and camp at one of 14 designated backcountry campsites located in remote reaches of the park.
The essence of Prince Albert National Park is found on the many trails and canoe routes scattered throughout the park. Boundary Bog Trail takes you by boardwalk through the wildly distinct black spruce bog ecosystem, where carnivorous plants thrive in acidic soil. For a challenge, take the 20-km (one-way) pilgrimage to Grey Owl’s one-room log cabin on the shores of Ajawaan Lake. Built in 1931, the cabin was home to the acclaimed naturalist, his wife Anahareo, and their pet beavers, Jellyroll and Rawhide.
At Prince Albert National Park, you can connect with nature and the people around you at your own pace. Take your time and wander through the woods. Stories of your own are waiting to be made.