Writing on Stone Provincial Park is a sightseeing and historic destination located south of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada on the banks of the Milk River in the Milk River Valley. The park is a sightseeing wilderness spectacle where coulees and hoodoos meet the grasslands prairie.
The Writing on Stone Provincial Park is, first and foremost, a National Historic Site of Canada. A protected area. A special park because , long ago, the land was the hunting grounds and a transportation route for the Blackfoot First Nation people. And they left behind their stories for us to cherish.
The stories and experiences of the Blackfoot First Nation people are honored in the paintings (rock art) carved into the sides of the many hoodoos and coulees made from sandstone rock.
The Blackfoot First Nation people used sharp rocks, horns of animals and wood from trees to carve their drawings into the sandstone cliffs. For color - like red, orange and yellow - they would use a mixture of crushed iron ore and animal fat.
The Writing on Stone Provincial Park was first established in 1957 and the archaeological reserve was established in 1977. This Lethbridge, Alberta park is divided into three separate areas. There is the public park, the backcountry hiking zone and the Archaeological Preserve which, by the way, is a restricted area with conditions.
The public park area provides services and an opportunity to explore giant hoodoo cliffs along the banks of the Milk River. There are walking trails leading to a historic Blackfoot First Nation battle site, to viewpoints and to some beautiful scenery.
The public park is the site of the park office. There are many services and amenities like a picnic day use area, an amphitheatre, an information centre, a gift shop, a campground and some public washrooms.
The best samples of the Blackfoot First Nation people`s rock art is located in the Archaeological Preserve. It is an area protecting some of the finest samples of rock art in North America. To view the rock art one must sign up for a guided tour with supervision.
The back country hiking zone is an opportunity to explore deep into the prairie grasslands exploring a landscape of coulees. This section of the park measures over 930 hectares (2298 acres) and is named the Davis and Humphrey coulee areas. The trails are animal trails and are not developed. It is easy to get turned around in the large park. Be prepared, stay on trails and bring a compass.
The Writing on Stone Provincial Park is also home to wildlife and plants special to the region. The sandstone cliffs are nesting areas for golden eagles, ferruginous hawks and prairie falcons. The holes in the hoodoos are homes to cliff swallows and rock wrens.
The raccoon, fox, coyote, deer, marmot, rattlesnake, bull snake and skunk have been sighted in the park. Most sightings are where there are less people and during the early mornings and late at night.