Grasslands National Park is part of the Northern Short Grasslands Eco Region - a protected grasslands park and wildlife sanctuary - located near the community of Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada.
The Grasslands National Park is the only national park in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada. It is a landscape born of wind-swept badlands, rolling hills, coulees, native grassland prairie and wildlife. There is a long history of the First Nation people in the park. So much so there are over 12,000 recorded teepee rings located in the national park.
The highlights in the park - both geographical and wildlife - include 70 Mile Butte, Rock Creek and the Frenchman River... and on the wildlife side... it is the pronghorn antelope, bison, coyote, deer, yellow-bellied racer, prairie rattlesnake, short-horned lizard, black-footed ferret, black-tailed prairie dog colonies and many local and migrating bird species including the burrowing owl and ferruginous hawk.
The Grasslands National Park is the only destination in Canada where the black-tailed prairie dogs still exist. The park has also reintroduced the black footed ferret (a species at risk and once considered extinct).
The park is separated into the West Block and the East Block. The West Block, near Swift Current, is the more developed section of the park. It is the site of the main information centre located in the town of Val Marie, Saskatchewan. In the West Block one will find a herd of bison and the Frenchman River.
The East Block is more left to nature. There is an information centre in the park near the main campground. The formations of the badlands near Rock Creek and the historic McGowan House are the main highlights in the region. The East Block is also a popular site in Canada for many fossil digs.
Activities and adventures enjoyed in the park include hiking, sightseeing, horseback riding, backpacking, birding, wildlife sightings, geocaching, camping and star gazing.
The park is recognized as a Dark Sky Preserve in Canada. A setting ideal for astronomy. During the summer there are star gazing, events, hikes and astronomy guided tours. The best sites in the park for star gazing include Two Trees Trail & Belza Viewpoint (West Black) and Dawson's Viewpoint & McGowan's Campsite.
Grasslands National Park is a horseback riding friendly park. Horses have been around for centuries in the park. The First Nation people used horses for transportation to and from hunting grounds and, years later, the prairie landscape morphed into various horse and cattle ranches. The long history has left behind teepee (tipi) rings, old homesteads and dilapidated horse corrals. Bring a horse or arrange a horseback riding tour with guide.
Geocaching is a great way to sightsee in the park. In the park there are two multi-stage caches to discover. To navigate the park there are 8 hiking routes and backcountry hiking with a GPS and/or compass. Navigation tools are vital for direction in such an wide open prairie environment with selective landmarks.
In the Grasslands National Park there are 3 campgrounds and many opportunities for backcountry wilderness camping. The developed campgrounds in the park include Frenchman Valley Campground (West Block), Rock Creek Campground (East Block) & Belza Place. There are serviced sites, unserviced sites, walk-in sites and teepee accommodations.
For those who like to sightsee from the seat of a vehicle there is a great road route exploring the West Block's Frenchman River Valley worthy of your time. It is an 80+ kilometre “out and back” route which should take about 3-4 hours including stops and breaks.
Contact Information : 1.306.298.2257 (upgrade to a Photo Listing with website links)