Saskatchewan’s provincial and national parks are full of paths, trails and backcountry routes. For those that love hiking in Saskatchewan and escaping into nature, there are dozens of options to choose from – from a short walk with the family to multi-day treks that require full backcountry gear.
READ MORE: Best Backcountry Hikes in Saskatchewan
Best Parks for Hiking in Saskatchewan
There are thousands of kilometres of trails to explore, including a hike along the Trans Canada Trail as it crosses the province from east to west.
Here are the best parks for hiking in Saskatchewan.
1. Meadow Lake Provincial Park
Meadow Lake Provincial Park might just be king of the trails for hikers in Saskatchewan. That’s because it’s home to the 135-kilometre Boreal Trail – the province’s longest (and only) through-hike. While most people hike it from west to east, my personal preference is hiking east to west. But you don’t actually have to do the entire trail. The way it’s set up allows visitors to hike a couple kilometres to a couple days depending on time and ability. There are interpretive trails that connect to one of 12 campgrounds in the park as well as several looped trails that make it easy to start and end at the same location.
READ MORE: How to Hike the Boreal Trail on a Weekend Trip
2. Prince Albert National Park
Prince Albert National Park is home to one of the most renowned multi-day hikes in the province: the iconic 40-kilometre trek to Grey Owl’s Trail. But if an overnight hike isn’t your style, the park has so many other excellent trails to check out.
During the spring, wander along the 2-kilometre Mud Creek Trail for the chance to watch black bears fishing in the creek. In the summer months, the Waskesiu River Trail 2.5-kilometre loop is always an excellent stroll.
In the autumn, Boundary Bog is a highlight because of the golden larches that line the boardwalk in the carnivorous fen. (You can read more here to learn where else to spot larch in autumn.) In winter, one of the best trails in the province is the 1.2-kilometre Treebeard Trail loop through old-growth forest.
For longer hikes, the 8.5-kilometre Spruce River Highlands, 6.3-kilometre Fisher Trail and interconnected Red Deer Trails near the townsite are always popular.
3. Duck Mountain Provincial Park
On the eastern border of the province, Duck Mountain Provincial Park is a family favourite in any season. The park is on the southern reaches of the Boreal Forest and its trail network winds along the Manitoba escarpment. The trails are extensive and varied with more than 60 kilometres to explore on foot.
Nearby Madge Lake is the easy multi-looped Woodland Nature Trail that ranges from 1.5 to 4 kilometres. It’s perfect for spotting birds and other wildlife. The 4.5-kilometre Pelly Point Nature Trail leads through the forest and out to a picnic site with views of Madge Lake.
The wide and well-groomed 13.2-kilometre Green Lake Trail is great for those looking to add some length to their hike. (It’s also popular with fat bikers in the winter.) The Batka Lake Cross-Country Ski Trails offer a variety of loops and routes with a wide path that’s easily hike-able in summer. There are several cozy ski shelters along the way with several little lakes to cool off in.
Of particular note is the short but unique 0.5-kilometre boardwalk through black spruce and larch trees into a calcareous fen. At three viewing platforms, there’s an unobstructed view of the forest. There’s also the opportunity to spot 6 different carnivorous plants that trap and devour insects in the wetland. (You’ll want to look closely as some plants like the sundew are quite small and hard to spot!)
4. Lac La Ronge Provincial Park
While Lac La Ronge Provincial Park is well-known for its lakes and paddling routes, it’s also popular with hikers. Home to one of the best backcountry hikes in the province, it also has several day hikes worth exploring. (As this park is quite large, the hiking trails are spread out throughout the region).
The 30-kilometre return Nut Point Trail near La Ronge winds up and down along the exposed rock of the Canadian Shield as well as through muskeg. It culminates in a first-come, first-served backcountry campsite at the tip of the peninsula. For those wanting to experience a small snippet of the route, the Downton Lake Trail is an ideal 3-kilometre loop.
Near Devil Lake north of the community of Missinipe is a 3.7-kilometre trail that winds along the shoreline with views of the lake. The trail can be overgrown in places and a bit wet depending on the current season’s water levels.
South of Air Ronge down Highway 137 is the 2.6-kilometre return hike to see the impressive white sand pillars of the Nipekamew Sand Cliffs. In season, keep an eye out for blueberries growing alongside the well-trodden trail.
The trail system around Lac La Ronge Provincial Park continues to grow thanks to the efforts of the Boreal Outdoor Recreation Association – BORA.
READ MORE: The Best Backcountry Hikes in Saskatchewan
5. Grasslands National Park West Block
For hikers looking to add elevation and distance, head to Grasslands National Park West Block. The 4.5-kilometre 70 Mile Butte and Eagle Butte Trails have some of the best 360-degree big sky views in Saskatchewan, especially at sunset.
Branching from 70 Mile Butte is the 10-kilometre one-way Bearpaw Sea Trail. It links the western edge of the park to EcoTour Scenic Drive pull-off #3. To add even more distance, you can continue along one of the park’s most difficult trails, the 15-kilometre Timbergulch Trail. The loop runs through three coulee bottoms. The most rugged trail in the park is the 15-kilometre Otter Basin looped route that is true backcountry. It requires orienteering skills and is a great location for backcountry camping.
But there are easier trails to hike including the 3-kilometre Riverwalk loop along a grassy, mowed trail. The 4-kilometre Two Trees Trail gives a good overview of prairie grasslands. Both start near the Two Trees Day Use Area. The Top Dogtown Trail is unique as this 750-metre loop offers panoramic views of the hills. It’s also a great opportunity to see black-tailed prairie dogs poking their heads up from their burrows.
Additional Parks in Saskatchewan for Hikers
If you’re looking for even more trails to explore, consider checking out Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park (both the Centre and West blocks), Echo Valley Provincial Park and Douglas Provincial Park.
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