We’re a province known for its big sky views. The best place to catch an epic sunrise, sunset or simply appreciate the wide-open spaces of the prairies is from one of the many viewpoints throughout Saskatchewan.
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Viewpoints in Saskatchewan
Here are 10 of the most epic viewpoints in Saskatchewan. (Fair warning, several take a bit of hiking or paddling to reach. But the reward is worth the effort).
1. Castle Butte
In the Big Muddy Badlands of southern Saskatchewan sits a monolithic rock in the middle of the valley. Castle Butte is a sandstone relic of the last ice age. It towers 60 metres above the ground and is half a kilometre in circumference. The best views are from the top of the butte. The ideal times to hike it is early in the morning at sunrise or at sunset for panoramic views of the surrounding valley splashed with the soft light of golden hour.
Castle Butte is located on private land and public access is only available from June 1 to November 1.
2. Jones’ Peak
The Frenchman River Valley is known as the “Valley of Hidden Secrets” and it’s easy to see why. Not only is this area home to several of the most important dinosaur discoveries in the world, but it has some of the best viewpoints in all of Saskatchewan.
Driving through the valley is unlike anywhere else in the province. The views of rolling hills streaked with pockets of white clay culminate at Jones’ Peak. From the top of the north rim, at its highest point, the valley sweeps dramatically downwards in a wide panorama of overlapping sandstone formations. At the bottom, dramatic scars of deep coulees split the rangelands.
The viewpoint is easy to access by vehicle. If you happen to visit on a calm night, it’s a great location for a picnic.
3. Nistowiak Falls
Located in a deep gorge with a 10-metre drop, Nistowiak Falls, located on the Rapid River, is one of the highest falls in the province. This makes it an amazing viewpoint and an iconic bucket list destination for travellers in any season.
The waterfall sprays mist well above the treeline into the sky and can be seen (and heard) from quite a distance. While the entire one-kilometre length of this short river is neat to explore, the view from the base of the falls on the rocks is nothing short of spellbinding. There are often rainbows across the falls which makes for a great photo opportunity.
There are no railings or safety chains so caution is advised, particularly when walking on the wet rocks.
4. Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is home to the highest point in Canada between the Rocky Mountains and Labrador. At an elevation of 1392 metres on the Saskatchewan side of the park, you really can watch your dog run away for three days.
There are four viewpoints worth visiting:
Balde Butte & Lookout Point
The most popular spots for sunset in the Center Block are Lookout Point (1275m) and nearby Balde Butte, 1.2 kilometres away. At 1,281 metres, Balde Butte is the highest point in the Centre Block with fantastic views over the plains. The viewing distance on a clear day can be up to 100 kilometres. Both locations are drive-up and easily accessible.
The Conglomerate Cliffs are located in the West Block and are another great drive-up viewpoint. Not only are the cliffs an interesting attraction – made from gravel and stones known as cobble – but the views from the steep banks of Adams Lake and the surrounding hillside below are stunning.
Hidden Conglomerate Cliffs
The Hidden Conglomerate Cliffs are so named because they’re obscured from the valley road by the forest. To reach the viewpoint, it takes a bit of effort. The hike requires a 3-kilometre one-way hike, nearly 200 metres in elevation uphill on a section of the Trans Canada Trail from Battle Creek Road. (There is a second way to access the trails from a road on the top of the valley but is only accessible in completely dry conditions). There is a bench along the top rim and further to the east is a walk-out point onto the conglomerate cliffs great for great views and photos.
5. Lookout Point
Another easily accessible drive-up viewpoint is located in Echo Valley Provincial Park. The Lookout Point is located at the north end of the park, past the Valleyview campground. It’s incredibly scenic with sweeping views of the hills overlooking Pasqua and Echo Lakes. There are short trails to wander along the valley rim, benches for enjoying the view and a wooden picture frame that’s fun to snap a few family photos.
During autumn, the hills are a vivid splash of yellows, oranges and greens.
The community of Lebret sits along the shoreline of Mission Lake in the Qu’Appelle Valley. It’s known for the views of its two iconic churches. The Stations of the Cross and the small memorial chapel are set up in the hills.
It’s a short but intense hike up to the viewpoint at the top. But it overlooks the fieldstone Sacred Heart Church in the centre of town and offers a stunning view of the lake, the valley and the town.
7. Valley of 1000 Devils
The rolling hills and red-clay hoodoos in the Valley of 1000 Devils of Grasslands National Park East Block are remarkable for several reasons. Not only are there 66-million-year-old dinosaur bones found just beneath the surface, but the current-day views, especially early morning or late afternoon when the shadows stretch through the valley, are spectacular.
Visitors can hike and freedom camp anywhere in the vast expanse of hoodoos, buttes and clay and sandstone rock formations. There are no trees for shelter from the sun so carry a hat, sunscreen and lots of water while you hike this 11-kilometre roundtrip trail.
For those who prefer not to hike, the 22-kilometre roundtrip paved scenic parkway offers extraordinary views over the badlands. Curving along the escarpment, there are six different overlook points to view the grasslands and badlands.
8. 70 Mile Butte
On the summit of 70 Mile Butte in Grasslands National Park West Block, it feels like you’re standing on top of the world. The 360-degree perspective 100 metres up from the valley floor is worthy of the 4.5-kilometre round-trip hike up the steep switchbacks into the hills.
There are information boards along the way and in the early summer months plenty of wildflowers as well as cacti to see. The butte overlooks the Frenchman River Valley and is particularly lovely at sunrise or sunset.
9. Prairie Vista Trail
Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park is known for its series of rugged ridges, hills and coulees that rise up out of the mixed grass ecoregion along the west end of Lake Diefenbaker. The Prairie Vista trail is aptly named. This 3.4-kilometre roundtrip trail offers remarkable views of Brunyee Coulee, the South Saskatchewan River Valley and Diefenbaker Lake below.
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10. Massold Clay Canyons
On-site at the Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site is the Massold Clay Canyons. This 256-acre wildlife area is an otherworldly location of cracked, white clay pits with panoramic views of the brick plant from high up in the hills.
A short trail leads from the plant out into the clay pits but the majority of the area is explorable off-trail. There are piles of old bricks to see along the way as well as information on the clay pits. A visit to the brick plant in-season is well worth the stop.
Details on a hiking pass for the day can be found here.
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