Eyes to the Sky in the Cypress Hills
When the glaciers retreated, they missed a spot in the southwestern corner of the province, leaving a forested plateau towering high above the plains below at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park. The unexpected mountain-like oasis on the border between Saskatchewan and Alberta reaches an elevation of 1,392 m above sea level, marking the province’s highest geographical point.
The mix of landscapes – towering hills, lush lodgepole pine and white spruce forests, and fescue prairie and wildflowers – provides breathtaking views. Take a driving tour to some of the park’s most scenic spots, including Lookout Point and Bald Butte in the Centre Block. In the West Block, experience a Saskatchewan sunset from the Conglomerate Cliffs.
In this wilderness area of the park, you can go backcountry camping. Pack your tent, supplies and your horse. In addition to two quiet, rustic campgrounds with few amenities, there is an equestrian campground with corrals. On horseback, witness spectacular vistas as you explore a portion of The Great Trail (formerly the Trans Canada Trail) to see the Hidden Conglomerate Cliffs.
The Great Trail transects the park. In the Centre Block, this trail covers over 16 km of rugged countryside and will challenge the seasoned hiker. With an extensive network of trails in this area of the park, visitors can hike the backcountry to see nature untamed or navigate relaxing self-guided trails with interpretive signage. Paved trails provide quick access between the campgrounds and the beach, resort and swimming pool in the core area.
Wake up to the heady aroma of the lodgepole pine forest in one of the park’s six front-country campgrounds that range from basic to full-service. After a full day of swimming at the pool or beach and stand-up paddleboarding on Loch Leven, swap stories and make smore-filled memories with your family around a crackling evening campfire.
The brilliance of the night sky will amaze you if conditions are right for stargazing. The park is a designated Dark Sky Preserve and astronomy programs are offered at the observatory by an astronomer-in-residence.
For those feeling adventurous, one of the popular attractions in the park allows you to experience its beauty (and the forest canopy) by zipline. Treeosix Adventure Parks also offers an outdoor climbing wall, treetop adventure park, treetop drop, slackline course and mini-zips for the little ones.
At Fort Walsh National Historic Site, find out what life was like in a working fort during a time that shaped the history of Western Canada. The fort was a North West Mounted Police (NWMP) post established in 1875 and played a key role in imposing law and order in the west. Staff in period costume relay stories about the lawless days of rotgut whiskey runners and Canada’s role in the aftermath of the Battle of the Little Bighorn.