Grasslands National Park - Exploring the East Block
Canadian poet Lorna Crozier described Grasslands National Park as a “sanctuary of silence, one of the last on the planet. Under the wind, under our heartbeats, we hear the earth breathing.”
Spanning more than 900 sq. km, the park is split into two blocks, each with a distinct personality. The East Block bares a gritty, rugged character with infinite stories of prehistoric life on the planet. Its Rock Creek Badlands yield a treasure trove of fossils and adventures.
Here are some activities offered in the East Block this season.
Several trails provide choices for exploring the East Block on foot or horseback (equestrian camping is available).
The 2-km Rock Creek Trail is an easy hike that leads to a panoramic view of the surrounding grasslands. Early morning hikes along the 750-m Creek to Peak Trail offer a spectacular view of the badlands bathed in the colours of dawn. Advanced, well-prepared hikers opt for the 6-km one-way Valley of 1,000 Devils route or 8-km one-way Red Butte Route.
NEW – The self-guided Badlands Parkway driving tour is an 11-km paved route. Six viewpoints along the way feature some of the most breathtaking vistas in Saskatchewan.
A popular Saturday morning activity, Footprints in Time is a three-hour guided tour that takes hikers along coulees and past mysterious hoodoos. It’s an opportunity to retrace the steps of Indigenous peoples and local homesteaders and ranchers. Fees apply.
A designated Dark Sky Preserve, Grasslands National Park has the perfect conditions for viewing the night sky. Join Royal Astronomical Society astronomers for an entertaining evening of stargazing and more.
Sunday mornings in the park start with a cup of traditional, campfire-brewed coffee and some lively storytelling. Park interpreters share tales from ranching days and evoke colourful characters, vivid scenes and the spirit of life on the Western frontier.
Imagine the view from above through the eyes of a soaring eagle. The 4-km ekta wambi/Eagle View Tour is offered on Monday mornings. Hikers will see the park from a different perspective and gain appreciation of area history, grasslands vegetation and changes to the landscape over time. Fees apply.
A 7-km Wednesday morning hike to stimulate the mind and body, Eco Equation tours examine the delicate balancing act of the mixed grass prairie landscape. Along the route, visitors see how the landscape has evolved and learn about the impacts of the elements – earth, air, fire and water.
A popular offering on Wednesday and Friday evenings, Fireside Chats bring park visitors together to enjoy good company, campfire snacks and stories and songs inspired by the surroundings.
Lakota Legends is a Friday afternoon storytelling session with Lakota First Nations artist Kim Soo Goodtrack, who retells legends and illustrates them as she speaks. Afterward, participants create their own artworks inspired by Lakota design.
A Saturday evening feature, Junior Naturalists tours examine the several themes, including endangered species and spaces, geological and palaeontological history and more.
Participants venture out on a short hike, discovering wildlife, wildflowers, fossils and tipi rings along the way. The program is recommended for children between the ages of 5-12 years. Fees apply. Pre-registration is required.
Explore the area with Royal Saskatchewan Museum palaeontologists and learn the ins and outs of fossil hunting. After a day of discovery, enjoy Fossil Talks in the evening. Pre-registration is required.
A day of fun for the whole family, Badlands Blast features children’s activities, wagon rides and adventures with expert fossil hunters. Dine and dance the evening away at the Rock Creek Hoedown. Fees apply.