Where to See Larch Trees in Saskatchewan
This is an abridged article that originally appeared on The Lost Girl’s Guide to Finding the World. Read the full version here.
Most people think they have to travel west to the Rocky Mountains to see larch trees in Canada. But the popular autumn tree can be seen all over the country. This means that – yes, you can see golden larch trees in Saskatchewan too.
There are several species in Canada, also known as tamarack and hackmatack, depending on where you live. Here are six locations in the province to see the larch as they turn their beautiful gold colour:
1. Gem Lakes Trail, Narrow Hills Provincial Park
The larches in Narrow Hills Provincial Park don’t disappoint – particularly on the Gem Lakes Trail. This 5.5-km loop is popular with day hikers and backcountry campers. The golden trees reflect in the emerald green of the lakes and there are dozens of viewpoints from the top of the winding ridges. It’s also a great place to launch a stand-up paddleboard, kayak or canoe and try fly-fishing.
2. Hudson Bay
The lure of golden larches entices both locals and travellers to the Hudson Bay region during the autumn months. The area is known for its boggy marshland, which makes it an ideal location to find larch. Head out on Highway 3 east and west of town for larch. Or head north on Highway 9. The side roads, bridges and pull-off points all offer great views of the forest.
3. Meadow Lake Provincial Park
The park is long – nearly 100 km from the eastern park gate to the Cold River campground in the west. It’s a scenic drive and there are many spots to stop along the road and view the changing fall colours. For specific trails for viewing larch, hike to Matheson Lake or to Jack Pine campsite (it’s also a great spot to spend the night for backcountry campers).
4. The Fen Trail, Duck Mountain Provincial Park
Duck Mountain Provincial Park offers stunning views of the autumn colours (in particular are more orangey-red colours due to the number of Manitoba maples.) A drive down Ski Hill Road leads you to a parking lot with a unique boardwalk to wander along. The Fen Trail is only 300 m through a forest of black spruce and larch trees. At one of three viewing platforms, you’ll find an unobstructed view of the forest, as well as the calcareous fen.
5. Boundary Bog Trail, Prince Albert National Park
Boundary Bog Trail in Prince Albert National Park is a 2-km family-friendly loop. The highlight of the trail lies in the marsh, as it’s a favourable environment for larches to grow. The wooden boardwalk takes you right through a forest of larch trees – but look down while you wander. A unique carnivorous plant called a pitcher plant grows low in the underbrush here.
*Boundary Bog Trail closed for construction from September through December 2022.
6. Highway 2 from Prince Albert to La Ronge
The 240-km drive along Highway 2 from north of Prince Albert to La Ronge is full of larch trees as far as the eye can see. The parkland to boreal forest transition zone starts near Christopher Lake. It’s an incredibly scenic drive all the way to the communities of Air Ronge and La Ronge. Stands of jack pine and larch border each community with a forest of larch edging the highway. Nearby Lac La Ronge Provincial Park and the 15-km Nut Point Trail is a great spot to enjoy the forest.
Author & Photographer: Ashlyn George
Ashlyn George is an adventure travel writer and social media influencer based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. By 30, she visited more than 60 countries and all 7 continents while documenting it on her blog The Lost Girl’s Guide to Finding the World. Today, Ashlyn creates content in partnership with world-renowned brands like NFL Canada, McDonald’s and CLIF Bar and has been featured in the New York Times and listed by Kayak as a Top 10 Travel Hacker. Find her online at @thelostgirlsguide or www.thelostgirlsguide.com