Hidden among the Canadian prairies is a destination perfect for anyone who is looking for outdoor adventure or a slice of tranquility. Cypress Hills is much more than just a provincial park to go camping at, but a destination all on its own. After visiting a few days this summer, I now realize how lucky we were to get the last campground spot… probably by dumb luck with a cancellation!
Cypress Hills has always been a favourite spot for both Albertans and Saskatchewanians to venture off to in the summer. Families repeatedly go back every year to their favourite camping spot with long time friends and family. We, on the other hand, had never been and wanted to take the kids to check it out this summer on our road trip.
As you drive through the prairies all of a sudden you approach this cluster of lodgepole pines. How did all these trees get here? It’s amazingly beautiful and a bit odd to be an oasis full of trees in the middle of flatland prairie!
Did you know that Cypress Hills is at the same elevation as Banff? It is Saskatchewan’s highest point at approximately 1,392 m!
There is so many things to do at Cypress Hills – we didn’t even begin to scratch the surface with our visit!
What You'll Find in This Post
Things To Explore
Located in Cypress Hills Park:
- Zip lining & Rock Climbing at Eco-Adventures – Our kids loved the rock-climbing and Sofia (4 yrs) had fun with the mini-zip line! Luca (6 yrs) made the best of being “in-between” the mini-zips size and BIG zip ( 2 lbs shy of being able to go… and a little scared). Jamie and I opted not to go on the BIG zip line and save if for another time when we could all do it together. But, Luca did love to try out the slacklines and practice his balance.
- Mini-Golf – With some rainy and cooler weather, this was the perfect activity to keep the kids busy and out of the mud!
- Swimming Pool – You can never go wrong with kids and swimming pools! Be sure to check the listing and times for family swim, as they generally have kids swim classes held over the summer months.
- Hiking, Interpretive Paths & Lookout Points – Throughout the park there are well-marked paths for you to explore. Go to the main entrance for information and details on distance and difficulty before venturing off. I printed off a scavenger hunt for something to keep the kids focused on the Woodlands Trail and Windfall Interpretive Trail. We also had a picnic supper at Bald Butte and watched the sunset – highly recommend!
- Ice Cream & Food – If you aren’t camping or making your own food, there are a few good spots in the park to cool down with an ice cream and grab some food (pizza, burgers, fries, chicken strips, etc).
- Horseback Riding – We didn’t go horseback riding this trip, but all the details are on the parks website.
- Geocaching – Another activity that we didn’t do, but looks like fun!
- Lake Activities – There is a small lake by the main entrance of the park. There is a rental shop located directly beside the beach for paddle boats, paddle boarding, kayak, canoe, etc. This lake doesn’t allow for motorized boats (I think maybe the occasionally 5HP boat). You can fish in the lake, but make sure to go get your fishing license at the information booth.
- Star Gazing– The stars and night sky are incredible in this area. There is a special section of the campground that is meant for no-light camping for those to enjoy the evening sky. I think there are information sessions and camping related just to night photography and star-gazing! An interesting concept, maybe next time we go I will check it out.
Places to Explore Close By:
- Maple Creek Bakery & Farmers Market – Take a drive into Maple Creek and enjoy fresh baking and time it with the farmers market where local vendors come from around the area to sell vegetables, baking, jams and homemade goods. Yum!
- Grottos Garden – Located just outside Maple Creek, this is a great stop for the kids. They have goats and chickens for the kids to pet and interact with. Watch the Goat Walk and feed the goats! Kids loved it. Grad yourself a coffee, baking goods or treat before you leave!
- TRex Discovery Centre (located in Eastend) – Go meet “Scotty” the TRex that was discovered in the hillside among this town. There is a great display of dinosaur artifacts and guides will give you tours of the facility. Pack yourself a lunch and enjoy the views as you imagine dinosaurs roaming the hills. Cypress Hills also has tours where you can hop on a bus for a small fee and they will drive you to the facility – check their website for details if you are interested in this option.
- Fort Walsh – Is a National Historic site in Canada that was a North-West Mounted Police (RCMP) fort and the site of the Cypress Hills Massacre. It is about a 45 minute drive through a very picturesque part of the region, hair-pin turns and cattle crossing the roads will give you some interesting things to check out on the way. The national park also has the Xplorers Program, which helps guide the kids through activities in the Fort and things to ask and learn about. A great tool to help them learn and a little prize at the end after we have completed. We had a very rainy day driving there, but had the Fort to ourselves as the clouds disappeared just long enough for us to explore.
Places to Stay:
- The Resort at Cypress Hills – Located in the park, we stayed here for 2 nights in a basic hotel room. Clean, comfortable, wi-fi and a restaurant in the lobby. They do offer cabins with multiple rooms for larger groups. Location is fantastic! * This was the first time I had ever been part of a FIRE EVACUATION at a hotel. LOL – no harm done, but interesting to say the least!
- Camping – For tenting or trailer use the Saskatchewan Parks website for bookings at Cypress Hill. We stayed, by luck, in the Warlodge area. This area had an awesome play structure in the middle for the kids to play on and meet other camping friends.
- Ghosttown Blues – If you are looking for a unique place to stay this is it! I tried to book this place and it was completely booked up for a wedding. This would be an amazing experience to sleep in restored chuck wagons, historic buildings and structures. Next time we go, we are booking here just for the experience!
Looking for more things to do in the area? Check out more with the Southern Saskatchewan Road Trip.