Hiking

Grasslands National Park

Trails

A group of young adults out hiking on the 70 Mile Butte Trail at West Block, in Grasslands National Park.

Trails are one of the best ways for you to connect with the landscape and experience the immeasurable beauty and solitude of this park. Grasslands is a prairie wilderness with limited services and preparation is key to having a safe and enjoyable experience.

  • West Block
    West Block
    Trail Description Distance (km) Time Difficulty
    Eagle Butte Trail

    Trailhead: Gate at parking area

    A great trail to view wildflowers and soaring birds of prey.

    2 km loop 1 hour Easy
    70 Mile Butte Trail

    Trailhead: Branches from Eagle Butte Trail

    For breath-taking views of the Frenchman River Valley with a smaller time commitment, this trail is for you.

    2 km loop 1 to 2 hours Difficult
    Two Trees Trail

    Trailhead: Two Trees Day Use Area

    Only have a short amount of time? Take this trail for an introduction to prairie grasslands.

    4 km loop 1 to 2 hours Moderate
    Riverwalk Trail

    Trailhead: Two Trees Day Use Area

    Examine riparian plant life, discover hidden deer and observe birds utilizing the steep riverbank cliffs as you follow this mowed, grassy trail.

    3 km loop 1 hour Easy
    Three Sisters Trail

    Trailhead: Access from Rosefield Grid

    An old vehicle trail leads through open grasslands to the Saskatchewan Natural History monument that marks the establishment of the first Black-tailed Prairie Dog sanctuary in Canada.

    4 km one-way 2 to 3 hours Moderate
    Top Dogtown Trail

    Trailhead: Ecotour pull-off #2

    Listen to the rare Black-tailed Prairie Dogs bark at your approach as you stroll across the Top Dogtown on this hard surfaced, level trail.

    750 m loop 20 minutes Easy
    Timbergulch Trail

    Trailhead: Ecotour pull-off #3

    The three prominent, glacially created, coulee bottoms you’ll traverse have created an inviting habitat for bison which tend to linger in this area.

    17 km loop 5 to 6 hours Difficult
    Bearpaw Sea Trail

    Trailhead: Branches from 70 Mile Butte Trail or Ecotour pull-off #3

    From tabletops to valley bottoms, this trail explores the wide variety of habitats found within the park.

    10 km one-way 4 to 5 hours Difficult
    Broken Hills Trail

    Trailhead: Park at Belza Day Use Area. Travel west back towards entrance to cross road to trailhead.

    One of the few locations to gain an uninterrupted, 360’view of grasslands.

    11km loop 4 to 5 hours Difficult
    Larson Trail

    Trailhead: Ecotour pull-off #6

    Observe evidence of early ranching along this mowed trail which also provides views of the adjacent Frenchman River.

    1.5 km loop 30 minutes Easy
  • East Block
    East Block
    Trail Description Distance (km) Time Difficulty
    Creek to Peak Trail

    Trailhead: South of kitchen shelter

    Wind up the hill along this mowed path to a rewarding peek of the Rock Creek valley and badlands beyond.

    750 m one-way 30 minutes Moderate
    Rock Creek Trail

    Trailhead: West across Rock Creek bridge

    Stroll this mowed path for a bird’s eye view of Rock Creek.

    2 km loop 1 hour Easy
    Valley of 1000 Devils Trail

    Trailhead: Northwest off Rock Creek Trail

    Meander through coulees and upland mixed grass prairie before traversing the basin of Hellfire Creek to access the Rock Creek Badlands.

    11 km loop 4 to 5 hours Difficult

Routes

A group of visitors on a hike in the West Block of Grasslands National Park.

A route is not a trail

Routes are not marked with signs or maintained in any manner. Self-reliance and wilderness travel experience are essential, including excellent route finding skills, map and compass skills. It is the responsibility of individual hikers who choose to follow such routes to adequately prepare and be prepared to rely on themselves.

  • West Block
    West Block
    Route Description Distance (km) Time Difficulty
    Otter Basin Route

    Trailhead: Access from Back Country Loop

    This is the most rugged ‘trail’ experience the park offers. Expect isolation, loose footing, orientation challenges and rugged terrain. At 1006 metres (3300 feet), this area has the highest elevation in the West Block, which creates different soil conditions to support unique plant growth. The choice is yours to make it a day experience or pitch a tent overlooking the Otter Basin escarpment, with the nighttime glows and coyote yelps as your only companions.

    *Special Note: This route is a remote wilderness experience that requires preparedness, self-reliance and orienteering skills.

    The Back Country Loop is impassable when wet.

    15 km loop 5 to 6 hours Very difficult
  • East Block
    East Block
    Route Description Distance (km) Time Difficulty
    Red Buttes Route

    Trailhead: Northwest off Rock Creek Trail

    View the buttes turned red by oxidized ion carbonate activity, as you navigate your way through challenging creek bottoms and by cattle fence lines. Your destination view is ample reward.

    *Special Note: You may see cattle grazing in this area. Be mindful of gates and fences. This route is a remote wilderness experience that requires preparedness, self-reliance and orienteering skills.

    8 km one-way 5 to 6 hours Very difficult

Hiker Safety

  • Be Prepared

    Plan Ahead

    Check trail conditions and road conditions with park staff, some roads within the park are impassable when wet. Inform friends or family of your itinerary and how to contact you. Check the weather forecast before leaving. Acquire a backcountry camping permit for all overnight trips.

    Services in this area are limited. When travelling by vehicle, make sure to fuel up before heading into the park or traveling between the East and West Blocks.

    Be Prepared

    Hike with a group. One person in your party should be familiar with wilderness first aid. Ensure you have adequate water, food, clothing and equipment for at least one day longer than your intended trip. Carry a first-aid kit, cellphone, GPS/compass and map. Cell phone service in the park is limited.

    Weather

    Be prepared for extreme heat and sudden weather changes. Severe winds and lightning storms are dangerous and it can be difficult to find shelter. Always check weather forecasts before leaving, plan your trip to avoid the heat of the day and make sure to pack all necessary supplies and equipment. Roads in the park can become impassable when wet.

    Wildfire

    Wildfire is common on the prairies and extremely dangerous. Lightning storms and strong winds are a contributing factor. If you see smoke, report it to 911 immediately. Fire travels quickly, be prepared to evacuate. If fire traps you, head for low vegetation areas (gravel roads, prairie dog colonies) or burned areas (the “black zone”).

  • Know Before You Go

    Your Limits

    Choose a trail that suits your skills and experience, and those within your party.

    Safety

    You are responsible for your own safety.

    Wayfinding

    Be aware of your surroundings and become familiar with the area before heading out. Always carry a map and GPS/compass. Roads may become impassable when wet. Please check road and trail conditions at the Visitor Centres.

    Water

    Bring at least 2 to 3 litres/person/day. Surface water is not suitable to drink due to high salinity. Potable water is available at the Frenchman Valley and Rock Creek campgrounds.

  • Wildlife

    Do not feed or approach wildlife – this harms their health, alters their natural behaviour, and exposes you to danger.

    Rattlesnakes

    Beware of rattlesnakes. Do not wear headphones so that you may hear the rattle sound. Wear boots or shoes that cover your ankles and long, loose fitting pants. Do not step on or over rocks or shrubs. Keep children close by. Protective snake gaiters can be borrowed from the West Block Visitor Centre and Campground Office.

    Bison

    Maintain 100 metre distance from bison (length of a football field). Startled or irritated bison can respond aggressively. If you encounter bison along the Ecotour Scenic Drive, remain in your vehicle and proceed slowly. Maintain extra caution during May and June when cows are very protective of newborn calves and in July and August during breeding season, when hiking with pets, cycling and when on horseback.

  • Emergency

    Call 911 or Park Dispatch 1-877-852-3100. Cell phone reception is limited.

  • Respect the environment
    • Pack out all garbage including food waste, diapers, and hygiene products.
    • To dispose of human waste, select a spot at least 70 m away from trails, campsites and water sources. Dig a shallow hole with a stick or heel of your boot. Cover the hole with soil or rocks afterwards. Pack out toilet paper.
    • Keep your pet on a leash at all times. Pets are not permitted on prairie dog colonies.
    • Wildflowers, horns, antlers, rocks, fossils, arrowheads, tipi rings and all other natural and historical objects in a national park are protected by law. Leave them in their natural setting for others to discover and enjoy.

More Information

West Block Visitor Centre
1-877-345-2257
East Block Campground Reception
1-306-476-2018
infopnprairies-grasslandsnpinfo@pc.gc.ca

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