Nature Canada

6 Natural Wonders You Must Experience in Saskatchewan

Image of guest blogger Jay Brown

Jay Brown Guest Blogger

This blog was written by guest blogger Jay Brown. 

I have lived in Saskatchewan my entire life, all 26 years of it, and this place never ceases to amaze me. I recently started a project called SaskHiker where I am making it my goal to travel around this big old rectangle to discover and experience all the natural beauty that my province offers.

Image of a man hiking in Saskatchewan in the fall

Saskatchewan in fall. Credit SaskHiker

Saskatchewan to many, is a place full of wheat fields and never ending sunsets. While this is true for parts of the province, this place has so much more to offer those who are willing to explore it. I have compiled a list of 6 natural wonders that you must experience in Saskatchewan.

[separator headline=”h3″ title=”1) Active and Ancient Sand Dunes”]

Image of the Douglas Provincial Park Sand Dune

Hiking the Douglas Provincial Park Sand Dune. Credit SaskHiker

Saskatchewan used to be a very different place and you can find evidence of the leftovers from millions of years of glacial activity and the remnants of a once massive lake. What has been left behind are pockets of active sand dunes that rise out of the surrounding flora.

You can find sand dunes in a few places such as the Douglas Provincial Park, The Great Sandhills or even much further north at the Athabasca Sand Dunes located near the North-West Territories border and are the world’s most northerly dunes.

[separator headline=”h3″ title=”2) Never Ending River Valley’s”]

Pop question – where does Saskatchewan get its name from? Give up? Well, the province is named after the mighty river that splits it in two, the Saskatchewan River which is a Cree word that means “swift, flowing river.”

Image of the South Saskatchewan River Valley

The South Saskatchewan River Valley. Credit SaskHiker

The North and South Saskatchewan Rivers start in the peaks of the Rockies where they remarkably eventually meet to form the Saskatchewan River before it continues on its way to Hudson Bay and finishes its 1939km journey.

Those who stand on their valley walls and gaze upon the vista will find themselves thinking the river drops off the end of the earth.

[separator headline=”h3″ title=”3) Purple Sand Beaches”]

Saskatchewan’s recent geological history is that of glaciers. After roughly 2 million years of glaciers grinding their way across the province it has left some clues to just how powerful these forces can be.

Image of Purple Sand Beach at Prince Albert National Park.

Purple Sand Beach at Prince Albert National Park. Credit SaskHiker

Located in numerous places throughout the province such as the Prince Albert National Park, Candle Lake, Deschambault Lake, Hunter Bay, Good Spirit Lake and many more places you will find the odd beach that is purple. It is really quite a sight to behold as the sand shimmers in the light.

For my own curiosity I reached out to the Geology Department at the University of Saskatchewan to get an answer on where this sand comes from. Their hypothesis is that garnet (the purple sand) was carried south from their home in the Canadian Shield and deposited in these lakes. Over time the less dense garnet rises to the top and we are left with these purple beaches!

[separator headline=”h3″ title=”4) 100,000 Lakes and Rivers”]

Over 12% of Saskatchewan’s entire 651,900km2 is covered in water. That is 100,000 lakes and rivers! You are never too far from a great place to go swimming in these borders. (That is if you can handle a little bit of cold water)

Image of Gem Lakes, Narrow Hills Provincial Park

Gem Lakes, Narrow Hills Provincial Park. Credit SaskHiker

Our lakes vary in their size and ecology but each one has its own lifetime of memories to share. If you ever talk to someone from Saskatchewan ask them which lake they grew up on I am sure they will talk your ear off.

The lakes between the north and south are quite unique from each other but both offer endless opportunities for fun.

[separator headline=”h3″ title=”5) The Cliffs of the Canadian Shield”]

I hope by this point you are now starting to realize how much more there is to my home, but did you know almost 40% of Saskatchewan’s land mass is covered by the Canadian Shield? Yup, that same rock that dominates the landscapes of Ontario and Quebec is also here as well.

Image of Stanley Mission Pictographs

Stanley Mission Pictographs. Credit: Tourism Saskatchewan/Chris Hendrickson Photography

One of the highlights of these rocks is the many cliffs that surround lakes in the north. They are best experienced by canoe as you navigate your way through numerous channels. One of the best places to see these cliffs is near the town of Stanley Mission where not only will you get to experience the shield but you can find ancient pictographs on the rock left there from First Nations tribes that date back several centuries.

[separator headline=”h3″ title=”6) A High Point”]

Many think that once you leave the Rockies Mountains that is your last opportunity to stand on top of the world. However, you will be surprised to find the one place in the province that wasn’t carved out by glaciers, this special area is called the Cypress Hills. These hills are the highest point in Canada east of the Rockies.

Image of the view from Cypress Hills

Enjoying the view at Cypress Hills. Credit SaskHiker

These hills rise out of the surrounding prairies and allow you to experience the eerie effect of witnessing the world end. From the top of the buttes at Cypress Hills on a clear day you will be taken aback on how open the world can be.

These are just a few examples of some of the things I have explored and witnessed here in Saskatchewan. I invite you to come to my home and visit these places for yourself.

Image of Saskatchewan Forest

Ahhh… Saskatchewan! Credit SaskHiker

I write more about Saskatchewan and post information on how to experience the more natural side of things on my website. Follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to see the new places I explore.

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