Discover Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan

Welcome to Grasslands National Park Guide, your gateway to uncovering the hidden treasures of Canada’s untouched prairie oasis. Situated in the province of Saskatchewan, Grasslands National Park stands as a testament to the vast and unspoiled beauty of the Canadian prairies. Encompassing over 900 square kilometers of rolling grasslands, rugged coulees, and dramatic badlands, this park offers visitors a glimpse into a pristine landscape teeming with biodiversity and natural wonders.

Grasslands National Park is divided into two distinct blocks: the West Block and the East Block, each offering its own unique attractions and opportunities for exploration. In the West Block, visitors can marvel at the expansive vistas of the Frenchman River Valley, hike through pristine grasslands, and encounter iconic prairie wildlife such as bison, pronghorn antelope, and prairie dogs. Meanwhile, the East Block showcases the stunning beauty of the badlands, with towering rock formations, ancient fossils, and panoramic views of the surrounding prairie landscape.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a wildlife lover, or simply seeking solace in the tranquility of the prairie wilderness, Grasslands National Park promises an unforgettable experience filled with adventure and discovery.


Top 3 Facts About Grasslands National Park


Dark Sky Preserve

Grasslands National Park is designated as a Dark Sky Preserve, making it an exceptional destination for stargazing. With minimal light pollution, visitors can enjoy clear views of the night sky, including the Milky Way and constellations, making it one of the best places in Canada for astrophotography and celestial observation.


Unique Ecosystem

Grasslands National Park protects one of the last remaining intact mixed-grass prairie ecosystems in North America. This unique habitat is home to a diverse array of plant and animal species, including rare and endangered species such as black-tailed prairie dogs, burrowing owls, and swift foxes, making it an important area for conservation.


Bison Conservation

The park plays a crucial role in the conservation of North America’s largest land mammal, the plains bison. Grasslands National Park is home to a free-roaming herd of approximately 300 plains bison, which are descendants of the last wild bison that once roamed the prairies. The park’s bison conservation efforts aim to preserve genetic diversity and restore ecological balance to the grassland ecosystem.

Camping and transportation in Grasslands National Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Grasslands National Park

Getting to Grasslands National Park requires some planning due to its remote location in Saskatchewan, Canada. Here are several ways to reach the park:

  • By Car: The most common way to reach Grasslands National Park is by car. The park has two main blocks: the West Block and the East Block. The West Block is accessible via Highway 18, approximately 20 kilometers south of the town of Val Marie. The East Block is accessed via Highway 18, approximately 80 kilometers southeast of the town of Shaunavon. Visitors can drive to the park from nearby cities such as Regina or Saskatoon.
  • Public Transportation: While there is no direct public transportation to Grasslands National Park, visitors can take a bus or train to nearby towns such as Regina or Swift Current, and then rent a car to drive to the park. Alternatively, some tour companies may offer guided tours to the park from these cities.
  • Air Travel: The closest major airports to Grasslands National Park are in Regina and Saskatoon. From either city, visitors can rent a car and drive to the park. Small regional airports are also located in Swift Current and Medicine Hat, Alberta, providing additional options for air travel.

Places to Stay Near Grasslands National Park

While there are no accommodations within Grasslands National Park itself, there are several options for camping and lodging near the park:

  • Val Marie: The town of Val Marie is located near the West Block of Grasslands National Park and offers a few lodging options, including motels and bed-and-breakfasts. These accommodations provide convenient access to the park’s western entrance and amenities such as restaurants and shops.
  • East Block Campground: Grasslands National Park’s East Block has a campground with basic amenities, including pit toilets and picnic tables. The campground offers a rustic camping experience amidst the park’s stunning landscapes, but there is no potable water or electricity available.
  • Private Campgrounds: There are several private campgrounds located near Grasslands National Park, offering additional camping options with facilities such as showers, laundry, and RV hookups. These campgrounds may be found in nearby towns such as Val Marie, Shaunavon, or Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.
  • Backcountry Camping: For those seeking a more adventurous camping experience, backcountry camping is permitted in designated areas of Grasslands National Park. Visitors must obtain a backcountry camping permit and adhere to Leave No Trace principles while camping in the park’s remote wilderness.
  • RV Parks: If you’re traveling in an RV or camper, there are RV parks and campgrounds in nearby towns that offer full hookups and amenities such as showers and Wi-Fi. These RV parks provide a comfortable base for exploring Grasslands National Park and the surrounding area.
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Best Time to Go to Grasslands National Park



Summer is a popular time to visit Grasslands National Park, thanks to warm temperatures and longer daylight hours. It’s an ideal season for exploring the park’s hiking trails, scenic drives, and outdoor activities such as camping and stargazing. Wildlife sightings are also abundant during the summer months, with opportunities to spot bison, pronghorn antelope, and other native species. Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and water, as temperatures can be hot during the day.



Winter brings a peaceful serenity to Grasslands National Park, with snow-covered landscapes and crisp, clear skies. While temperatures can be cold, winter is an excellent time for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and winter photography. The park’s designation as a Dark Sky Preserve also makes it a fantastic destination for stargazing during clear winter nights. Visitors should be prepared for icy roads and limited services during the winter months, but the park’s pristine beauty and solitude make it a rewarding winter destination for outdoor enthusiasts.



Spring is a beautiful time to visit Grasslands National Park as the prairie landscapes come to life with vibrant wildflowers and lush greenery. Temperatures are mild, making it perfect for hiking and wildlife viewing. Spring also marks the return of migratory birds to the park, offering excellent opportunities for birdwatching enthusiasts. However, visitors should be prepared for unpredictable weather, including occasional rain showers and strong winds.

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Must-See Attractions

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Frenchman River Valley

This picturesque valley showcases the beauty of the park’s West Block, with rolling grasslands, rugged coulees, and stunning vistas. The valley is home to diverse wildlife, including bison, pronghorn antelope, and golden eagles, making it a prime spot for wildlife viewing and photography.


The park’s East Block features dramatic badlands terrain, with towering rock formations, ancient fossils, and colorful layers of sedimentary rock. Visitors can hike along trails such as the 70 Mile Butte Trail or the Valley of 1,000 Devils Trail to explore the unique geological features of the badlands and uncover remnants of prehistoric life.

Ecotour Road

This scenic drive winds through the West Block of Grasslands National Park, offering panoramic views of the Frenchman River Valley and surrounding prairie landscapes. Visitors can stop at overlooks, interpretive panels, and picnic areas to learn about the park’s natural and cultural history.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Grasslands National Park

Plan Ahead

Be Prepared for Remote Conditions

Grasslands National Park is located in a remote area of Saskatchewan, Canada, with limited services and facilities. Be sure to bring essential supplies such as food, water, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a first-aid kit. It’s also a good idea to fill up your gas tank before entering the park, as there are no gas stations within the park boundaries.

Pack Appropriately

Pack for Changing Weather

Weather conditions in Grasslands National Park can be unpredictable, with hot summers, cold winters, and sudden changes in temperature. Dress in layers and be prepared for both sun and rain, especially if you plan to explore the park on foot or spend time outdoors.

Respect Wildlife

Respect Wildlife

The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including bison, pronghorn antelope, and rattlesnakes. Keep a safe distance from wildlife and observe them from a distance to avoid disturbing their natural behavior. Be especially cautious when driving to avoid collisions with animals crossing the road.

Stay Informed

Stay on Designated Trails

Stick to designated trails and roads when exploring the park to protect fragile ecosystems and minimize erosion. Off-trail hiking is not permitted in certain areas to preserve sensitive habitats and archaeological sites. Be sure to follow all posted signs and regulations.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Grasslands National Park

Grasslands National Park offers an array of camping options. You can pitch your tent at designated front-country sites or take it a step further with backcountry camping for a true wilderness experience. For a unique overnight stay, try the oTENTiks – a cross between a tent and a rustic cabin.

The park boasts trails for every level of hiker. The 70 Mile Butte trail gives you an astonishing view from the highest point in the park, while the Eagle Butte trail is a shorter, family-friendly option. AllTrails lists 14 fantastic trails in the West Block, each offering a unique vista of the park’s landscape.

From driving the scenic Badlands Parkway to joining a Fossil Fever tour, the park is bustling with activities. You can hike the trails during the day, join interpretative programs, or enjoy wildlife watching. Don’t forget to chase the sunset for breathtaking views and stargaze into the clear night sky.

Did you know Grasslands National Park was established in 1981 and is split into two distinct blocks, the East and the West? The park is one of the few remaining natural grasslands in North America and is a significant habitat for species like the black-tailed prairie dog and the bison.

Besides in-park camping, the nearby village of Val Marie offers accommodations just a stone’s throw from the West Block entrance. Alternatively, you might find guest ranches, bed and breakfasts, or hotels within a reasonable drive from the park’s perimeters.

Keep your eyes peeled for the majestic bison, swift foxes, and the quirky black-tailed prairie dogs. Birdwatchers also have the chance to spot rare species such as the burrowing owl and the greater sage-grouse.

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