Things to do in Saskatchewan

Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan: Address, Phone Number, Grasslands National Park Reviews: 4.5/5

Grasslands National Park
4.5
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Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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The area
Address
Highway 4 Val Marie, Saskatchewan S0N 2T0 Canada
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4.5
126 reviews
Excellent
83
Very good
29
Average
11
Poor
3
Terrible
0

Leanna J
8 contributions
Jul. 2021 • Solo
This ancient landscape is unlike anything else in the world. The badlands in the east block are dramatically different from the surrounding landscape - I highly recommend visiting both blocks for this reason. The west block offers more wildlife viewing opportunities, in addition to the beautiful landscapes. The park is accessible for all ages and abilities. If you’re not into hiking, the scenic drives in both blocks are just as wonderful. The immaculate campgrounds offer spacious oTENTniks with BBQ’s and big fire pits… The interpretive programs are worth planning for.
Written February 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Colette P
Richmond, Canada120 contributions
Sep. 2021
Our second time to the Park and we Loved it!!!!! We stayed one night in a Frenchman Valley Otentik GREAT experience. You cannot believe the stars you will see and hearing the animals at night was fantastic!! It gets very cold at night so bring many layers. The Otentik is very very basic but it fits your needs. The heaters Do not heat up the unit at all.. Lovely drive throughout the park and an easy drive as well. A must see!!!
Written October 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

altima2000
Regina, Canada137 contributions
Sep. 2021
Great place to spend a day. 3 or 4 hours minimum for the east block. Not yet tried the west block. Friendly staff at the office, admission is cheap $5 for seniors. Good walking shoes for the walking tour is recommended, the driving tour is easier on the feet but still involves out of the car to get the best bang for your buck. Not the easiest place to find and does involve driving on a gravel road for 10or 12 miles. All in all an exceptional place to visit.
Written September 26, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Thon
Ottawa, Canada676 contributions
Jul. 2021
Spent 2 days hiking here in early July. We stayed outside the park so cannot comment on their 2 campgrounds. We only visited the West Block. Beautiful park and we hardly saw anyone in it when we were hiking (weekdays).

The first morning we hiked Eagle Butte and 70 Mile Butte - at least we tried to. We are experienced hikers but somehow got ‘lost’ and ended up on the really long Bearpaw Sea trail - as soon as we saw the sign telling us where we were, we turned around. Somehow we missed where the 70 Mile Butte trail loops off the Eagle Butte trail. But there are no signs telling you anything once you leave the parking lot. They really need to address this. Very frustrating.

We had lunch at the trailhead to the Riverwalk trail - what a beautiful picnic site! Lots of picnic tables and Adirondack chairs and lots of shade under the trees. Plus there was a gas BBQ there - what a surprise! The trail itself was well marked and by early afternoon it was really, really hot but we had no difficulty with the trail - pretty level walking.

On our second day we hiked the Two Trees Trail in the morning before it got too hot. But it was still awfully hot, although there were nice breezes in many places which made the walk more tolerable. Beautiful views but the one take-away I have from our hiking in the park at this time of year is that the trails can seem more strenuous because of the high heat - there is no shade on these trails.

In the afternoon we drove the Ecotour Scenic Drive. Lots - and I mean lots - of prairie dogs in some areas. Plus, we saw a herd of bison, but way off in the distance on the hillside on the other side of the Frenchman River. Lots of places we saw “evidence” of bison where we stopped, but we didn’t have any closer encounters until……..I think it was stop #2 - looking over the edge into the ‘valley’ was 1 lone bison. At first we thought it was a rock, but it was too black. With binoculars or a telephoto lens it was clearly a lone bison patiently munching away on the grass.

We will not be back to Grasslands - not because we didn’t enjoy it, but because we live much too far away to drive out here again, and there are so many other places to see in Canada. We never saw a rattlesnake, but believe we me looked for them, hoping not to see any! Saw a couple of species of prairie dogs, many eagles (I think they were golden eagles), bison, mule deer, one Greater Short-horned lizard (which just sort of materialized in front of us on the Eagle Butte Trail) plus a number of bird species I can’t identify.

We’re glad we went and saw this part of Canada.
Written August 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Leanna J
8 contributions
Jul. 2021 • Solo
This park is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Native grasslands, badlands, massive skies and endangered species create a totally unique experience in conservation and ecotourism. I recommend visiting both the East Block and the West Block since they are very different. At least one day in each if possible. The East Block’s Badlands Parkway driving tour offers dramatic badlands landscapes. The West Block is beautiful landscapes and wildlife, like Plains Bison and Burrowing Owls. The Blacktailed Prairie dogs are hilarious to watch in their colonies along the road. Tours with park staff are wonderful. Thank you Parks Canada for protecting this place.
Written August 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Iryna S
Regina, Canada22 contributions
Jul. 2021 • Family
We have just returned from Grasslands National Park. We stayed in East block in oTentik for two days. Despite the heat and lack of any shelter, the park was beautiful, peaceful and had lots to offer. We biked and drove the Badlands Pathway, hiked a few times, including 1000 Devils Valley early in the morning. As it was hard to hike during the day due to the heat, we drive to the west block. The drive was neat and pleasant. The west block is different from the east one - it’s bigger and has more hikes but we felt more comfortable in the east block.

At night, there were always activities planned, such as signing by the fire, listening to storytelling by local Elders or just relaxing at the site.

The nights were chilly but it got warm really once the sun was up.

Our kids (ages 9 snd 11) had fun catching Minos in the creek, chasing rabbits and playing games by the park office site.

Saskatchewan has so much to offer but it was a truly unique experience to see badlands in this amazing province.
Written August 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mrs-Dash59
Saskatchewan, Canada742 contributions
Jun. 2021
We visited mid June for 6 days. 3 days in each block. At first when we booked we wondered if perhaps the stay might be too long but we decided with camping so hard to get this year, what the heck. So glad we stayed the length of time we did. By the time we reached each location and set up camp most of day one in each spot was eaten up. This park exceeded my expectations. I have lived in this province my whole life and can't believe how different this park is compared to the rest of Saskatchewan.

Our first stop was East Block. The Badlands Parkway was our favorite. A beautiful paved 11 km with look out spots that will blow you away. This paved path is wide enough for vehicles, as well biking & hiking. We biked it 3 times! We also did some hiking. Because of the wind, heat and the fact we biked most days we did not partake in any long hikes. We hiked the Rock Creek Trail twice (close to the Visitors Centre/Day Use Area. This is an easy hike of 2 km. We hiked part of the Red Buttes which is accessed from the Rock Creek Trail. We also hiked a portion of Valley of 1000 Devils. The staff at this block are amazing. So full of info regarding the area. One afternoon out came the banjo and guitar and two staff sang. The campground on East side has water for RV plus sewage disposal.

The drive on highway 18 between the two blocks is very scenic. If you need fuel or groceries stop at Mankota. The fuel station is a cardlock but during the day a staff member will fill for you and you can use debit or credit. There is a grocery store in the town that sells a bit of everything, even beer, wine & liquor. One thing we did not know is if you have back to back reservations for East/West you can be checked it at one place for both. We did not have to go into Val Marie as we were already checked in and filled our water at East Block so just took the turn off to West Block.

West Block totally different that East Block. The Ecotour Scenic Drive starts as you enter the park. The drive to the 7 major stops is about 15 km or so. Beyond that is a Texas gate and you are then entering the wilderness part of the Scenic Drive. We did not do that portion. Animals we saw during our stay within the first 15 km include the Prairie Dogs (many), coyote (hanging out near the Prairie Dog Colony, Bison, a small herd right near the road, a moose, several Pronghorn Antelope, deer, and of course a rattle snake. The day we arrived at West was extremely windy. We could barely keep our trailer door from flying off the hinges lol. The following morning before the wind picked up we cycled the Ecotour Tour. Biking first to the Texas Gate near stop 7 and biking to the park entrance stop 1. It was so beautiful! The gravel road was solid and our bikes had no issues. We biked 36 km in total that morning. In the afternoon we hiked from the campground to Belza Look Out Point (red chairs). We noticed a mowed trail below that we ended up hiking on. The trail takes you to Larson House & Trail and returns to the campground. We hiked about 7 km in total. For some reason this trail is not on their trail map. The following day we drove into Val Marie to stop at the Visitors Center then went on to hike the Two Trees (my fav) and the Riverwalk Trail. Total for both 7 km. Nice picnic area and bathroom available. To get to these two trails plus a few others you have to drive to Val Marie and continue down hwy 4 to reach the trailheads. The road is well marked by Parks Canada. Regarding the camping at West Block, there is a sewer drop but no water to fill RV.

Both blocks entertained us in the evening to amazing sunsets, full moon and huge cloud formations. The Land of the Living Skies sure rings true here. The one thing I felt that was lacking in this park is a playground for children. We did see a few families camping and some had young children that would have enjoyed a playground. The other is showers. We have a shower in our trailer that we used. That isn't an option for tenters. There isn't trees to hang a solar bag from. I am sure folks would pay to have access to a shower. Other than that the Grasslands exceeded our expectations!

We were surprised to see folks camping from across Canada. As far East as Quebec and as far West as Vancouver Island and from the North the Yukon. Chatted with lots of nice folks across the country that picked the Grasslands as their stop on their cross country tour. Hats off Parks Canada for putting Sask on the map!!
Written July 3, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

rlmptl
Lloydminster, Canada1,049 contributions
Jun. 2021 • Couples
We stayed in both the East and West block. We found getting to the east block our first stop a little difficult you have to really watch your highways which can be in poor condition with poor signage especially when you choose to take scenic routes on the back roads we chose to travel from castle Butte badlands big muddy to Highway 705 which is a grid that takes you to Willow bunch then highway 36 south we wanted to take 705 and continue over through the saint Victor petroglyphs Historic Park to scout Lake all the way to Wood Mountain where we stopped to see the museum which was very smelly and the young attendant knew nothing when we tried to ask questions about exhibits it's $5 each and there is a washroom and a
swimming pool there anyways we couldn't find
the sign for 705 and no one seemed to know anything about it in willowbunch. we also wanted to view the Fife Lake Campground but the road was closed so we couldn't get there it definitely takes quite a while this route and grocery stores and gas stations are hard to find so stock up make sure you have lots of fuel Before you get to the park. Also beware our cellphone was constantly trying to connect to a USA tower where data roaming charges apply. What we liked about the East Block was the scenery from the campsite we were in campsite 11 the sites are fairly spaced out on the flat parking lot style powered, the ones in the centre don't have the best view and more cramped, it's the ones on the outside that are great for view and feeling private we liked site 2. There was pit toilets here for East block no sinks inside they did have nice cold water only dishwashing sinks in the campsite it's a newer Campground for washing dishes and there's free Wi-Fi but you can only get it when you're up beside the building and no data otherwise worked here unless on top of hill on hike and it may pick up US tower. Make sure you drive the Badlands Parkway there are a lot of stops and it can take a lot of time. You need to be prepared for all weather here its very cool in the evening we did the one kilometer hike just passed the bridge near the main building. Then scorching hot winds bring lots of water. Between 7 pm and 9 or 10 am there is no park staff on site and it's on the honor system so technically if you arrive during those times and there no sites you could stop in the overflow camping where there's no power and then have a fire in the central guest pit otherwise it's an $8 fee for firewood and you wouldn't be paying for a campsite if you left before the park people
came it's the same for west block wifi was more spotty there too but we had data. We then went the next day to the West block beware very bad grid roads be sure you take the turn south on the grid into the park before turning on the curve to Val Marie that's what takes you to the Frenchmans River Valley campground and the first stop on the echo drive this Campground is smaller view is flater there are no sinks for washing dishes there are no shower buildings in either campgrounds but the sites are electrified. We had campsite 10 it was nice and private take the short hike to the left of campground to the Belza rest stop that would have been auesome camping and the bench at the end of the glamping left the back way to visitors centre near val Marie
Written June 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ashlyne N
Sudbury, Canada235 contributions
May 2021
We had no idea what to expect but we are very glad we made the detour to this park! The prairie dogs were everywhere, the view and landscape was like nothing we’d ever seen before and the staff was very inviting and informative. We even saw multiple herds of bison and one that was about 20 feet away!
Written May 26, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

moremanoi
Montreal164 contributions
Aug. 2020 • Family
I’ve been interested in visiting for many years and finally got the chance.

The park is really interesting with lots of room to get off the beaten track.

We visited with kids during the pandemic and went backcountry camping. In fact, we were the only backcountry campers both East and West. The 80km scenic drive was closed, oddly enough.

Both blocks offer great views but are completely different. I recommend at least a night or two in both sections.

We were there during a full moon so could not enjoy the dark sky but did enjoy an orange moon.

It can get extremely hot and both water and food are hard to come by in the area. We visited over a long weekend and shops on the way were closed both Sunday and Monday! There is not much on offer at the office, so we had to head to Swift Current to get supplies. Gas, however, is available with credit cards 24/7.

We saw lots of wildlife including a herd of pronghorn. We also listened to the coyotes sing. I was disappointed not to have found the buffalo and it seems park staff don’t track them closely so you do have to search at certain times a year.

Staff are lovely, particularly on the East block. However, when planning a trip the person I spoke to at the West block had little experience actually hiking or camping in the park.

I would definitely come back. This park is highly underrated and you’ll enjoy the lack of visitors.
Written August 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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