Every year lots of people make a road trip around Canada by car or by campervan. Most people choose to visit the West Coast and while British Columbia has Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Whistler, and more) and Alberta has its stunning National Parks around Banff and Jasper, it’s a shame not more people visit Saskatchewan.
While it may lack those spectacular mountains of western Canada, Saskatchewan is enchanting in its very own way with rolling hills covered by rippling grain, prairies, and green grass under an endless blue sky.
This southern Saskatchewan road trip itinerary will help you discover the best Saskatchewan has to offer, so you too can fall in love with this underrated Canadian province.
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Southern Saskatchewan road trip itinerary
Important facts about Saskatchewan
How big is Saskatchewan?
Saskatchewan is the seventh biggest of Canada’s thirteen provinces. It’s a landlocked province of more than 650.000 square kilometers and home to approximately 1 million Canadians.
What’s the climate of Saskatchewan?
The weather in Saskatchewan is pretty extreme, with temperatures ranging between -40°C in winter and +30°C in summer. That being said, Saskatchewan is actually the sunniest Canadian province and the weather during the summer months is generally very pleasant.
Are there bears in Saskatchewan?
Yes, there are both grizzly and black bears in Saskatchewan, however, they generally stick to the boreal forests of Northern Saskatchewan.
Most of Southern Saskatchewan has been cultivated and is used for agriculture, as such, bears prefer the solitude in the north.
Driving in Saskatchewan: what to expect?
Saskatchewan is big and I mean BIG. While it’s not difficult to drive in Saskatchewan, there are some things to keep in mind.
First of all, fill up your tank whenever you can. Gas stations can be far apart and you don’t want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere without any fuel.
Also carry enough water and some backup food with you, if for some reason you do get stuck somewhere, you will be glad you did.
Take breaks often, to take a rest and enjoy the view. It can be easy to lose track of time when driving the endless Saskatchewan country roads, but for safety reasons it’s good to stop every couple of hours.
Avoid driving at night if you can. While larger wildlife such cougars, bears, and moose roam further north, there is plenty of wildlife in southern Saskatchewan as well and you don’t want to hit a deer while driving on the deserted pitch-black roads.
Map with Saskatchewan attractions and highlights
What to do in Saskatchewan
- Camp at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park
- Visit the T-Rex Discovery Center in Eastend
- Admire the endless views in Grasslands National Park
- Stroll around Gravelbourg
- Explore Moose Jaw
- Discover Regina
The best places to visit in Saskatchewan on a road trip
Go camping and hiking in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park (Centre Block)
Cypress Hills is a lovely provincial park which is divided into two blocks:
- The Centre Block
- The West Block
The Centre Block is the most accessible part of the park and offers many facilities. Within this section of the park, there are five campgrounds, many hiking trails, a lake with a beach and The Cypress Hills Dark-Sky Preserve with excellent stargazing opportunities.
Definitely visit Bald Butte and Lookout Point, both offer splendid views… Bald Butte is a 1281 meters tall hill and the highest point in the park, towering over the surrounding grasslands.
After tearing yourself away from the view at Bald Butte, hike the nearby short but interesting Native Prairie Interpretive Trail (a 2.2-kilometer circuit).
Cypress Hills offers some of the best hiking in Saskatchewan. There are many trails in the park and several are quite short, making these a suitable option for families with younger kids as well. A nice track is the Whispering Pines Interpretive Trail (a 2.3-kilometer circuit) near Loch Leven.
Entry into the park is CAD$10 and camp spots are between CAD$20-CAD$42 a night, depending on your preferences (full-service, electric or non-electric).
Visit the T-Rex Discovery Center in Eastend
About an hour’s drive from Cypress Hill (via highway 21 and highway 13) is the tiny village Eastend, where you can find some nice buildings dating back to 1914 when the town was founded.
However, the main reason to visit Eastend is the T-Rex Discovery Center where you can admire a 65% complete skeleton of a T-rex. I didn’t know before visiting the Discovery Center, but there are only a few T-Rex skeletons ever found in the world, so this one is really rare!
The opening hours are 10 am until 6 pm and admission is by donation (donations are used to keep the museum running).
Grasslands National Park
From the T-Rex Discovery Center in Eastend, it’s about a 1.5-hour drive to one of the best places to see in Saskatchewan, the Grasslands National Park.
Before entering the (West Block) of the park, make sure to visit the small Canadian town, Val Marie, to stock up on groceries and fuel. Also pay a visit to the Grasslands National Park Visitors Center where the friendly staff is happy to share their insider advice about the best things to do in ‘their’ park.
If you only have time for one hike in the Grasslands National Park, make it the 70 Mile Butte Trail (4 kilometers). From the top of this hill, you’ll have amazing 360 panorama view over the surrounding plains.
Where to camp in Grasslands National Park
The well-organized Frenchman Valley campground, located within the park, is a great place to camp (note: you’ll need your own tent, camper van, or RV). Facilities at the campsite include a shelter with space to cook, drinking water, clean toilets, and even WiFi!
There are several daily activities in the park, for which you can sign up at the campground. I highly recommend the Bison Facility Tour (July-September). You will learn about the 600 wild bison living in the Grasslands National Park and how each year, they are rounded up for a count and medical checkup.
Stargazing is another highlight of the Grasslands National Park, due to its remote location there is very little light pollution. On a clear night, you can see the entire Milky Way and millions of stars.
Stroll around Gravelbourg
Something you might not expect to encounter in the endless prairies of Saskatchewan is a village with a touch of European history. Gravelbourg is exactly that and is also known as the ‘Cultural Gem of Saskatchewan’.
Gravelbourg’s bilingual heritage is due to the fact that it was founded as an outpost of French Canada and until this day, many residents speak both English as well as French.
In the very walkable town center, you can follow a Heritage Walking Tour to admire the beautiful buildings that will (almost) transport you to Europe.
Don’t miss the beautiful Our Lady of the Assumption Co-Cathedral and be sure to visit the Gravelbourg Museum to learn more about this pretty town in Saskatchewan.
Cafe de Paris is a lovely place for coffee, lunch, or soft-serve ice cream. If you would like to spend more time in Gravelbourg, there are camping options (relatively) close to the city.
Visit Moose Jaw
Moose Jaw is one of the larger cities in Saskatchewan, with a population of 33.000 people. It’s a city with a turbulent history, rumor has it that Al Capone himself sold booze in the Tunnels of Moose Jaw. Definitely pay a visit to these tunnels and learn more about the secrets of Moose Jaw’s notorious past…
Another stop that can’t miss on your Moose Jaw itinerary is Mac the Moose, a 10.3-meter tall statue of a moose (obviously) and the worlds tallest (there is another huge moose statue in Norway which is 30 centimeters shorter).
A fun and easy way to see more of Moose Jaw is the Moose Jaw Trolley Tours. These one hour tours are led by entertaining guides who share insider knowledge about the must-see attractions, heritage buildings, and murals found in ‘their’ city.
Where to stay in Moose Jaw
For those traveling in a van or RV, the The River Park Campground is located just minutes away from downtown.
If you want to stay at a lovely hotel, check out the Grant Hall Hotel, a beautifully restored building with a history dating back to 1928.
Regina was founded in 1882 and is the capital of Saskatchewan. It’s a city with a rich history and there are plenty of nice places to visit in Regina. I recommend spending at least two days here, to explore the many sights. Some of the highlights in Regina are:
This large urban park is built around Wascana Lake and it’s a lovely place to spend half a day. Go for a walk around the lake, relax on one of the many benches (while doing some people watching), or check out a couple of the monuments and memorials found within the park.
Royal Saskatchewan Museum
The Royal Saskatchewan Museum can be found in Wascana Centre so you won’t have to walk far after your explorations in the park. This natural history museum has three permanent exhibits: the Life Science Gallery, the Earth Sciences Gallery and the First Nations Gallery.
Allow yourself at least a couple of hours to learn about the history of Saskatchewan and its people.
Provincial Legislative Building
The tour around the Provincial Legislative Building in Regina was no exception, it’s a great way to learn about the government of Saskatchewan and the beautiful building!
Where to stay in Regina
Regarding where to stay, if you are traveling around with a van as we did, check out the iOverlander app for up-to-date information about where to camp.
If you prefer to stay at a hotel, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Regina Downtown is a good option.
Road trip Saskatchewan: in conclusion
I hope you have enjoyed this Saskatchewan itinerary and I wish you a wonderful road trip around this beautiful Canadian province.
Please let me know if you have any questions about this road trip itinerary, you can leave a comment below or send me a message.
Also read my other Canada post for more Canada travel inspiration!