Going to any Canadian National Park you might think that how to plan and what to bring would be the same anywhere, but going to Grasslands National Park is a completely different adventure. Before considering your adventure into southern Saskatchewan, take note that there is no public transportation to the National Park so you will need to have a car to get there. The drive is about 4 hours from either Saskatoon or Regina, and 2.5 hours from Moose Jaw. Once you get closer to the park, the roads begin to deteriorate and eventually turn to dirt or gravel. Most two-wheel drive cars can do the trip, but if you have the option, a have a four-wheel drive car is recommended. On directions to the park, check out our post on how to get to Grasslands National Park.
The park is open year round, but the Visitor’s Centre, camping and all other amenities are only open from May to October. There are no entry fees into the park, but if you are planning on camping (front-country or back-country) there are overnight fees for that.
Things to Know:
- There is no food or drink amenities once you enter the park, so make sure to bring plenty of food and water.
- Do not plan on purifying the water in the Frenchman Valley River or any other water sources in the National Park as all the freshwater in the region is far too salty to drink
- Make sure to enter the park on a full tank of gas, as gas stations are very limited in the area. Your closest gas station near the West Block area is 15km from Val Marie.
- If you are planning on being there past dark, make sure to have a flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries, as it is darker in the park than most are used to due to the lack of light pollution from surrounding towns (which makes for amazing star-gazing).
- There is almost no cell service throughout the park so make sure to pick up a map at the Visitor’s Centre before heading out, and pack a compass and GPS that can run without cell signal.
Otherwise, your packing list it is largely common sense regarding what to bring depending on the length of your stay in the park. Getting a chance to explore this land so full of history – where you can learn about the early settlers and ranchers that once called this land home, see some of the 12,000 tipi rings that were left behind by the First Nations people, and have a chance to come across fossils or bones that date back to the 60-80 million years ago – will leave you speechless.