It’s a short but absolutely beautiful time of the year! For a short time in September, Saskatchewan’s forests turn into a colourful paradise. It’s almost like an explosion of colour when the trees then glow all the way to the horizon in a colourful mix of bright yellow, rich orange and even some red.
In her blog The Lost Girl’s Guide to Finding the World, travel journalist Ashlyn George regularly takes us to Saskatchewan. Today, she shares the best road trips to enjoy the changing autumn foliage in the prairie province of Saskatchewan:
Prince Albert National Park: Scenic Route (Highway 263)
One of the most popular road trips in Saskatchewan is the scenic route along Highway 263, which leads straight into Prince Albert National Park. Along this narrow, single-lane, 63-kilometre stretch of road, the vegetation transitions from aspen forests to boreal forests. There are numerous bridges, towers and trails that provide the perfect photo opportunity for the vibrant mix of golds, yellows and greens.
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park: West Block
The best stretch of road through Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park – part of Alberta, part of Saskatchewan – is in the West Block south of Maple Creek on Highway 271. A stop at the Conglomerate Cliffs overlook offers a great view of all the fall colours over Adams Lake. Continuing from here toward the Horse Farm and West Block Campground, the hill leading down to the campgrounds offers some of the most beautiful views of the forest.
Narrow Hills Provincial Park: Scenic Drive
The 19-kilometre Narrow Hills Scenic Drive is a gravel road running along a push moraine. This high ridge is part of the park’s most impressive features left behind by a retreating glacier about 10,000 years ago. An overlook near the snowmobile shelter looks south across Grace Lakes for spectacular views of fall foliage.
Qu’Appelle Valley: from Pasqua Lake to Katepwa Lake
For miles the Qu’Appelle Valley offers the most epic fall colours! With the Qu’Apelle River running more than a third of its way across Saskatchewan, there are dozens of places to admire the valley in the autumn. The 32-kilometre drive in Echo Valley Provincial Park from Pasqua Lake to Katepwa Lake is particularly appealing. The most stunning view of Pasqua Lake and Echo Lake can be enjoyed from the rim of Echo Valley.
Qu’Appelle Valley: from Lumsden to Fairy Hill (Highway 99)
The charming town of Lumsden is one of the province’s most beautiful communities in autumn. It’s a good starting point for a road trip to see the dazzling fall foliage in the Qu’Appelle Valley. On Highway 99 – or ‘Seven Bridges Road’ as called by locals – you’ll pass through Craven northeast of Lumsden. Be aware: this 21-kilometre one-way road is all gravel. The bright autumn colours of the hillsides contrast with the golden cornfields in the valley. For sunset, be sure to stop at the red-roofed Little Church in the Valley.
Duck Mountain Provincial Park
On the eastern provincial border to Manitoba, ash-maples along the Pasquia Hills in the Duck Mountain Highlands offer a brilliant display of orange-red fall foliage. Ski Hill Road offers a bird’s eye perspective of the backcountry. The road winds through the multi-coloured hills and wetlands into the heart of Little Boggy Creek and the surrounding valley.
With its golden larches, the region around the small town of Hudson Bay in Red Deer Valley is becoming a real hotspot in autumn! This area is also home to two of Saskatchewan’s highest points: Bainbridge Hill and Brockelbank Hill. From here you can take in breathtaking views of the low-lying delta of upper Saskatchewan River at the northeastern tip of Pasquia Hills, as well as the Red Deer Valley Lowlands east of the hills.
Further information can be found at www.tourismsaskatchewan.com.