If you’re not headed to the cabin for a weekend during summertime in Saskatchewan, you’re likely planning at least one camping trip to hang out in the camper or the tent at the lake. It’s more than just visiting a national, provincial or regional park. After our long winters, getting outside and enjoying the sun and nature is a Saskatchewan pastime.
It’s extra convenient we happen to have more than 100,000 lakes to choose from.
There are multiple ways to camp in the province from backcountry tent sites and front country campgrounds to staying in yurts, tipis or Camp-Easy tents that are ready when you arrive (and are great if you don’t have the gear). Saskatchewan is essentially a select-your-own-camping-adventure destination.
Covering the basics, here is the low-down on what you need to know when preparing for a camping weekend away in the province.
Of course you need standard camping gear like a tent, sleeping bags and mats, camp stove, lighter, flashlight, bug spray, bathing suit and sunscreen. But there are numerous ways to add a touch of luxury to a camping experience.
- Maple Marshmallows: A Canadian-twist on the sweet campfire treat, pick up a bag of maple flavoured marshmallows when making s’mores over the fire. Hot tip: Purchase chocolate-topped Celebration cookies to mash the marshmallows between.
- Rope Lights: Pick up battery-operated rope lights to string around your campground or RV to add a touch of luxury to your site. You can carry them in your pack if you’re hiking in to a campsite in the backcountry.
- Floaty Toys: Cute floaty toys like swans, donuts, pizzas and unicorns are all the hype these days and make for cool Instagram photos. Not sure where to pick up swim toys? Search the Mysask411 app for swim accessories.
It’s important to practice leave no trace principles while enjoying the outdoors. This means tossing that apple core and orange peel in a garbage not in the bush and leaving plants or flowers along the trail. Everyone appreciates showing up to a campsite and facilities that are clean and in great condition.
Camp tip: use biodegradable soap. One popular brand is Campsuds and can be purchased at any outdoor shop like The North Face Regina, Outter Limits in Saskatoon or Fresh Air Experience in Prince Albert. If you’re looking to purchase camping equipment, search the Mysask411 app to find where to pick up camping gear here.
Pine Cree Regional Park
The best part about Pine Cree Regional Park is how unexpected the valley and its 30 (non-electric) campsites are. Set amongst pine trees and poplars, the headwaters of Swift Current Creek bubbles through here. There are short hikes leading into the hills and a reconstruction of the Hermit’s Cave where a geologist lived in the 1960s. If you don’t want to cook over the open fire and want to eat local, plan an evening meal at Harvest Eatery and Fresh Market in Shaunavon.
2. Meadow Lake Provincial Park
This park has it all. Less than an hour from the city of Meadow Lake, the provincial park has both front and backcountry campsites. Popular campgrounds include the ones around Greig Lake, Kimball Lake and Pierce Lake. For the adventurous, hike the short distance into Wolf Bay Campsite and set up your tent overlooking Lac des Iles lake or pitch a tent on the edge of Cold Lake.
3. Gem Lakes Trail
Located in Narrow Hills Provincial Park, the Gem Lakes is a great backcountry location for those new to backcountry camping. The entire trail is a 5.5 kilometre loop around seven lakes with three official campsites, including fire pits and picnic tables. If you forget something in your vehicle, it’s only a short hike out to grab it.
4. Grasslands National Park
Go where the buffalo roam in southern Saskatchewan and spend the night in a real teepee in the Frenchman Valley Campground in Grasslands National Park. Spend the day on a self-drive Saskatchewan safari spotting the variety of grassland animals. Don’t forget to keep a sharp eye out for those prairie rattlesnakes.
It’s possible to book a campsite on arrival but it’s much more convenient to plan in advance.
For national campsites, book online here.
For provincial campsites, book online here.
For regional parks, book online here or contact the park directly by phone to book in advance.
– Ashlyn George is a travel blogger extraordinaire and former Saskatchewanderer.