Canada // The Prairie Provinces //

Prince Albert National Park

Some 230km north of Saskatoon the aspen parkland of the south meets the boreal forest of the north and is protected Prince Albert National Park. This great tract of wilderness is a landscape of rivers and creeks, deep lakes, tiny meadows and spruce bogs. The shift in vegetation is mirrored by the wildlife, with prairie species such as coyote and wild bison giving way to black bear, moose, wolf, caribou, osprey and eagle further north.

The park

The tourist village of WASKESIU, approached from the south by Hwy-263 and from the east by highways 2 and 264, is the only settlement in the park. Spread out along the southern shore of Waskesiu Lake, it has all the usual facilities, plus a narrow sandy beach that gets ridiculously overcrowded in summer.

Several of the park’s easier hiking trails begin in or near Waskesiu, most notably the 13km Kingfisher Trail, which loops through the forest just to the west. The best trails and canoe routes begin roughly 15km further north at Kingsmere Lake, accessible by boat or car from Waskesiu. They include a delightful week-long canoe trip along the western shore of Kingsmere Lake before heading through a series of remote lakes amid dense boreal forest. There’s also a 20km hike or canoe (a good overnight trip) to the idyllic Grey Owl’s Cabin (May–Sept), beside tiny Ajawaan Lake, near the northern shore of Kingsmere. Grey Owl lived here from 1931 until 1937, the year before his death, writing one of his better books, Pilgrims of the Wild; this is also where he, his wife and daughter are buried. For further information on these and other hiking and canoe routes, check at the park information office. Whatever you do in the park, remember insect repellent.