From Regina the 400km drive west across southern Saskatchewan on Hwy-1 is monotonous, with Moose Jaw, the 1920s Prohibition hangout of American gangsters, the only really worthwhile stop. Away from Hwy-1 things get far more interesting: undulating farmland is broken up by lakes and rivers and holds pockets of arid semi-desert and the odd range of wooded hills. Near the US border the weathered buttes and conical hills of the Big Muddy Badlands are best explored on tours, while west of here, Grasslands National Park protects the sort of wild prairie landscape that the region’s first white settlers must have encountered. Other beautiful landscapes lie within striking distance of the quintessential cowboy town of Maple Creek, among them the starkly beautiful Great Sand Hills and the forested hills and ridges of Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park with its restored Mountie outpost, Fort Walsh.
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