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 more interesting: undulating farmland is broken up by lake-dotted valleys, lakes, pockets of badlands and the odd range of wooded hills. A trio of minor attractions – a steam railway at Ogema, Big Muddy Badlands and the unusually francophone prairie town of Gravelbourg might tempt you to lengthen your journey. But the biggest attraction lies near the US border: here Grasslands National Park protects the sort of wild prairie landscape that the region’s first white settlers encountered. The town of Swift Current documents a little of these settlers’ lives in two reconstructed villages, but these are no more impressive than the beautiful landscapes in striking distance of the 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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