Grasslands National Park

This summer I ventured to the West Block of Grasslands National Park. It covers over 900 square kilometres of natural prairie. We stayed at the Frenchman Valley Campground 20 minutes from Val Marie. The campground had vault toilets, potable water, electricity, fire pits, and a park centre to escape poor weather conditions and visit with park staff. There are no showers or sinks at this campground. The site also features 4 oTENTiks, a cabin/tent cross, for up to six people. They are more expensive ($90/night), but include a table, BBQ, fire pit, deck, and Adirondack chairs.

Our first impressions were favourable. Immediately entering the park we observed prairie dogs in their colonies. Just down the road we watched a few bison engaged in dust baths, scratching on rocks, and crossing the road mere metres away from us (we were in a vehicle). We also seen coyotes, deer (white-tail and mule), pronghorn, and gophers. Unfortunately, we did not come across any rattlesnakes.

During our stay we hiked several trails: Larson Interpretive, Eagle Butte/70 Mile Butte, Riverwalk, and Belza. My favorite was the 70 Mile Butte trail. We also went on the Ecotour Scenic Drive. In Val Marie we visited Prairie Wind and Silver Sage, a museum, cafe, bookstore, art gallery, and gift shop.

On our next visit we would hike the Broken Hills or Timbergulch trails. We would also probably stay in a tipi near the Two Trails area. This area is close to trails, washroom, shade, and is quiet. However, there is no potable water at this campsite.

I highly recommend you spend some time at this park!


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