The Conglomerate Cliffs at sunrise. If we had to pick our favourite spot in the Cypress Hills, this would be it. Beautiful anytime, this special spot really comes alive at sunrise when the east-facing, reddish-tinged cliffs are bathed in a warm glow.
The Cypress Hills are without a doubt among the most photogenic parts of Saskatchewan, with a rich mix of landscapes that don’t fit neatly into any one category. During the last ice age, when most of the province was buried under mountains of ice, glaciers never reached this higher plateau, leaving the region relatively free from the powerful effects of erosion caused by moving ice sheets.
Today we find a delightful mix of uplands (with the highest elevation in Canada between the Rockies and Labrador), combined with an unusual blend of grasslands and forest. Prolific wildflower displays abound in these varied habitats, with some beauties difficult to find elsewhere. The “island” nature of the hills makes it a haven for a wide array of wildlife. History looms large as well, especially at Fort Walsh which pays tribute to one of Canada’s most important Mounted Police posts. Here are 15 of our favourite Cypress Hills images, though this barely scratches the surface of what you’ll find.
Enjoying the view. Looking over Adams Lake and adjoining valley near the Conglomerate Cliffs lookout.
Hidden Conglomerate Cliffs. These are a different set of cliffs, overlooking Battle Creek Valley. They are called hidden because you can’t see them from the valley road since they are obscured by trees. The only way to see them is to hike in, a walk that is well worth the effort.
Having a blast at Fort Walsh. Fort Walsh National Historic Site portrays the history of one of the earliest and most significant Mountie posts in Canada, plus the Cypress Hills Massacre, which led to the formation of the Mounted Police.
The Gap Road across pastureland links the Centre and West Blocks of Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.
Wildflowers including bergamot and cinquefoil along the Gap Road
Cypress Hills has some of the most dazzling wildflowers on the prairies.
Calypso Orchid. Cypress Hills has more species of wild orchids than anywhere on the prairies, including a few rarities.
The North Benson Road as seen from the South Benson Road, with Battle Creek Valley in between.
View over the plains from the Lookout Point in the park’s Centre Block.
Sunset from atop Bald Butte in the park’s Centre Block.
Brady Coulee Road north of Eastend
The Frenchman River Valley between Eastend and Ravenscrag.
Sandstone formation on Jones Peak, overlooking the Frenchman River Valley
Fall along the Battle Creek Road.
The Cypress Hills feature prominently in some of our books, including the Great Saskatchewan Bucket List
and Photographer’s Guide to Saskatchewan
. We’ve outlined several driving routes through the hills in our upcoming book, Saskatchewan’s Best Scenic Drives
, to be released in Spring, 2018. Watch for details and updates at www.parklandpublishing.com
For more ideas on travel in the region, check out the website for the Cypress Hills Destination Area as well as Tourism Saskatchewan.
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