This is an abridged article that originally appeared on The Lost Girl’s Guide to Finding the World. Read the full version here.
If you’re looking for a getaway but not wanting to travel too far, look no further than a staycation here in Saskatchewan in winter. There are dozens of places to go, cool accommodations to stay in and plenty of activities to do!
Here are a few of the best getaways in Saskatchewan in winter:
While most visitors are familiar with Prince Albert National Park in the summer months, winter is truly the best time to visit. The park is quieter in winter so you’ll likely have it to yourself. It’s also easier to spot wildlife like river otters, elk, fox and wolves while exploring.
Free snowshoes and cross-country skis can be checked out at the Hawood Inn – even if you’re not a guest. But you might want to consider staying there as it has hot tubs on the rooftop, which make for the perfect spot to hang out and stargaze at night. Nearby Lost Creek Resort has cosy cabins and hot tubs, too.
Alternatively, consider staying at Elk Ridge Resort near the park entrance. It has luxury lodge guest rooms, log cabins, cottages and townhouses, along with an onsite spa and two restaurants – Fredrich and The Wyld at Elk Ridge. Cross-country skis, snowshoes and skates are free to use during your stay and there are more than 10 km of trails to explore. There are several outdoor skating rinks and a skating loop, downhill toboggan area, miniature curling rink, crokicurl, warm-up shack and several firepits with firewood provided.
For more details on exploring Prince Albert National Park, read the full guide here.
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is a winter wonderland as it gets the kind of snow you see in Hallmark Christmas movies. Due to its elevation of nearly 1,500 m above sea level, it has a uniquely subarctic climate and receives record snowfall levels.
The 120-year-old and 25-metre-tall lodgepole pine forest is perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. You can also chop down your own Christmas tree with a free permit (with park admission). It’s all part of the park’s fire management program. There are guided tours, downhill tobogganing, skating on the lake, ice fishing, snowmobiling trails, as well as stargazing opportunities as the park is a Dark Sky Preserve.
For accommodation, The Resort at Cypress Hills has a hotel, townhouses (with fireplaces!), cabins and an onsite restaurant. If you’re willing to brave the cold, you can even winter camp in the park. For anything else you might need, nearby Maple Creek has a brewery, coffee shops and restaurants and several cute bed and breakfasts.
For more details on exploring Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, read the full guide here.
Duck Mountain Provincial Park has long been a family favourite for outdoor winter activities. The park is well-known for its all-natural knee-deep powder for downhill skiing and snowboarding at Duck Mountain Ski Area. It’s also known for its expertly groomed cross-country ski trails. There are six shelters perfect to spend an hour or two warming up in before completing the looped trails.
With cabins and condos with gas fireplaces, Madge Lake Retreats is the place to stay (it is even pet-friendly!). There is a downhill toboggan area near the park office, snow maze in the Fern Campground, and the lake is great for ice fishing
4. Ness Creek
From a summertime festival site to a winter getaway destination, Ness Creek is a perfect place to cosy up in a cabin in the woods and partake in all the best winter activities the season has to offer.
On the edge of the west side of Prince Albert National Park, there are almost a dozen winterized cabins available to rent. Tip: Cedar Suite is an adorable octagonal cabin while the Delta Nessborough has a wide verandah out front and Cabin Number 3 has a wood fireplace.
There are more than 30 km of groomed cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. There’s also a skating rink near the main stage. In the evenings, warm up in the onsite sauna or simply enjoy the peacefulness of nature in the boreal forest. Located just outside of Big River, Ski Timber Ridge has six downhill ski runs and a snowboard park. Check in advance for operating hours.
WATCH: Snow Globe at Ness Creek
Blue Mountain Adventure Park is a unique adventure park in the province. Only 30 minutes northeast of North Battleford, it’s a four-season,1,300-acre outdoor mecca set in the Thickwood Hills and caters to the adventurous.
Pack your cross-country skis, skates, and crazy carpets or rent onsite from The Snack Shack (BYO skates). The tubing hill has a lift that operates daily from 12-5 p.m. There are more than 30 km of groomed skate-ski and classic trails.
There are camping sites for those brave enough to pitch a tent in the snow or seven wood-heated cabins to rent (BYO bedding, pillows and towels). There’s an onsite chalet for public use during the day and evening. Best of all, the park is pet-friendly, including on the trails.