What outdoor activities are available in Prince Albert National Park?
The resort town of Waskesiu Lake is a great base for exploring the beauty of northern Saskatchewan. Some of the many outdoor activities available include; canoeing, biking, swimming, hiking, fishing, camping, bird watching, boating, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, geocaching, golfing, horseback riding, and of course, the unique adventure of renting a quadracycle four wheeled bike from the Grey Owl Centre. In the winter you can enjoy cross country skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing and ice fishing among other activities.
For more information please visit the Parks Canada Website at https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/sk/princealbert/activ or check in at the visitor centre in Waskesiu at 969 Lakeview Dr, Waskesiu Lake, SK S0J 2Y0.
Where can I rent equipment for outdoor activities?
If you are looking to rent equipment for outdoor activities, The Grey Owl Center (955 Lakeview Dr, Waskesiu Lake, SK S0J 2Y0), or the Marina Adventure Center (Prince Albert National Park, 90 km N of Prince Albert off Hwy 2, then 7 km N of Waskesiu Lake townsite to main marina) are your best bet. Some of the villas and bungalows in the townsite offer limited rentals, however there is a large variety at the two locations suggested above. Certain places such as the Hawood inn and Elk Ridge Resort rent out some specialty equipment as well such as snowshoes, or if you’re looking for a unique winter experience, dog sledding. Outter limits sells select equipment and gear for your outdoor needs as well.
What events are there in Waskesiu over the summer months?
There are numerous events for the whole family over the summer months in Waskesiu. Listed below are a handful of the favourite events offered in the national park.
-June 29-July 1: Canada Day weekend with various seasonal activities
-July 13: Sipping Social; Fundraising event with food, drinks, raffle, etc.
-July 20: Parks Day and Children’s Festival
-July 27: Three island paddle and music festival
-August 3: Beach bum’s ball at the community hall
-August 4: Grey Owl Howl family dance at the community hall (all ages)
-August 10: Family Treasure Hunt at the Terrace Gardens
-August 10: Heritage Day at the Heritage Museum
-August 11: Frank Dunn triathlon
-August 16-18: Art Festival at the Terrace Gardens
-August 23-25: Waskesiu Lakeside music festival; Music, displays, food/drink, etc
-September 6-8: Reel Rave International Film Festival at Twin Pine cinemas
-September 14: K+S MS bike tour
-September 21: Outer Limits Fun Run
Weekly seasonal events/activities held in Waskesiu:
–June 1-August 31: Heritage Museum open daily from 10am-6pm
-June 29- August 11: Music in the Siu run by Friends of the Park 1-3 pm
-July 1-August 15: Kids (5-12 yrs) tennis lessons 9am-10 am Monday-Thursday
-July 1-September 1: Yoga in the park with Kenley 10am-1130am Tues/Thurs/Sat
-July 2-August 23 Fitness classes with Angie near the community hall
For more information please visit the Parks Canada website, the Waskesiu Chamber of Commerce website, or the Waskesiu-Prince Albert National Park Facebook page.
When is the best time to visit Waskesiu?
This depends on what type of experience you are looking for; summers are gorgeous in the national park, although they can be busy. Winters in Waskesiu are very quiet, however, little compares to the blissful calm of northern Saskatchewan at this time of the year.
Spring: As Spring arrives, so do the visitors to Prince Albert National Park. During the weekends in late April to May there are visitors in the park, however it can still be slow during the week. By May long weekend there is significantly more tourism in the park. The weather at this time can range from 0 to +20 degrees celsius. If you’re looking for a quiet adventure getaway, this may be a great time to visit as there may be more availability and cheaper rates in the townsite.
Summer: From the end of May until early September Waskesiu is lively. The weather over the summer ranges from 10 to 25 degrees celsius and there are many options to get you and your family active and engaged outdoors in the park. Booking in advance may be a wise option as there are a lot of eager visitors to the park during this time.
Fall: Fall in Prince Albert National park is gorgeous, although the townsite of Waskesiu slows down by early September due to kids going back to school. The leaves turn, leaving a lovely mosaic of colour on the trees, weather becomes more mild falling to minus 5 and up to 15 degrees celsius.
Winter: As winter hits, be prepared to cozy up by the fire with a good book or an artistic project. This time of the year can be quite slow in Waskesiu and area, although if you are looking for a peaceful getaway, this may be the time to visit. Over Christmas break some areas pick up, especially Elk Ridge resort, and there are several fun options to get outside cross country skiing, snowshoeing and dog sledding.
Where can I go biking?
Who says you can’t go mountain biking in the prairies? There are a variety of trails to explore in Prince Albert National Park by bike. Most trails are rated beginner to intermediate, although some do require more planning and preparation. If you are heading outdoors, take precautions and ensure that you take any necessary gear and safety equipment with you. Ensure that you and your party are aware of the weather, as conditions can change quickly in the park. The Grey Owl Centre offers reasonable rates for all kinds of bike trips, from tandem to mountain bikes.
Some of the main trails include:
Spruce River Highlands 8.5km
Hunters Lake 12 km (1 way)
Elk Trail 13-15km (1 way)
Valley View Trail 28.7km
Freight Trait Springs trail 2km (1 way)
Grey Owl trail 19.3km (1 way)
Red Deer trail 19km
Fisher trail 6.3km
Where can I go canoeing/kayaking/stand up paddle boarding?
If you are looking to simply go out for a paddle and to relax on the water, you can head right out from the main beach in Waskesiu, or from the Marina. The Grey Owl Centre can get you and your family set up with gear and is a short 3-5 minute walk from the water, making adventure accessible and easy to access right from in town.
Short trips include: Amiskowan and Shady Lakes, Spruce River, Trippes beach to King Island, Waskesiu river, Hanging heart lakes
Overnight trips include: Bagwa and Lily, Grey Owl’s cabin and Kingsmere Lake, Crean Lake
Where can I go hiking?
Hiking is a popular activity for all age groups and levels of experience. Prince Albert National Park offers gorgeous scenery and is safe to explore; although it is always a good idea to have an understanding of bear and cougar safety before heading out, especially if you are alone or with a group of less than three people. More information about bear and cougar safety precautions can be found on the Parks Canada website.
Some of the main hiking trails available to visitors include:
Shady lake trail 1.7km
Height of land tower 60m
Spruce river highlands 8.5km
Freight Tait Springs trail 2km
Elk trail 13km
Hunters Lake trail 12km
Valleyview trail network 28.7km
Hiking or biking out to Grey Owl’s cabin is also a popular activity for those that are a bit more ambitious, or are curious about the local history. Details about the trail can be discussed at the visitor centre or through the Parks Canada website.
How do I get around town?
One of the many perks of living in or visiting a resort town is that most things are fairly accessible by foot or by bike. If you are looking for a more unique experience, horseback riding is a fun way to explore the area. Sturgeon River Ranch and Elk Ridge Resort are a couple places where you can begin your equestrian tour. In town there is a small grocery store, as well as an array of shops, restaurants and other businesses to meet your needs. The Grey Owl Centre can set you and your family up with scooters, bikes, longboards, and other equipment to help you get around the townsite with ease.