The Cypress Hills Destination Area, an interprovincial initiative that embodies the spirit, the history, and the people of Canada’s western heritage, is a collection of communities, attractions, events and businesses that stretches from a corner of southeast Alberta across the entire southwest corner of Saskatchewan.
Whether you travel the back roads along Highway 13, better known as the historic Red Coat Trail, where Canada’s original North West Mounted Police travelled to bring law and order to the West, or you travel the Trans Canada Hwy, you’ll have a front row ticket to some of the best scenery and historic spots in Canada.
A recreation area for campers and resort-guests alike, Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is a shared initiative that spans the Alberta and Saskatchewan borders. A rare mixture of provincial, federal, and private ranch lands, it is here where Canada’s western settlers first came to build new lives, and where Canada’s first NWMP Headquarters was stationed. Fort Walsh National Historic Site preserves the NWMP fort established in response to the devastating Cypress Hills Massacre, which heralded the end of the Wild West, and the beginning of western settlers.
Located near Fort Walsh, the Historic Reesor Ranch lies on the Alberta- Saskatchewan border. The first ranch in Saskatchewan to ever be awarded a Provincial Heritage Designation, this family-owned ranching operation was established in 1904 by William (WD) Reesor and Alice Moffatt who, in 1916 along with their four sons, built the ranch house that today operates as an award-winning bed and breakfast and the family home of Scott and Theresa Reesor. In addition to continuing on with the ranching tradition of their ancestors, the Reesor family offers visitors a chance to ride the Old West on one of their Canadian Signature Experience horseback riding adventures, stay in an old log barn, bunkhouse, or cabin, or learn more about the history of the ranch and its people on their Wine in the West Tours.
The community of Maple Creek, Saskatchewan is just north of the Cypress Hills on Highway 21. Named Canada’s Greatest Western Town by Western Horse Review Magazine in 2014, the community’s history links with that of Fort Walsh and the ranchers who settled the area.
Known as the Old Cowtown, Maple Creek is proud of its cowboy past, showing it off in Saskatchewan’s oldest continuous operating museum where its western heritage is documented, and also in many community events that recognize its rich history. Events include: the CCA Rodeo, Heritage Festival, Showdown in Cowtown (featuring Indian Relay Races), the Taste of Maple Creek, the Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Mustering, Cowboy Christmas, and the iconic and uniquely Maple Creek Battle of the Little Big Puck, featuring a battle of the hockey variety between the Nekaneet First Nation and area Cowboys. This annual hockey game is officiated by RCMP members in red serge to add to the colour and historical context of the event. The 38-year tradition highlights the unique relationship that exists between these two diverse cultures.
For those who are looking for wild bison roaming the plain, the Cypress Hills Destination Area also offers two places to view these majestic animals, including Old Man on His Back Nature Conservancy near the Town of Eastend, SK, and Grasslands National Park. In addition to seeing bison in the park’s dramatic landscape, you can also enjoy a cup of Cowboy Coffee at their weekly story-telling event, tour an original homestead and view the remains of an underground barn built to provide shelter for stock.
Come to the Cypress Hills Destination Area where you can sleep in a teepee, watch bison roam the plains, listen to Cowboy Poetry from a true working cowboy, ride the trails of the Cypress Hills, feel the thrill of bareback horse races by Canada’s First Nation’s people, and steep yourself in the history of Canada’s Northwest Mounted Police.
Activities in the Cypress Hills Destination Area
In addition to the above mentioned western-themed activities you’ll also be able to experience activities such as:
- Art Workshops
- Goat Yoga
- Live Music Events
- Segway Tours
- Spa & Wellness
- Wine Festival
Attractions in the Cypress Hills Destination Area
- Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park
- Grasslands National Park
- Fort Walsh National Historic Site
- T Rex Discovery Centre
- Meditation Labyrinth
- Grotto Gardens Country Market
- Leader and the Great Sandhills
- Rafter R Brewing Craft Brewery
And did we mention the stars? With two observatories, two Dark Sky Preserves, a summer star party, and a bevy of astronomy-focused events, you’ll truly feel like you have stepped back in time when you Visit Cypress Hills.
To learn more about the Cypress Hills Destination Area visit our website:
Contact Information: http://www.visitcypresshills.ca
Cypress Hills Destination Area
Box 428, Maple Creek, SK S0N 1N0
- 306 661 9987
Banner Photo by: Sbampato Photography
Buffalo Photo by: Andrea Carol
Above photo by: Parks Canada/Hogarth