In the southern part of the land we call Saskatchewan lies a peculiar landscape of formidable hills and valleys that hug the Saskatchewan River and the western end of Lake Diefenbaker. Amidst the prairies and small towns, Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park offers a look back in time with historic sites and the opportunity to enjoy numerous amenities of the water and land so magnificently formed by God.
To really enjoy the scenic landscape, you’ll want to take a hike on one of the five hiking trails within the park’s 5,735 hectares (14,171 acres). These trails range from an easy stride to an extreme workout, but all take you through the beauty and bounty in nature. Most of these trails are also popular destinations for horseback riding so trails are shared by horses and hikers.
The shortest trail is the 1.3 km Ridges and Ravines Trail, and the longest is the challenging Beaver Flat 50 course at 47.6 km. Each trail has a unique appeal, like historical sites showing tipi rings and stone cairns of Indigienous peoples, remnants of homesteads, and deep ruts from the thousands of wagons that traveled the land in years gone by. The geographic and geological land features are another main draw to this land; ravine hollows, deep coulees, massive hills, and various waterways are a few of the awe-inspiring sights to enjoy.
What is a coulee?
Taken from the French work “couler” which means “to flow,” coulees are geological features, often characterized by steep slopes that have been created by the long-term action of moving water. These are generally gullies or ravines, often dry ones,
and are seen in abundance in the Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park.
Read more about the hiking trails of Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park.
The Stopping House
One preservation of history is found in the Goodwin House that was built by Frank Goodwin in 1897 to become a stopping house at a common Métis river crossing. At the Goodwin House site, you’ll find the restored stone house, which can be toured at certain times, and a replicated red river cart along with historical plaques to learn more about the times when the stopping house was active.
What is a Stopping House?
This isn’t a term used too much today, but back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, you could find Stopping Houses along early pioneer traveling routes. They were private homes that also offered room and board to the occasional passer-byers. These houses were often the beginning of communities, but as the area got established with highways and railways, the stopping houses
were replaced with railway hotels and motor hotels.
Read more about the Goodwin House at Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park.
The River and Lake
With a major river and part of the ‘great’ lake of Saskatchewan included in the park, you can also experience many water-based activities throughout the area.
The South Saskatchewan River is one of the largest rivers in Saskatchewan and is the single largest supplier of water in Saskatchewan for drinking water, irrigation, industrial uses, and recreation. Almost 50% of the population in Saskatchewan relies on the South Saskatchewan River for their daily needs. The river is also a popular waterway for fishing, boating, and swimming.
Lake Diefenbaker, named after the 13th Prime Minister John Diefenbaker (who has been the only Prime Minister from Saskatchewan), is a man-made wonder created by the construction of the Gardiner and Qu'Appelle Valley Dams in the late 1960s. Today, Lake Diefenbaker consists of 800 km of impressive shoreline, seven beautiful parks (including the Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park), an abundance of wildlife/birds, soft sandy beaches, and record-breaking trophy fishing.
Watch this short clip of the Beaver Flat 50 trail run race that happens annually in September. It’s a race, but more so it’s a test of physical stamina and a journey through God’s country.
This article has been written by homeschooling staff writers of The Canadian Schoolhouse (TCS). Enjoy more of our content from TCS contributors and staff writers by visiting our themes page that has a new theme topic added every month!