Sharing land with Saskatchewan – our neighbour to the east – Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is the only one of its kind in Canada. And speaking of unique, it sits on a lofty plateau 600 m (1,970 ft) above the surrounding prairies and badlands, making it the highest spot in the country east of the Canadian Rockies.
Given the elevation, the retreating glaciers of the last ice age gave it a miss, resulting in the preservation of a pristine ecosystem of forests, wetlands and grasslands. This makes for an astonishing diversity of plant and animal life. Be sure to be here in springtime to discover over 700 species of plants and blooming orchids. Birdwatchers drool at the thought of scoping more than 220 species, many of which are usually found much farther to the west and north.
You can also find reptiles, amphibians and animals here that live nowhere else on the prairies.
Those of the human variety flock to this place year round. In summer, pick your favourite pastime: camp, hike, cycle, boat, water ski, fish, swim or flop on a beautiful beach. In winter, snowshoe and ski, toboggan and ice skate. The park’s Visitor Centre and campgrounds are open all year...winter camping is a blast!
Exploration. Adventure. Activities. Aquatics. Here’s your Cypress Hills checklist!
Look no further than spring-fed Elkwater Lake – where all boats are allowed – for high summer fun. Elkwater townsite has all the provisions you need for a great escape. Sleep under the stars at the Elkwater Campground or stay in style at the Elkwater Lake Lodge and Resort.
There are over 50 km (31 mi) of trails to explore – hike, bike or do them with an interpreter to watch for wildlife and reacquaint yourself with Mother Nature.
Seek out indigenous northern pike and yellow perch on any of a number of lakes and reservoirs in the area. Some are stocked with rainbow and brook trout. Find out where you can ice fish in winter through the Alberta Sportfishing Guide.
Step out on 15 km (9.3 mi) of trails groomed and track set for cross-country skiing – or get off the beaten path on non-groomed backcountry trails. Pick up your trail guide anywhere in town or at the Visitor Centre. Downhill ski or hit the terrain park at nearby Hidden Valley ski resort.