Prince Albert National Park
Ah, P.A.N.P – so much to do, see, taste, explore.
In our office, both Desta and Becky are avid campers. Becky’s family just hopped on the camping bandwagon in summer of 2018, while Desta has been camping her whole life but has had the pleasure of travelling with her own kids over the past 10 years. Desta often frequents Prince Albert National Park, and Becky just spent her first holiday there for Canada Day long weekend in 2019!
If you’re like Becky and just beginning, it’s probably best to stay closer to town. Camping in Beaver Glen campground just outside the townsite of Waskesiu is great – fires allowed, water and power sites, sites suitable for tenting, elk walking through, birds and wild flowers to explore. The streets are well cared for and are great for bike rides. Plus, take a walk or bike ride past the oTentik’s for the access route to the Beaver Glen beach. Also available is the Red Deer campground which is in town, full service but fires are not allowed. Either campground is a short distance to the townsite. The huge main beach of Waskesiu is across the street from the Waskesiu Trading Company (home of the best cinnamon buns), and a short walk from Pete’s Terrace for an unreal lunch or night time pint.
If you’re a seasoned camper, you can certainly tackle back country camping on a hike or paddle up the river to discover Grey Owl’s Cabin on Ajawaan Lake. Desta did this with her family in 2018 over 3 days and 33 kms. With a canoe packed with tent, food, and supplies, they paddled from Waskesiu, along Kingsmere Lake to the last back country campsite called North End, then hiked into the cabin to see the homestead, the beaver dam inside the house, and the graves of Grey Owl, his wife and their daughter in the secluded Ajawaan Lake wilderness.
If you’re not as brave, try any of the other short and beautiful hikes closer to Waskesiu townsite. Becky did the 2km round trip Mud Creek hike with her husband and 4 year old in about 1.5 hours (slow going with a little guy) but it can typically be done in about 45 minutes. Stop by the visitor centre to grab a map showing all the hikes available and their routes.
While Waskesiu beach is beautiful, there are plenty of quieter, smaller, lesser known spots a short drive away down the narrows road. Becky and Desta both spend time with their families at Paignton Beach down the Narrows road. Grab a picnic table with a fire pit, set up your chairs and roast hot dogs while the kids play in the water. Fire wood is free, and there’s a shelter for groups who like the cover – you’ll find fish filleting stations nearby. Becky’s spot was fronted by tall birch trees that were home to 3 baby Red-headed Woodpeckers calling for their mama to feed them.
If you’re travelling with little ones – be sure to check out the PANP Nature Centre on the edge of the Waskesiu Beach. A fully immerive (and FREE!) play centre for kids to learn all about the complete and traditional use of the plains bison, the many birds found in Saskatchewan, the types of trees found, wolves and their diets, wigwam construction, puppet shows and a dress up corner. Plus make sure to pick up your activity booklet, finish the activities and return it for your own National Park medallion.
Grey Owl’s centre to rent the popular quadricycles, and the Waskesiu Museum are must visit’s as well!
If your travels are keeping you home this summer, take a day trip to Waskesiu, and make sure to pencil in Emma Lake for another visit!