Back in my previous post (Lost Creek Resort in Prince Albert National Park), I talked about my small family of two growing into a big family of six and how that’s changed how we travel. It’s not as easy or cost-effective anymore to hop on a plane and travel to another province or country. Plus, why go so far away when we have such beautiful places to visit right here in Saskatchewan?
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the six of us loaded up the SUV and went on a little road trip to Prince Albert National Park. This was the first time I’ve ever traveled that far north in Saskatchewan. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of activities during the cooler fall season but we were all pleasantly surprised with how much there was to do. Sure, we couldn’t lounge on the beach and go swimming in the lake but we could do activities like hiking, biking, guided tours, dog carting and more. Plus – it was much quieter there this time of year so we could pretty much do everything on our to-do list without worrying about reservations.
Fall Fun in Prince Albert National Park:
Before we hop into all the activities, here’s a little video highlighting the weekend in Prince Albert National Park.
Hiking & Guided Tours:
There are loads of hiking trails in the area so you can choose any one of them and set off on your own adventure. We chose to do two guided tours and I’m so glad we did! I preferred the guided tours because none of us really knew much about the area, the wildlife, etc. It was nice to get the inside scoop on the area, the nature around us, the wildlife in the area, and the history. With those guided tours, we were able to fully appreciate everything around us. We learned about the trees and plants around us, heard interesting information about the history of the area, heard first-hand stories from people who live in and around the park and more. It kind of felt like our own personal school field trip! I love that it was so educational for both the kids and adults.
Our first hike was through Boundary Bog with Brad of Sundogs Excursions. You seriously won’t believe how quiet it is out there – not a peep to be heard except maybe some wind through the trees and a few birds chirping. The boys had an opportunity to touch, taste (yes, with the guide he could let us know which plants the boys could safely taste) and learn about their surroundings. It was incredibly interesting and so much nicer than if we had just walked the trail on our own and not known what to look for or what everything was. We ended this hike at a beautiful area by the take for a hotdog cookout. The boys enjoyed carving their own hot dog roasting sticks and learning how to properly build a fire.
The second guided tour was with Indigenous leaders Carol & Joseph. They took us off the main trails and right into the forest to teach us survival training like what types of plants could be eaten, how people use natural methods for healing wounds, fuelling their bodies and building shelters and even how to get your shoes out of sinking mud. Ha! We can thank Ryan for that one after he temporarily lost both shoes in some sinking mud. Ha! We all had a good laugh about that one. We learned how to identify different animal tracks and, although we didn’t see any bears, we saw evidence that they had been around the area not too long before we had. The boys had a blast with this because we really had to use our hiking skills to get up the sides of hills and around narrow paths to arrive at our final destination.
Prince Albert National Park has a newly renovated nature centre and it’s full of lots of activities and information that all ages would find interesting. My son loved playing with the many puppets while the older boys enjoyed reading interesting facts about animals in the area. My son was given a little activity book to complete and bring back the next day and first thing the next morning he was eager to get back and hand in his completed book. He loved it and he got a cute little Prince Albert National Park dog tag that he still proudly wears to school each day.
When I first tell people we went dog carting, they wonder what I’m talking about. The best way to explain it is that it’s like dog sledding only this is done in a cart with wheels instead of on a sled. Since there was no snow on our trip, we got to experience dog carting. We all really loved the dogs. The dogs were all so happy and eager to get out there and pull the cart around. The dogs are all so friendly too! Ryan was ready to send us home on our own and just live out at Sundogs with Brad and all the dogs. Ha! It’s a really hands-on experience as you get to help put the harnesses on the dogs, learn about the cart and braking system, and get the dogs water and treats after their run. This was a highlight of the trip for sure and something we plan to do again each time we visit the area.
The boys loved biking and we had the opportunity to try lots of different bikes. First up – the quadracycles! The boys loved racing in these up and down the hills in Waskesiu and around empty parking lots. These were a lot of fun and something I’d rent again for sure!
Then Ryan and I tried a dual tandem bike and it was much easier to ride than I thought it would be. Well, maybe just easier for me because I was on the back so if I felt like giving up on pedaling for a while, Ryan couldn’t tell that he was doing all the work. Ha!
Then the older boys and Ryan took out some mountain bikes and fat tire bikes to cruise the trails. My little guy is 7 so the two of us chose to stay right in town and do the bike paths around the lake plus check out the playground on the beach.
Although many of the town’s restaurants and stores were already closed for the season, there were still quite a few options for meals.
Pete’s Terrace (most people refer to this as Pizza Pete’s) has the best hamburgers! Seriously – perfectly seasoned burger patties! We went back there a few times for burgers, nachos and pizza.
Evrgreen Coffee was a great place for a quick coffee and breakfast sandwich. Added bonus: the owners’ dog was the ultimate host!
The Hawood Inn – since we were there over the Thanksgiving weekend, we had the opportunity to attend the annual Thanksgiving buffet at the Hawood Inn. It was a great selection of food and the setup in the banquet hall really made it feel like it was just a big family reunion! It was a great way to wrap up a busy fun-filled weekend.
Looking to check out Prince Albert Park this fall or winter? There are a few special events coming up that you don’t want to miss!
O Christmas Tree Winter Festival (mid-December) – you can cut down your own Christmas tree and participate in activities like sleigh rides, crafts, plus a large variety of winter sports with free equipment rentals!
Waskesiu Snow Days (mid to late February) – a week long event of free winter activities like snowshoeing, tobogganing and more!
Follow the Waskesiu & Area Wilderness Region on Facebook for more information and updates on each event.
It was a fun-filled weekend and we created lots of new family memories together. Between the activities, the delicious food and the relaxing evenings in the resort’s outdoor hot tub, it’s a destination we’re sure to be visiting again soon!
*Disclosure: I was compensated for this post; however, all opinions expressed here are my own.