Species, Spaces, Badlands & Buttes
Connect with national treasures and see some of Canada’s rarest wildlife as you explore the West Block’s Frenchman River Valley. Hike the breathtaking badlands of the East Block and discover the astonishing dinosaur bones exposed in the eroding layers of earth.
A Prairie in bloom
Witness a succession of vibrant colours and sweet aromas in the grasslands as wildflowers take their place under the sun. Crocus, prairie onion, cinquefoil, rose, cactus, vetch, locoweed, violets, asters, fleabanes, goosefoot, and buttercup - to name a few! June is the peak season to see the most prairie flowers in bloom at one time.
Sounds of silence
Grasslands National Park is considered to have some of the quietest and purest sounds on Earth.
Astronomy: Beyond the Big Dipper
Join the Astronomical Society of Canada and explore the Grasslands National Park Dark Sky Preserve. From the rings of Saturn to a glimpse of another galaxy - the sky has no limit. May 31st - 8:00pm, Rock Creek Campground.
Don’t miss the slower pace of this wonderful season! Take time to smell the sage brush blooming in the fall.
If you are lucky, maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of one of the unique bird species that make their home in Grasslands National Park. ‘Check the list’ (copy available) for the unusual and iconic. Enjoy the Sprague’s pipit’s swirling trill, the horned lark’s twinkle, the grasshopper sparrow’s rasp, and of course, the meadowlark’s welcoming gurgle.
Catch a glimpse of an elusive Black-footed Ferret, Short-horned Lizard or Bison and spy on the comical Black-tailed Prairie Dogs. Stop at either visitor centre for more information about the awesome species living here as well as where and how to safely view them.
Bison were absent from this landscape for over 120 years. As of 2005, bison roam free in the West Block of GNP.
Black-tailed Prairie Dog
The West Block and neighbouring lands are the only places in Canada where these comical creatures exist in their natural habitat.
Once thought to be globally extinct, 18 infamous ferrets were discovered in Wyoming in 1981. These night-loving animals were reintroduced to the park in 2009 and this is the only place in Canada where wild born ferrets are found.
Talk about warm winter holiday! The burrowing owls arrive at the park in early May and head south to Texas in early October for the winter.
Greater Short-horned Lizard
These little guys are living remnants from the days of the dinosaur and have been known to shoot blood from their eyes when scared by predators! If you’re really lucky, you just might find one!
In 2011, historic moisture conditions created flooding and slumping in the Frenchman River Valley and buried one of the largest rattlesnake dens in the park. An incredible example of the forces of nature, it is amazing that the same type of phenomenon that created these slumping formations destroyed it! Keep your eyes and ears open, as we still have rattlesnakes living here.
Greater Sage Grouse
The historical range of sage grouse has been reduced by 94% in prairie Canada. This is one of the few places in Canada you may be fortunate to see this endangered bird.
The largest hawk in North America, these birds used to construct their nests before the 1900s with bison bones, fur and dung. Nests today are made of dried sticks, lined with bark and cow dung.
From the painted turtle on the shores of Rock Creek today to the fossilized shell of a 65 million year old prehistoric turtle, both can be found here.
Stop at either visitor centre for more information about the awesome species living here as well as where and how to safely view them.