Grasslands National Park of Canada
Frenchman River Valley Ecotour
Burrowing Owls are a threatened species commonly seen in Grasslands National Park. They can be spotted from Ecotour Road as they will nest in the prairie dog colonies.© Robert Koktan
This self guided driving tour through the Frenchman River Valley in the park's west block usually takes about 2.5 hours. It can be completed as an 80km loop or a 70km “out and back.” Information panels along Ecotour Road provide interpretation of the prairie landscape.
Antelope, mule deer, black-tailed prairie dogs and ferruginous hawks are frequently sighted along the route which features excellent views of the numerous coulees, buttes and the valley bottom itself.
The Frenchman River is the main source of water for prairie wildlife such as deer and the bison. The rare Northern Leopard Frog, makes its home in the Frenchman River. Outlining the river, is the Frenchman River Valley, formed by glaciers thousands of years ago© Parks Canada / Wayne Lynch
The Frenchman River Valley can be rich and poor at the same time; rich, along the river, where wildlife can find water, willows, buffalo berry, thick grasses and more; poor, further out on the bare, white flats, where sodium salts left behind by prehistoric oceans, do not allow water to penetrate and allows only specially adapted plants like the tiny red samphire to survive.
New information panels along Ecotour road provide interpretive information for visitors© Parks Canada / Shelly Duquette Larson
Highlights of the driving tour include wildlife watching, exploring archeological sites and viewing remains from the early homesteaders. Please remember to check with the Visitor Reception Centre for updated road conditions. Please do not stop on private ranch land, outside of park boundaries!