Trails are one of the best ways for you to connect with the landscape and experience the unmeasurable beauty and solitude of this park. Grasslands is a prairie wilderness with limited services and preparation is key to having a safe and enjoyable experience.
Front country hiking
Front Country Trails are either built paths or marked routes. These trails are identified on the Park map and are easily accessible to visitors.
A wilderness hiking experience for the free-spirited hiker! Hikers randomly explore and enjoy the native prairie landscape without the constraints of trails, markers or limits! Remember to bring your GPS, map and compass!
Know Before You Go
Your Limits – Choose a trail that suits your skills and experience, and those within your party.
Plan Ahead – Check with park staff for trail and road conditions, some roads within the park are impassable when wet. Inform friends or family of your itinerary and how to contact you. Check the weather forecast before leaving. Acquire a backcountry camping permit for all overnight trips.
Services in this area are limited. When travelling by vehicle, make sure to fuel up before heading into the park or traveling between the East and West Blocks.
Be Prepared – Hike with a group. One person in your party should be familiar with wilderness first aid. Ensure you have adequate water, food, clothing and equipment for at least one day longer than your intended trip. Carry a first-aid kit, cellphone, GPS/compass and map. Cell phone service in the park is limited.
You are responsible for your own safety.
Be aware of your surroundings and become familiar with the area before heading out. Always carry a map and GPS/compass. Roads may become impassable when wet. Please check road and trail conditions at the Visitor Centres.
Bring at least 2-3 litres/person/day. Surface water is not suitable to drink due to high salinity. Potable water is available at the Frenchman Valley and Rock Creek campgrounds.
Do not feed or approach wildlife – this harms their health, alters their natural behaviour, and exposes you to danger.
Rattlesnakes - Beware of rattlesnakes. Do not wear headphones so that you may hear the rattle sound. Wear boots or shoes that cover your ankles and long, loose fitting pants. Do not step on or over rocks or shrubs. Keep children close by. Protective snake gaiters can be borrowed from the West Block Visitor Centre and Campground Office.
Bison - Maintain 100 metre distance from bison (length of a football field). Startled or irritated bison can respond aggressively. If you encounter bison along the Ecotour Scenic Drive, remain in your vehicle and proceed slowly. Maintain extra caution during May and June when cows are very protective of newborn calves and in July and August during breeding season, when hiking with pets, cycling and when on horseback.
Be prepared for extreme heat and sudden weather changes. Severe winds and lightning storms are dangerous and it can be difficult to find shelter. Always check weather forecasts before leaving, plan your trip to avoid the heat of the day and make sure to pack all necessary supplies and equipment. Roads in the park can become impassable when wet.
Wildfire is common on the prairies and extremely dangerous. Lightning storms and strong winds are a contributing factor. If you see smoke, report it to 911 immediately. Fire travels quickly, be prepared to evacuate. If fire traps you, head for low vegetation areas (gravel roads, prairie dog colonies) or burned areas (the “black zone”).
Call 911 or Park Dispatch 1-877-852-3100. Cell phone reception is limited.
Respect the environment
- Pack out all garbage including food waste, diapers, and hygiene products.
- To dispose of human waste, select a spot at least 70 m away from trails, campsites and water sources. Dig a shallow hole with a stick or heel of your boot. Cover the hole with soil or rocks afterwards. Pack out toilet paper.
- Keep your pet on a leash at all times. Pets are not permitted on prairie dog colonies.
- Wildflowers, horns, antlers, rocks, fossils, arrowheads, tipi rings and all other natural and historical objects in a national park are protected by law. Leave them in their natural setting for others to discover and enjoy.
West Block Visitor Centre
East Block Visitor Centre