So we have decided to visit Cypress Hills Provincial Park. Located in southeastern Alberta, it is the
second largest provincial park in the province and it offers a wide range or recreational opportunities throughout the year. In
addition, it supports plants, animals, and landforms unique to the Canadian prairies.
Before leaving home on any trip, there is some important information you should know. You can contact
Cypress Hills Provincial Park and request that information regarding special
events and sites to see be sent to you. You should also learn a little about the place you are going to visit.
Where is Cypress Hills Provincial park? How can you get there? What is the weather like? Go To Maps and Climate
Photograph by Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Alberta
When we arrive in Cypress Hills Provincial Park, we first need to find sleeping accomodations. The Park offers both
campground and motel facilities. There are in fact thirteen (13) campgrounds in the Park ranging from full service RV-only
to walk-in tenting. Where can we stay in the Elkwater townsite? What facilites and services are available? How can we contact
the Park? Go to Provincial Park
Once we have our accomodations organized, we head over to the Visitor Center to gain an introduction to the natural and human
history of the Park. We make sure to pick up some pamphlets and ask the Information Officer behind the desk if there is a trail
he/she would recommend. The Informaton Officer recommends the Shoreline Trail since it is an enjoyable and easy way to get
a feel for the area. Go To Trail Map
Boardwalk on Shoreline Trail.
Following the southern shore of Elkwater Lake, the Shoreline Trail is a 3 km (one-way) asphalt pathway which is accessible
by wheelchair and bicycle. With sections of boardwalks, it provides an excellent introduction to the wetland ecology of the Cypress Hills.
Watch for beavers and muskrats swimming in the water. Listen for the songs of the red-winged and yellow-breasted black birds. We may
be lucky enough to see a great blue heron or a moose.
What is a wetland? Why are wetlands important? What plants and animals are found in wetlands? Go To Wetland Ecology
A calf bull moose.
Remember that wildlife is still wild and should not be approached. As well, since we are in a Provincial Park, do not pick any
plants. Not only can we leave the plants for other people to see, but they are food for animals and seeds for next years plants.
The Shoreline Trail has a number of picnic tables along the way which are excellent if you pack a lunch or if you just want to
stop and enjoy the scenery. On hot summer days, the beach is a great way to cool off and relax. There is a concession, changerooms,
and playgrounds nearby but there are no lifeguards.
The beach on Elkwater Lake. Photograph by Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Alberta