Maps and Climate
and Geology
Forest Ecology
Grassland Ecology
Wetland Ecology
Human History
Provincial Park

Day 2
Exploring the Forest
Learning About Geologcial Structure

After our easy stroll along the Shoreline Trail yesterday, we feel ready to take a larger challenge. After consulting our trail map, we decide to hike up the Beaver Creek trail and back down the Horseshoe Canyon Trail.

The Beaver Creek trail is a 3 km one way dirt trail leaving from Beaver Creek campground in the Elkwater townsite and arriving at Nichol springs campground. As we follow along the Beaver Creek, watch for beaver dams.

Park visitor sitting by beaver dam.

Look around at the forest and up at the canopy above. You will find that there are more than one type of tree. How many different types of trees are in the Cypress Hills? Can you identify the different species of trees? Who lives in the forest?
Go To Forest Ecology

When we reach the end of the trail, we find that we are on the top of the Cypress Hills. At an elevation of approximately 1400 meters above sea level, we are no longer in the forest, but are now standing on a grassland. We follow a trail which takes us to a viewpoint called Horseshoe Canyon. This horseshoe-shaped cut bank allows us to look northward over the surrounding area. On a clear day, we can see the city of Medicine Hat, 70 km to the north at an elevation of about 700 meters. How were the Cypress Hills formed? Why are the Hills twice the elevation of the surrounding landscape? How old are the Hills?
Go To Geomorphology and Geology

Photography by Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Alberta

The Horseshoe Canyon Trail is 4 km one way leading from the Horseshoe Canyon view point back to the Elkwater Townsite. As we walk down, we can see all of the different tree species and evidence of the geological structure of the Hills.

Park Visitor stops to enjoy the view
on the Horseshoe Canyon Trail.

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