Buffalo Pound Provincial Park is located just under an hour from the outskirts of West Regina and 20 minutes North East from Moose Jaw. The close proximity to the cities makes the park an ideal place for a day visit or a weekend stay but also boasts enough activities to make a fun week long stay.
Disclosure: Please note that I have been working with Saskatchewan Parks as one of their 2020 Ambassadors. This post was written on my own and with my own point of view of the park.
A Guide to Buffalo Pound Provincial Park – Saskatchewan Parks
While at first glance Buffalo Pound seems to offer a laid back nature experience. It does. But, if you dive in a little closer, active families and adventure seekers will be rewarded to find an extensive mountain bike trail system and ample places to explore within the park.
The local businesses in the park also enhance the visitors’ experience and provides extra activities to keep families entertained throughout their stay.
Looking for something else?
Echo Valley Provincial Park is also located North East of Regina and an hours drive away. For more information on the park check out our Guide to Echo Valley Provincial Park in our Saskatchewan Parks series.
Are you heading to Banff, Canmore, Kananaskis or Calgary? Check out the book I wrote with Hikes for Families in the area!
Mountain Biking in Buffalo Pound Provincial Park
My newly acquired passion for mountain biking was fulfilled when I found out that there are over 30 km of mountain bike trails for beginners to advanced riders. The trails are well maintained by the community and a lot of fun to ride.
And trust me, these trails are NOT flat.
The park put up new trail markers to make it easy for new riders to navigate and discover the trail system. Green markers mean easy, and the red and blue markers are for intermediate riders.
Some of my favourite trails to ride at the park include:
Beaver Loop Trail – 3km easy loop that I hope to take our two kids age 5 and 7 on soon. Roots Trail is fast and flowy with a few small drops. It is a super fun trail. Weeping Fee & Rutledge Trails is a Cross Country trail that offers stunning views of the valley.
If you are new to mountain biking or want to improve your skills, Eric Lett from Fresh Trails Mountain Bike Skills can show you the ropes to make sure you are staying safe and having fun on the trails. He offers classes on request for $60 for a cohort group otherwise it is $30 a person and $15 for youth.
Mountain bike rentals are also available at Squirrely Putt and Play in case you did not bring your bike. The bikes are all hard tailed with front shocks only.
In addition to mountain bike trails, there are hiking trails throughout the park including 16 km of trails in Nicolle Flats
One of my favourite easy hikes to do with our two girls this summer was the 1 km Marsh Boardwalk trail in Nicolle flats at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park. Our timing was perfect as the sun was about to set and the tops of the Phragmites shone gold. It was magical.
Nicolle flats can be accessed from a few different areas.
One of the ways to access Nicolle Flats and the Marsh Boardwalk trail is to turn soon after the Buffalo Pound entry office following signs for Bison and Nicolle Flats. The road turns into a dirt road and ends at a parking lot. If you cross the water then you have veered to the left and missed the parking lot.
Not sure how to start hiking with kids? Try out these hiking games!
The Bison can be viewed on the same road that is used to access this section of Nicolle Flats.
Many many Buffalo used to roam these areas but by 1890 fewer than 1000 remained in North America. In 1906, the Canadian government purchased the last surviving bison heard called the “Pablo Heard” from Montana and brought them up to Elk Island National Park in Alberta. Then, 12 bison came to Buffalo Pound Provincial Park in 1972.
Now, visitors can visit the bison at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park. The herd has now grown significantly larger than 12!
Taking time to search for the bison at Buffalo Pound is worthwhile. My girls loved seeing the magnificent animals. In fact, my five year old says it was one of her favourite parts. Sometimes the bison can all be happily eating and relaxing in the main corral or harder to spot as they may be out meandering out in the fenced off fields.
Just make sure to stay outside of the fence as bison can be very unpredictable.
Just before the main corral and the parking lot for Nicolle Flats is right turn the follows a road up to a viewing point of the Qu’Apelle Valley and a Spirit Walk Commemorative Monument that was dedicated to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada.
The experience can be enhanced by picking up an information booklet from the visitor centre/campground entry office.
I was happy to hear that free activities are on loan at the Visitor Centre
Disc golfing, geocaching, and fishing kits are on loan for free at the Buffalo Pound visitor centre/campground check-in. The disc golf course is located near the water and is partly shaded by the trees and Geocaching can be done throughout the park. If you choose to use the fishing kits then make sure to purchase a fishing licence.
Fishing licences can also be purchased at the visitor centre so don’t worry if you forget to buy one before visiting!
Some of the best fishing spots are located on the road that crosses the water near Nicolle Flats.
In addition to Buffalo Pound Lake, a new pool at Buffalo Pound opened up this summer (2020)
The beach and lake at Buffalo Pound are fun to enjoy but the addition of the pool was a fun way to entertain the kids.
Open until September long, the Buffalo Pound swimming pool was made with a variety of ages in mind. The beach entry is ideal for young children hoping to splash in the water. There is a slightly deeper area for older children learning to swim and then a deep end for kids and adults that already know how to swim.
Open May Long to September Long from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm (Currently there are 2 hour time slots due to Covid at 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm)
Cost: $5 for adults, $2 for children
For a little something there is mini golf, axe throwing, ice cream and Movie Nights
Many of the businesses close for the season after September long weekend and open up the next season.
On the days when the kids needed something extra, it was nice to be able to enjoy the mini golf at Squirrely Putt and Play. The axe throwing is for kids over 12 but a fun activity for adults as well.
Small packaged treats can be found at Squirrely Putt and Play but there is also scoop ice cream and regular camp goods located at Lakeside Foods located West towards Maple Vale Campground. Occasionally near the main beach and pool, Lakeside Foods opens up their alternate location by the playground.
Lakeside Foods has been hosting a free movie night every Tuesday at 8:00 pm and the Lakeside market on Saturdays. Occasionally, Sask Parks runs a free drive in movie in the park.
Camp Easy makes Camping Easy!
Not every Saskatchewan Park campground has a camp easy but Buffalo Pound campground boasts one for reservation. Camp Easy accommodations make camping in the provincial parks a breeze. The one at Buffalo Pound is a large army style tent and comes with cots, a stove, propane, camp chairs, and an axe!
Staying in the Camp Easy by myself with the girls made everything a little easier and totally manageable. Just bring your sleeping bags, pillows, stuffies, toiletries, food, pots, and dishes!
Where else to stay?
There are a few different campgrounds for reservation in Buffalo Pound Provincial Park under Sask Parks. Camping at Buffalo Pound is available in the park from May long to September 27th.
Explore more of Saskatchewan and check out Echo Valley Provincial Park.
Are you heading to the Canadian Rockies? I wrote a book with hikes for families!
Buy the paperback book Hikes for Families: A Guide to the Canadian Rockies here.
Purchase (Ebook) Hikes for Families: A Guide to the Canadian Rockies here.