BUFFALO POUND PROVINCIAL PARK HIKING AND BIKING TRAILS
Buffalo Pound Provincial Park is a place bursting with activity. You will find numerous things to do here such as hiking, mountain biking, camping, boating and fishing. The park is nestled in the Qu'Appelle Valley and borders Buffalo Pound Lake and the Qu'Appelle and Moose Jaw Rivers.
The area used to be an important buffalo hunting ground for First Nations people. To pay homage to this there is a penned buffalo herd located near the Nicolle Flats Nature area at the southeast end of the park where you can view the large animals lazing about on the hillsides.
There are over 30km of hiking and mountain biking trails here for you to discover of varied difficutly. If you have a mountain bike I suggest bringing it. I spent a day both biking and hiking the area.
The mountain bike trails are well maintained by Moose Jaw Pavers who do a fantastic job of keeping the trails up to snuff. I had a blast riding the trails as they carve their way through the valley. There is a trail for all skill levels so depending on what you are comfortable with you will find something for you.
The trails are well designed so you can keep your pace up as you weave through the many trails. Some of the trails take you through some heavily wooded areas that are pretty tight. I clipped my handlebars a couple times misjudging the gaps.
The mountain bike trails are accessed by numerous trailheads but you can find the bulk of them located near the Lower Chalet. Here is an interactive map that shows you where all the mountain biking trails are located. Remember mountain biking is inherently dangerous so make sure you let someone who isn't with you on the trails know where you are going and when you should be back.
I had a blast on the Weeping Trail, a super flowy moderate biking trail. The trail guides you through a creek bed where you will cross it at a few spots and with plenty of opportunity to pick up some speed in the downhill sections.
In the winter many of the biking trails turn into cross country ski trails which makes Buffalo Pound Provincial park a truly 4 season destination.
The hiking trails in the park are also are widely varied. I saw people hiking on some of the biking trails. I am not sure if this is techinically allowed but if you do choose to hike on the biking trails give all bikers the right of way. It can be almost impossible to stop your bike while descending, and there is nothing worse than losing your momentum while trying to climb. Be careful near drops - bikers may not see or hear you when they are zipping around.
One of the benefits of hiking in the Buffalo Pound Provincial Park is the views you are rewarded with when you climb up to hills throughout the valley. From the top of any of these valley hills you will be able to see for miles.
There are also dedicated hiking trails located at the very southeast end of the park called the Nicolle Flats Nature Area. This ecological area has numerous trails ranging from 1.5 to 8km long and is part of the TransCanada Trail. It is easy to find the area, there is a sign near the front gates that direct you southeast. Stay on this main road until it ends. There is a lookout spot just before the parking lot for the buffalo pen.
Once here there is a map at the trailhead to help you decide which hike you want to do. There are a few small hills you will have to climb but overall it is a moderate hike. The trails passes beside the buffalo pen and if you are lucky the buffalo will be in view. I only managed to see two way off in the distance on my last visit.
The trails meanders through a thick marshland and the valley hills where thousands of birds, mammals, snakes and all sorts of prairie life live. It seemed every 10 steps I took I was spooking some animal in the thick brush.
If you choose to hike the Nicolle Flats Trail you find the Nicolle Homestead which is an original stone home at the end of trail.
I visited the park in late fall and was blown away by the colour that the area bursts with. The park was not busy and I could have had my pick of campsites even though it was 25C outside.
I would highly recommend this park to anyone looking for some excitement in their weekend getaway. There is so much to do that there is no way you can be bored. This is a premier Saskatchewan recreation location.
There are so many things to do in the Buffalo Pound Provincial Park that you can't possibly see it all in one day. There are many different campsites to choose from with many of them within a short walk of the lake (or even on the lake).
You don't need the best mountain bike to enjoy the trails. A hardtail mountain bike with disc brakes is more than enough.
The park offers 4 season camping opportunities so if you want to bring cross country ski's in the winter the park is open to you.
Buffalo Pound Provincial Park is located north of Moose Jaw off of Highway 2. If you are heading south on highway 2 the turnoff is just south of the town of Tuxford, if you are heading north you will turn off before Tuxford. (So if you pass Tuxford you've gone too far)
The entrance is well marked but they currently have a detour due to road closures so follow the detour signs.
You will turn east on Grid 202 and will drive roughly 9km on a grid road until you meet the 301. Turn north and follow this road until you see the park entrance.
Difficutly - Easy to Streneous
Distance - Numerous biking and hiking trails, over 30km
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