DUCK MOUNTAIN PROVINCIAL PARK
Duck Mountain Provincial Park is situated in the southern limit of Saskatchewan’s boreal forest. The area has a unique geography- carved out by the last ice age and rising over 650 ft above the surrounding lowlands. Here you will find a brilliant mix of flora and fauna, including rare carnivorous plants in the parks southern extremity.
Duck Mountain borders the shores of Madge Lake and the province of Manitoba. Not to be confused with Duck Mountain Provincial Park, Manitoba; this recreation area is full of the great things to do in Saskatchewan, such as fishing, boating, hiking and exploring!
A friend of SaskHiker, SaskBorder has provided the information and photography for this area as he has explored it much more than I have! He too is an explorer of Saskatchewan and you can find his adventures at www.saskborder.com.
If you are interested in helping the community find the beauty of Saskatchewan reach out to SaskHiker and let us know about your adventure spots and we'll post them!
#1 - Woodland Nature Trail
Distance - 1.5 - 4 km
Skill Level - Easy
This is a well-groomed trail that follows the contours of Madge Lake from the campground to the Jubilee cabin subdivision. It is perfect for all ages and there are a few loops to keep things interesting on your way back.
The farther you walk, the more variety you’ll find. The forest changes from sparse patches of fir and spruce, to thick stands of birch and aspen trees. There are several hills, some of which are quite steep and provide a bit of adrenaline if you’re on a bicycle. The trails are partially paved and routinely maintained. However, there are no rest stops so be sure to bring along some water.
The trail is a hotspot for wildlife viewing and you’re more than likely to walk into a few deer grazing in the brush. The occasional black bear may make its way through the trails, so be sure to exercise caution.
If you’re looking for a casual hike or bike ride without having to gear-up, this one’s for you. The trail ends at the park’s ball diamond within a short distance of Ministik Beach. From there, you can cool off with a dip in Madge Lake, or refuel with a burger at one of the park’s restaurants. If you’re looking for a challenge, I’d recommend trying your hand at some of the other trails this park has to offer.
#2 - Batka Lake Cross-Country Trails
Distance - 13 km+
Skill Level - Intermediate
The Kamsack Ski Club operates a system with nearly 50 kilometers of trail. In the summertime, most hikers will take to the trailhead at Batka Lake and head out on one of the smaller loops. A detailed map of this trail system is available from the Kamsack Ski Club here.
The Sergeant Lake loop (13km) makes for a great day trip and offers plenty to see. Along the way, there are two shelters you can use to warm up, have a meal, or even stay the night. If you do decide to use the shelters, please consider making a small donation to the Kamsack Ski Club. They do a great job keeping these shelters clean and stocked with firewood.
The forest looks much more northern than it really is, bearing striking similarities to Prince Albert National Park. The trail takes you through rolling hills of old growth forest, speckled with ponds, bogs and small lakes. From Ski Hill Shelter, you can look down from the hill and view a gorgeous vista of the wetlands below. It’s hard to imagine that the Duck Mountains are actually located farther south than Saskatoon.
#3 - Fen Trail & Little Boggy Creek
Distance - <1km
Skill Level - Easy
Although the main trail is extremely short, this hike is a worthy mention for its dramatic scenery. Access to the trail is via Ski Hill Road, south of the main park. This winding road takes you through the Duck Mountain backcountry where rolling hills and wetlands are the norm. Near the end, you’ll find yourself in the heart of Little Boggy Creek Valley. There is a turnoff from the main road before the ski hill gates- a short distance from the trailhead.
The trail’s boardwalk leads you through one of Saskatchewan’s unique calcareous fens. The soil is unusually acidic which in turn affects the type of plants and trees that grow in the area. In contrast to the leafy aspen trees nearby, the fen is surrounded by tamarack and black spruce, as well as rare orchids and carnivorous plants. The valley is particularly stunning in the fall as yellows and greens paint a brilliant backdrop on distant hillsides.
After visiting the fen, the area is yours to explore. The road leading to the fen also continues to Little Boggy Creek. One can also hike to the summit of the Duck Mountain ski hill for a full view of the valley.
Camp at Batka Lake.
This is a location anyone can get to and offers a secluded spot for those willing to venture out here. If you are a fisherman you will most likely be able to catch a pike with little trouble at all. Just stand on the end of the dock and cast away.
This location puts you close to the entrance to the cross country ski trails so you are ready for your adventure in the morning.
There are some amenities here such as pinic area and shelter for when you need them.
Duck Mountain is located on the east side of the province on Highway 57. The major landmark in this area is Madge Lake. There are several ways to get here, but you will need to link up to HIghway 5 which the highway that runs from Saskatoon to Kamsack, passing through Humboldt.
Difficulty - Easy to Advanced
Distance - several short day hikes and overnight backpack trips
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Photos for this location provided by www.saskborder.com