|Cypress Hills Inter-Provincial Park|
Background: Cypress Hills
Inter-Provincial Park has a very interesting claim to fame: at 1466 meters above
sea level, it forms the highest mainland point between Labrador and the Rocky
Mountains. The entire region is a breathtaking erosion plateau that stretches in
an east-to-west direction for some 120 kilometers and towers nearly 610 meters
above the surrounding prairie. The area combines classic prairie grasslands and
lodgepole pine forest with rock out-croppings, ferns, and shrubs characteristic
of mountain regions. Over 18 species of rare orchids flourish in the Cypress
Hills. The area is alive with deer, moose, elk, fox, lynx, bobcat, endangered
trumpeter swans, and over 200 more species of birds. Sometimes the conservation
officers warn cyclists not to ride off-road due to the risk of being charged by
deer or moose.
Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced - Trails meander extensively throughout the area, and what begins as an easy run can soon turn into a technical ride. This is especially true where the trail narrows into tight single track in forested areas and where tree roots surface above the soil. Most trails are clearly marked and provide "Level of Difficulty" classifications. The best way to plan a ride is to contact park staff about trail information. They can provide detailed maps along with the most recent information on trail conditions, and suggest alternate routes if some areas seem particularly distressing. It is a wise idea to ride slowly the first few times you experience Cypress Hills, becoming familiar with the area, before attempting more difficult sections.
Directions: Cypress Hills Inter-Provincial Park is located 27 kilometers south of Maple Creek via Highway 21.
What to Bring: The soft soil conditions often conceal sharp object so be sure to bring along extra inner tubes or at least a tube repair kit. Once you embark out into the forest there are no services so remember to bring along food and fluids.