Things To Do
Whether your perfect vacation includes lazing on the beach, swimming in the pool, catching a trout, getting close to nature on the hiking or mountain bike trails, or wake boarding and water skiing, Buffalo Pound is the perfect choice.
From a heated outdoor pool to the cool waters and sandy beaches of Buffalo Pound Lake, there are lots of ways to get wet and stay cool.
Swimming Pool: Elmview Pool is open until mid-to-late August each year. Red Cross swimming lesson registration now takes place online or toll-free at 1-855-737-7275. Lessons run the month of July and the first week of August. For more information, contact the Park at (306) 694-3229.
Swimming/Beaches: Fun in the sun, with sandy beaches located at Elmview and Maple Vale day use areas. Parents are asked to take responsibility for their children’s health and welfare at all times. Our beaches are not patrolled by life guards, but park staff do periodic checks to ensure park patrons are safe and having an enjoyable time.
Fishing: Buffalo Pound Lake offers excellent walleye, pike, perch fishing with a fish filleting building located right at the boat launch.
Trout Pond: The barrier-free trout pond, southeast of the entry gate, is wheelchair accessible and provides a relaxing opportunity to fish without a boat. Wheelchair accessible fish filleting building, toilet, picnic sites and pathways are also available.
Boat Launch: The boat launch, just east of the pool, gives access to the excellent fishing and other water sports at Buffalo Pound Lake.
Hike interpretive trails through the rich natural heritage of Nicolle Flats Nature Area and watch for red-tailed hawks, mountain bluebirds and whitetail deer. Roam the barrier-free boardwalk right out into Nicolle Marsh, where you could spot a great blue heron, a belted kingfisher or a spotted sandpiper. Or check out the bison herd from the viewing tower.
Nicolle Flats Interpretive Area
As the Nicolle family who settled here knew, Nicolle Flats is a special place. It is a place filled with subtle beauty and inspiring natural riches. Marshes, grasslands, rivers and woodlands mingle together, providing shelter and homes for a variety of wildlife.
Visit this summer home of the majestic great blue heron. Return to explore this winter refuge for white-tailed deer. Savour the springtime scent of wild rose bushes in bloom. Catch a glimpse of the past at the Nicolle Homestead. Listen to the rhythm of ten thousand wing beats as mallards fill the sky in autumn.
A different mood, different sights and sounds greet you each time you visit the park. Come back often, you’ll be glad you did.
Nicolle Flats Marsh Boardwalk Interpretive Trail
It takes just a few minutes to walk the 0.5 km marsh boardwalk, but this short route takes you into the heart of a remarkable landscape. The marsh is a magnet for wildlife and, if you take your time, you are sure to see or hear many of the residents of this densely populated neighbourhood. Some of the birds, reptiles and mammals to watch out for are shy sora rails, yellow-headed blackbirds, American bitterns, western plains garter snakes, the muskrats, pintail ducks, canvasback ducks, shoveler ducks, coots, grebes and in the water watch for other forms of life such as water tigers, dragonfly nymphs, water boatmen, caddisfly larva as well as many other species. Watch for interpretive signs along the boardwalk which will tell the story of the marsh world.
Bison View Interpretive Trail
In 1890, fewer than 1,000 bison remained in North America. In 1906, in an effort to save the bison, the Canadian government purchased one of the last surviving plains bison herds from Montana. Called the “Pablo herd”, it was eventually moved to Elk Island National Park and from there a herd of 12 bison came to Buffalo Pound Provincial Park in 1972.
A walk along the 2.9 km Bison View Interpretive Trail provides opportunities to view the captive herd of bison against a backdrop of prairie sky and grasses and to remember the bison as they once were. Views of the bison paddock and marsh area along the trail are spectacular and are sure to inspire further exploration of the area. If you are lucky, you will catch a close-up view of the bison as they amble along the fence line towards their water supply.
Gently rolling prairie terrain, wildflowers in a wide pallet of colours and songbirds galore are other features of this trail.
Protect yourself from the sun and take along some water. Benches provide rest stops along the way. Pick up the self-guiding trail brochure to learn more about bison and their prairie home.
Nicolle Flats Trail
This trail (3 km - one way) connects the marsh area with the Nicolle Homestead. It’s an easy, pleasant walk through prairie grasslands and wooded coulees. Your reward is at the end of the trail. A shady maple grove oasis awaits you at the Nicolle Homestead where you can rest.
Dyke Trail/Trans Canada Trail
The 8 km Dyke Trail takes you completely around the marsh. The dyke is one of several structures built to regulate the water levels of the erratic Qu’Appelle River and its tributaries. In the past, floodwaters from Moose Jaw and Qu’Appelle Rivers destroyed marsh plants and drowned out nesting sites at Nicolle Flats. Severe floods made it impossible for ducks and geese to re-nest. Dry years meant more hardships for marsh birds and fur-bearing animals like the muskrat.
With the loss of many wetlands and natural areas to agriculture and development, maintaining Nicolle Flats as a viable nesting and wildlife refuge site is important. The dyke and other water control structures make the marsh a productive wetland for waterfowl and other wildlife.
Bicycles are allowed on this portion of the Nicolle Flats trail system as it is part of the Trans Canada Trail.
Valley Interpretive Trail
Located on the east side of the interpretive area, the 1.5 km Valley Trail will take you into one of the richest parts of the valley - the confluence of Moose Jaw and Qu’Appelle Rivers. Wildlife abounds in the woodlands that grow on the fertile floodplains of these two waterways. Western painted turtles, white-tailed deer, raccoons, muskrat, beaver and great blue herons all find homes along the streams’ wooded banks. Pick up a self-guiding trail brochure to learn more about the inhabitants along the trail.
The Valley Trail
Man has been attracted to the Qu’Appelle Valley for thousands of years. In early times, native hunters came in search of wild game, for supplies of wood and fresh water, and for protection from the rigours of the open prairies. Later, as the prairies were settled, coulees became homestead sites, valley slopes provided range for cattle and horses, and towns grew up along the meandering river.
Our relationship to the land has changed over time, but we are still drawn here by the valley’s natural beauty, and by its abundant wildlife.
The Valley Trail will take you into one of the richest parts of the valley - to the confluence of Moose Jaw River and the Qu’Appelle River. Wildlife abounds in the woodlands that grow on the fertile floodplains of these two waterways. Western painted turtles, white-tailed deer, raccoons, muskrat, beaver and great blue herons all find homes along the streams’ wooded banks.
The trail follows the high banks of Moose Jaw River to its junction with the Qu’Appelle River and returns via the dyke along the edge of Nicolle Flats Marsh. Take an hour to hike the trail and discover how man and wildlife interact today in a landscape we have shared for centuries.
Our quality cycling trails are one of the best kept secrets in the province! More than 30 km of maintained mountain bike trails are located in the park near the former Whitetrack ski resort. Well marked trails follow the natural contours of the valley and range from gently rolling scenic rides for the whole family to technical trails with challenging climbs and descents for the serious enthusiast. The Park has hosted several national and provincial mountain bike races, including the Canada Cup. The park has partnered with local mountain bike clubs to develop and maintain this network of mountain biking trails. A detailed map is available online at http://www.moosejawpavers.ca/ and paper copies will be available at the Park Office or at the store.
Buffalo Pound Mini-Golf & Bait Shop
Take a break from the water-based activities to enjoy a round of mini-golf with the entire family. The 18-hole course is located adjacent to the Elmview day use area, just southeast of the pool. This facility is privately owned with separate admission fees. Forgot your fishing bait or favorite tackle? You can purchase from the bait and tackle shop located at the mini-golf location.
Buffalo Pound Provincial Park has 7 km of ungroomed cross-country ski trails starting from the Lower Chalet area.
Head out on the lake to try ice fishing for walleye, pike and perch.