Cypress Hills – Grasslands Birding Tour from Saskatoon, Regina, Swift Current: 3 options for birding the great southwest

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Cypress Hills Birding Tours

We offer 3 options for guided self-driving tours to the Cypress Hills region of SW Saskatchewan, Canada.

OPTION A. 4-Day / 3-night private guided birding tour to the centre and west blocks of Cypress Hills Provincial Park.  Private tour available mid-May to early September plus November - early April. Estimated driving distance from Saskatoon: 1100 km.

OPTION B. 8-Day / 7-night private guided birding tour to Cypress Hills PLUS the surrounding prairie regions including Grasslands National Park where additional bird species occur. Private tour available July to early September. Estimated driving distance from Saskatoon: 1900 km.

OPTION C. June 10 - 17, 2023 8-day /7-night guided group birding tour to Cypress Hills PLUS the surrounding prairie regions including Grasslands National Park where additional bird species occur. Estimated driving distance from Saskatoon: 1900 km. Least expensive option.

Tour starts in Saskatoon meeting other participants in Rosetown or Kindersley.
Participants departing Regina, Moose Jaw or Swift Current should plan to meet tour at Maple Creek (option A) or at Leader (options B and C).

Where is best place to find prairie birds in Canada?

Join one of our 3 tour options for visiting Cypress Hills and surrounding prairies in southwestern Saskatchewan, Canada.  Both novice and experienced birdwatchers are welcome. We will visit the best birding hotspots in SW Saskatchewan. These habitats are the favourites of both local and visiting birders looking for prairie birds as well as sub-alpine birds.

All 3 tour options visit the Cypress Hills. Some of the special unique birds in this region include MacGillivray’s Warbler, Dusky Flycatcher, Red-naped Sapsucker, Poorwill, Pacific Wren, Violet-Green Swallow. We also look for rare Cordilleran Flycatcher and Bullock’s Oriole found in the region in recent years. We plan to visit the west and central blocks of this birding hotspot.

In addition to the above Cypress Hills region, tour options B and C will also visit the following birding hotspots.

The Jones's Peak birding stop in the East Block of the Cypress Hills offers magnificent scenery plus great views of Rock Wrens and Violet-Green Swallows. Prairie Falcons and other rarities are sometimes seen in this area.

In Grasslands National Park and other areas, we will watch and listen for Burrowing Owl,  Ferruginous Hawk, Golden Eagle,  Long-billed Curlew, Loggerhead Shrike, Sprague's Pipit, Baird's Sparrow, Brewer's Sparrow,  Lark Bunting, Chestnut-collared Longspur and Thick-billed Longspur. See sidebar for a list of potential species of interest. A checklist of Saskatchewan birds may be downloaded HERE.

We also plan to visit Saskatchewan's famous Great Sandhills where Common Poorwill, Long-billed Curlew and Lark Sparrows plus other grassland birds may be found.

The Cypress Hills - Grasslands Park group tour on June 10 - 17 is one of the  tours in the Saskatchewan Birding Hotspots Series offered by Saskatoon Custom Bird Tours.  This tour can easily be taken following our Duck Mountain Park Tour  and before our Best Birding Hotspots of SE Saskatchewan Tour .

Transportation: All participants will travel in their own personal or rented car or truck. Carpooling may be possible during the Option C group tour.

RVs and trucks pulling trailers are only feasible on Options A and B private tours.

Full electric vehicles are currently only feasible on the Option A private tour.  There is a charging station in Maple Creek.

Accommodation Options. Both camping and hotel accommodation options are available.

Option A Cypress Hills Park Itinerary

Weather conditions may result in changes to this planned itinerary.

Day 1

Tour departs Saskatoon about 8 am. Participants may choose to join this private tour at Rosetown, Kindersley or Maple Creek.

Some of our planned birding stops include the following sites.

  • Kindersley Regional Park
  • Supper at Maple Creek
  • Overnight at a Maple Creek hotel. Campers may wish to stay in a west block campground.
  • Optional late night visit to west block to search for Common Poorwill.

Day 2

Some of our planned birding stops include the following sites.

  • Junction Reservoir
  • Cypress Hills west block switchbacks
  • Fort Walsh hiking trails (moderate hill climb)
  • Easy walk to Cordilleran Flycatcher nesting site.
  • Conglomerate Cliffs
  • Overnight at a hotel in Maple Creek or at the Resort at Cypress Hills. Campers may wish to stay in centre block campground.
  • Optional late evening outing to listen for owls or poorwills in centre block of Cypress Hills

Day 3

We plan to spend the day birding along hiking trails in the centre block of Cypress Hills.

  • Valley of the Windfalls trail
  • Whispering Pine trail
  • Loch Leven
  • Supper at the Resort at Cypress Hills.
  • Watch evening sunset from top of Bald Butte.
  • Optional late night outing to listen for owls or poorwills.
  • Overnight at a hotel in Maple Creek or at the Resort at Cypress Hills. Campers may wish to stay in centre block campground.

Day 4

We plan to hike the following birding trail in the morning. Tour ends at noon. Participants may follow leader back to Swift Current and Saskatoon.

  • Highlands Trail.

Option A Tour Fee

4-day / 3-night Cypress Hills Private Tour Fee: CAD $2590 (about US $1920, £1700) for a party of 1 - 4 persons . Note fee is for your entire party (not a per person fee). Additional adults are $200 each.
Fee includes guiding services. Meals and accommodation and transportation are NOT included.
Trip begins in Saskatoon about 8 am on day 1 and ends at Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan about noon on day 4.
Save $200 if you can cover the leader's accommodation cost in a separate bedroom in a cabin or condo for nights 2 and 3 at the Resort at Cypress Hills.
Save $500 if you have room in your vehicle to cover the leader's transportation costs from Saskatoon and back.

Tax Receipt. You will receipt a tax receipt for 50% of the tour fee.

CANCELLATION POLICY: Refunds less a $100 administration fee will be given if cancellation notice received 60 days before date of tour.
No refunds if cancellation notice received less than 60 days before date of tour unless another client takes your place.

Options B/C Cypress Hills - Grasslands Park Itinerary

Weather conditions may result in changes to this planned itinerary.

Day 1

Tour departs Saskatoon about 8 am. Participants may choose to join the tour at Rosetown, Kindersley or Leader.

Some of our planned birding stops include the following sites.

  • Kindersley Regional Park
  • Afternoon and Evening Visit to the Great Sandhills
  • Supper at Leader or in the Sandhills
  • Overnight at a Leader hotel. Campers may wish to stay in campground.

Day 2

Some of our planned birding stops include the following sites.

  • South Saskatchewan River near Estuary
  • Junction Reservoir
  • Mason Lake
  • Supper at Maple Creek
  • Overnight at a Maple Creek hotel. Campers may wish to stay in west block or town campground.
  • Optional late evening outing to listen for poorwills in west block of Cypress Hills

Day 3

We plan to spend the day birding in the best hotspots in the west block of Cypress Hills.

  • Cypress Hills Switchbacks
  • Fort Walsh hiking trails
  • Cordilleran Flycatcher nesting site from previous years
  • Conglomerate Cliffs in Cypress Hills
  • Overnight at a motel in Consul SK. Campers may stay at Cypress Lake recreation site.

Day 4

We plan to drive around the region south of Cypress Hills making stops to watch and listen for grassland birds. Some planned stops include:

  • Govenlock area
  • Cypress Lake Recreation Site
  • Supper and overnight accommodation at The Resort at Cypress Hills (Centre Block).
    Campers may stay at a park campground.
  • Hike Cypress Hills Whispering Pines Trail in evening.
  • Optional late evening outing to listen for poorwills.

Day 5

Today we will hike several easy trails within the centre block of Cypress Hills provincial park.

  • Highlands Trail
  • Whispering Pines Trail
  • Supper and overnight at the Cypress Hills resort.
  • Sunset visit to Bald Butte viewpoint

Day 6

We will drive through the east block of Cypress Hills making many stops including the following sites.

  • Fairwell Creek
  • Jones Peak
  • Eastend
  • Overnight at a motel near Grasslands Park.  Campers may stay in town or park campground.

Day 7

We plan to bird in Grasslands Park for much of the day.  Some planned stops include:

  • Val Marie town
  • Top Dogtown trail
  • Frenchman River Valley
  • Larson Interpretive Trail
  • Little Breed Creek Prairie Dog town
  • North Gillespie Road (if dry)
  • Rosefield Ecotour route

Day 8

We will spend most of the morning in Grasslands National Park.
In the afternoon you may return home or continue with me to the SE Saskatchewan Birding Tour.

Option B Tour Fee

8-day / 7-night Cypress Hills Private Tour Fee: $4990  (about US $3700, £3275) for a party of 1 - 4 persons . Note fee is for your entire party (not a per person fee). Additional adults are $200 each.
Fee includes guiding services. Meals and accommodation and transportation are NOT included.
Trip begins in Saskatoon about 8 am on day 1 and ends at Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan about noon on day 4.
Save $200 if you can cover the leader's accommodation cost in a separate bedroom in a cabin or condo for nights 2 and 3 at the Resort at Cypress Hills.
Save $700 if you have room in your vehicle to cover the leader's transportation costs from Saskatoon and back.

Please book your tour as soon as possible. Accommodation options are very limited in the remote areas visited on this tour.

Tax Receipt. You will receipt a tax receipt for 50% of the tour fee.

CANCELLATION POLICY: Refunds less a $100 administration fee will be given if cancellation notice received 60 days before date of tour.
No refunds if cancellation notice received less than 60 days before date of tour unless another client takes your place.

Option C Tour Fee

June 10 - 17, 2023 Cypress Hills - Grasslands Park Public Group Tour Fee: $2490 (about US $1850, £1635)  for a party of 1 - 4 persons travelling in a single vehicle. Note fee is for your entire party (not a per person fee). Fee includes guiding services. Meals and accommodation and transportation are NOT included.
Trip begins in Saskatoon about 8 am on June 10 and ends at Mankota, Saskatchewan about noon on June 17.

Please book your tour as soon as possible. Accommodation options are very limited in the remote areas visited on this tour.

Tax Receipt. You will receipt a tax receipt for 50% of the tour fee.

CANCELLATION POLICY: Refunds less a $100 administration fee will be given if cancellation notice received 60 days before date of tour.
No refunds if cancellation notice received less than 60 days before date of tour unless another client takes your place.

Carpooling

If you would like to share the costs of a group tour with other interested birders, then complete the Carpooling Section of the Registration Request Form below or email the tour name, your name, phone number and email address to birdtours@sasktel.net

Pre Group Tour Options

Note fees listed are the total fee for your group of 1 - 4 persons.

June 5 - 8, 2023 4-DAY Duck Mountain Park Public Group Tour Fee: $1290 for a party of 1 - 4 persons travelling in a single vehicle.
Fee includes guiding services. Meals and accommodation and transportation are NOT included.
Trip begins in Saskatoon at 8 am on June 5 and returns about 6 pm on June 8.

June 9, 2023 AM Saskatoon Parks Group Tour Fee: $190 for a party of 1 - 4 persons.
Fee includes guiding services. Meals and accommodation and transportation are NOT included.
Trip begins in Saskatoon at 9 am on June 9 and ends at noon.

June 9, 2023 PM Beaver Creek Hiking and Birding Public Group Tour Fee: $195 for a party of 1 - 4 persons travelling in a single vehicle.
Fee includes guiding services. Meals and accommodation and transportation are NOT included.
Trip begins in Saskatoon at 1 pm on June 9 and returns about 4 pm on June 9.

Post Group Tour Option

June 17 - 20, 2023 SE Saskatchewan Public Group Tour Fee: CAD $1290 (about US $960) for a party of 1 - 4 persons travelling in a single vehicle.
Fee includes guiding services. Meals and accommodation and transportation are NOT included.
Trip begins in Mankota at 8 am on June 17 and returns to Saskatoon about 6 pm on June 20.

Multiple Tours Discount

Check out our multiple tours discount described here.

Reservation Request Form

Reservations: Complete the form below or email: birdtours@sasktel.net and provide names of clients, their addresses and requested type of tour and tour date.
Full payment due at time of booking. Payment instruction will be emailed to you after registration form is received. You may also phone Stan Shadick at 306-652-5975.

The number of participants accepted on this Cypress Hills - Grasslands Park group tour is limited. Because accommodation choices are limited in the remote areas visited on this tour, please reserve your spot as early as possible.

Questions: please email birdtours@sasktel.net or phone 306-652-5975 during evenings.

Select all that apply. Multiple Tour discounts apply.
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Smoking is allowed only inside your own personal vehicle. No smoking is permitted during meals, anywhere in shared accommodations or outside during birding stops or hikes.
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If you do not hear back from us within 24 hours, then please email: birdtours@sasktel.net or phone 306-652-5975.

 

Cypress Hills Group Birding Tour
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park Trails

Previous Trip Report

CLICK HERE for a trip report from the 2022 Cypress Hills - Grasslands Park tour.

Testimonials from previous Cypress Hills Tour

Please accept our gratitude for a wonderful six days. The time together has been unforgettable and we will treasure these memories. TK June 17, 2022

Thanks for great SK birding and a respectable number of lifers for me! EZ June 25, 2022

Can I bring my pet dog on this tour?

Dogs are permitted on private tours provided they are kept on a leash. Dogs are not permitted on group tours.

Covid Safety Policy on Cypress Hills Tours

  1. Your tour leader is fully vaccinated.
  2. Clients must normally drive themselves in their own personal or rented vehicle. The leader will normally drive in a separate vehicle. We will use cell phones to communicate between each other during the tour.
  3. Please wear a mask and maintain physical 2 meter distancing when walking outside or viewing birds through the spotting scope that I will set up.
  4. This policy may change when public health orders change or when Covid case numbers decrease.
  5. Please contact us before booking tour if you have any special requests with regard to this policy. In certain cases if requested, leader may be willing to ride in client's vehicle.

Some Potential Birds of Interest

We should find most of the following birds on the Cypress Hills - Grasslands Park Birding Tour.

  • Ring-necked Pheasant
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Greater Sage-Grouse (rare)
  • Sharp-tailed Grouse
  • Red-necked Grebe
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Broad-winged Hawk
  • Ferruginous Hawk
  • Swainson's Hawk
  • Golden Eagle
  • Black-necked Stilt
  • American Avocet
  • Upland Sandpiper
  • Long-billed Curlew
  • California Gull
  • Franklin's Gull
  • Eastern Screech-owl (rare)
  • Burrowing Owl
  • Common Poorwill
  • Red-naped Sapsucker
  • Western Wood-Pewee
  • Dusky Flycatcher
  • Cordilleran Flycatcher
  • Violet-Green Swallow
  • Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  • Brown Creeper
  • Pacific Wren
  • Mountain Bluebird
  • Townsend's Solitaire (rare)
  • Thick-billed Longspur
  • Chestnut-collared Longspur
  • Audubon's Warbler subspecies
  • MacGillivray's Warbler
  • Brewer's Sparrow
  • Lark Sparrow
  • Lark Bunting
  • Baird's Sparrow
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • Pink-sided Junco subspecies
  • Western Tanager
  • Lazuli Bunting
  • Bullock's Oriole (rare)
  • Yellow-headed Blackbird
  • Red Crossbill

Gift Certificates Available Now

This Cypress Hills - Grasslands Park Birding Tour makes an excellent birthday gift, anniversary gift, graduation gift, retirement gift or special gift for a birder, birdwatcher or anyone interested in nature.

GIFT CERTIFICATES: Click here for information about purchasing a gift certificate for this tour or any of our other tours.

How to Get to Saskatoon

Air: Saskatoon International Airport (YXE) is served by Air Canada, Westjet, and their partners United and Delta.

Train: Saskatoon's  Train Station is served by Via Rail's Canadian train serving Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Jasper and Vancouver.

Bus: Saskatoon - Edmonton and Saskatoon - Regina bus service

Car: Saskatoon is located on Canada's Yellowhead cross-country highway plus 6 other major highways connecting with all cities in Canada and USA. If you drive, you do not need to rent a car for our tours.

Entering Canada

CLICK HERE for government regulations for entering Canada.
My recent fully vaccinated international clients tell me there are no significant delays at the border provided they have fully completed the ArriveCan app in advance.

Cypress Hills Tour Guide

Tour Guide: Stan Shadick. Click for more information about your tour guide.

OTHER TOURS

Other Tours and Workshops: Click here to see a complete list of our upcoming tours and workshops.

Duck Mountain Park Birding Tour

Beaver Creek Tour

SE Saskatchewan Birding Tour