Father’s Day Camping: Writing on Stone Provincial Park

This Father’s Day weekend we went camping at Writing on Stone Provincial Park in southern Alberta.  The park is located in the Badlands, just north of the Sweetgrass hills in Montana, and is known for its rock art.

We’ve gone to this park several times, and visited last summer for a day trip.  The park has some fun hikes, and a large area of hoodoos to kill several hours in.  While the weather wasn’t amazing, the rain that fell this weekend was sporadic enough for us to enjoy most of what the park had to offer.  Due to the temperature we stayed away from the beach, but were able to see pretty much everything else.

We spent most of Saturday morning running around the hoodoos, which is one of the kids favourite past times.  It was nice that they were able to climb pretty much wherever they wanted, within reason.  We then went back to our site on the river to have lunch, and then went back up to the visitor center to get onto the afternoon tour into the archaeological preserve.

Our tour was a lot of fun.  Our guide, Becky, did a great job with a very relaxed group.  She provided a lot of great information on all the rock art in the preserve, giving us the historical and cultural significance of it all and how it tied into the creation of the park.  She even bolted off to get the bus for us in record time when the sky opened up and the rain began to fall.

Sunday we went and followed the Hoodoo trail to the site of the Indian Battle pictograph.  The kids loved this hike, and it can be slightly challenging at times.  We all had a blast climbing the hoodoos and taking in the views.

The park is also full of a lot of wildlife, from beavers to deer to snakes and a plethora of birds.  We had some robins that were constantly scouting our site to scavenge all the food the kids dropped, much to their entertainment.  We were able to watch some deer grazing across the river from our site, and my wife even saw a beaver in the river!  The campground itself is surrounded by a short wire fence, designed to keep the beavers in the river and away from the trees in the park.  The crowning jewel of our wildlife search however, was a pair of bull snakes on the way from the Indian Battle scene to the parking lot.  One was half hidden under some stairs, while the other was in full view.  They were a couple of big beautiful snakes!

All told, we had a great camping weekend, and I can’t recommend this park enough.  If you’re going to go, just make sure you book well in advance!

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