Connecting with the outdoors while visiting Saskatoon

Connecting with the outdoors while visiting Saskatoon

As a Saskatchewan-based travel writer and nature enthusiast, I was kindly asked to share a few thoughts on how I connect with nature when visiting my ‘second home’ in the province. Being from Regina, I travel often to Saskatoon for both work and pleasure – however, I always make time to get outside.

My favourite thing to do when visiting Saskatoon, or really any place in particular is to walk and take in the destination on foot. This way, it’s at a pace where I can look and discover. Saskatoon is great because the city is so walkable, no matter the season.

Because I can be a bit of a creature of habit and since I usually stay downtown, heading to the Meewasin Valley Trail is something I try to fit into each and every trip. I love the accessibility of the trail and the beauty of the river! I have yet to walk each inch of the impressive 80 kilometers of urban trail but hope to one day claim otherwise. While walking, I really enjoy the breeze off of the river and keeping my eyes open for birds such as the swallows that dive to and fro on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River skimming the water for bugs in the early evening. It’s a really simple thing but it brings me so much joy.

I’ve been fortunate to take in similar views but from on the water. Stand up paddle boarding, kayaking and hopping aboard the Prairie Lily have all been really enjoyable experiences. Saskatoon is so truly fortunate to have the lovely river carve its way through the city. It offers numerous opportunities to appreciate the city and the abundance of nature found within it!

Another thing I love that people in Saskatoon do each year that I’ve just recently learned, is celebrate the return of American Pelicans! I saw my first few in Regina just this past week and it makes spring feel so much more official.

I also appreciate the great pleasure of connecting with nature and culture at Wanuskewin Heritage Park. Walking the 6 kilometers of interpretive trails in the mixed-grassland ecoregion provides a wonderful opportunity to catch sight of wildlife – from beavers and foxes to over 100 species of birds. However, there’s a feeling I get while following in the same footsteps of the Northern Plains People, where I cannot help but feel connected to something powerful – the land itself. A meeting place for over 6,000 years, and Canada’s longest running archaeological dig site, this area and its history are truly special, and make it one of the province’s biggest gems. I cannot wait for the reintroduction of bison to this remarkable spot.

Though I haven’t made it there yet, Cranberry Flats and Beaver Creek Conservation Areas, are high on my list. I’m hoping to get there this spring to do some birdwatching. Thanks to locals who provided me insight into this incredible area, I was able to include it in a book I recently co-authored, 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, which also features a section on Saskatoon (including this festival) and Wanuskewin.

If you’d like more information on nature hot spots in the province, you can follow me at!

Cheers and Happy NatureCity Festival to all!

Jenn Nelson

Wild About Saskatoon