The Big Muddy Badlands in Saskatchewan are a slice of the Wild West
The Big Muddy Badlands in southern Saskatchewan may surprise you. For a province predominantly known for its flat landscape, the otherworldly wonderland of the badlands is totally unexpected.
The unique, desert-like valley spans 55 kilometres and is one of the most rugged and driest regions in the area. The slice of Canada's Wild West includes wind-carved buttes, prickly cacti, steep cliffs and deep-cut sandstone ravines.
Steeped in history, the remote badlands were actually once part of the Outlaw Trail. The system of caves and trails, which extended from Canada all the way down to Mexico, was the prime spot for famed bandits on the run in the 1800s to the early 1900s.
Tours are offered from the town of Coronach in the summer months. You'll get to explore the caves and pathways where desperados such as Sam Kelly, Dutch Henry, and the Sundance Kid once walked and sheltered in.
The crown jewel, however, has to be Castle Butte. This relic from the ice age protrudes 70 metres (230 feet) from the flat prairie and provides incredible views of the surrounding landscape.
Due to its impressive height, it used to serve as a landmark to Indigenous people, the Northwest Mounted Police and early Canadian settlers. It's now one of Saskatchewan's seven wonders.
If you journey to the very peak of the mountain you'll be offered up a bird-eye view of the vast valley.
The valley is also dotted with many Indigenous sacred sites that remind visitors of the land's first residents. These include stone effigies such as Minton Turtle and the Big Beaver Buffalo, ceremonial circles and ancient buffalo jumps.
The vast beauty and abundant history of the wide-open landscape make the Big Muddy Badlands a destination worth seeing for yourself.
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