From the North – Points along Highway 16
Saskatoon = 4h15 or 339km; Edmonton = 8h15 or 795km)
ROUTE: Saskatoon/Edmonton to Rosetown to Swift Current to Val Marie
All roads meet in Rosetown. Whether you’re travelling south from North Battleford and our northern Highway 16 or travelling south west along Highway 7 from Saskatoon, Tim Horton’s coffee shop on Hwy7 in Rosetown offers the perfect pit stop.
From Rosetown, head south along Hwy4 for the next 3 hours. It’s single lane highway all the way with wide open fields and expansive prairie vistas. “If you want to capture the vast landscape in your photos, try framing it with… xyz”
Hwy4 is well travelled but is free from any real traffic. You’ll pass right through Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park and cross the mighty South Saskatchewan River before leaving the river valley. The park is a beautiful spot to stop and stretch your legs.
At Swift Current, Hwy4 bends, and with a left hand turn you’ll skirt the city, cross under the TransCanada Highway (#1) and head due south (still on Hwy4) for the last leg of your trip.
Swift Current offers four good grocery stores, a range of restaurants close to the highway, and a couple of foodie favourites on Central Ave, (check out Nightjar Diner Co). A Walmart right on Hwy4 offers clean, accessible bathrooms and even organic veggies. At the other end of the same mall, Safeway offers the best fresh baked bread and buns you can find outside of the Swift Current Saturday farmer’s market. A strong regional art gallery, museum and great music at the downtown Lyric Theatre adds layers to this small city of 15,000.
Gas up in Swift Current, as there is only one more gas station before you reach Val Marie. It’s a good one though: brothers Leo and Sam offer friendly local service at Lecelle Bros. Husky Gas Station in Cadillac. They have rescued many a traveller with good repair work – ourselves included.
Heading south from Cadillac, the road crosses the Continental Divide — the high point ridge that meanders across the North American continent east-west; where rivers on the north side flow up to the arctic while those on the south side flow down towards the Missouri. The vista is breathtaking. Weather can change quickly on the “Divide”. Deer and other wildlife range the ditches so keep your eyes peeled, especially as dusk approaches. The lack of traffic means wildlife often cross the highway unexpectedly.
When you pull into Val Marie, you’ll see a BA Card Lock Gas Station on your right (with a booth that accepts all Canadian credit cards) and Grasslands National Park Visitor Centre on the Left. Stay on the highway for another 5km, crossing the flats of the Frenchman River valley and, when the road rises on the other side and starts curving right, turn left at Rosefield Grid Rd where you’ll see our sign.
Welcome! You’re one kilometre away from comfort on the edge of the grassland sea.