Local Photo Credit: Wayne Stadler

This Sacred Park is Worth the Trip

There’s something magical about the Albertan wilderness.

I still remember my first overview of Alberta’s Writing-on-Stone Park: an extraordinary jumble of eroded sandstone hoodoos sloping down to willows and a winding river below the skyline curves of the Sweetgrass Hills. The setting was so beautiful, so otherworldly, I couldn’t wait to explore.

And the more I discovered, the more I loved the place and its 10,000 years of history.

In the days of the buffalo, this landscape was considered sacred. First Nations people came here for vision quests and recorded their dreams and the events of their lives on the sandstone cliffs. Park rangers now lead interpretive walks into the protected area where most of the “writings” can be found, and also, for later history, to the old North West Mounted Police outpost across the river.

The park provides most amenities: camping (including luxurious “Comfort Camping”), a visitor centre and programs, hiking, a sandy beach, a warm river and wildlife galore. For my kids it was always pure adventure, but they learned much (without even knowing it) of earth’s geology, history, prehistory and nature—and perhaps something about the magic of special places.

`writingonstonepark_Rod Brazier
(Photo: Rod Brazier)

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