Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is an interprovincial park straddling the southern Alberta-Saskatchewan border, located southeast of Medicine Hat. It is Canada's only interprovincial park.
The park consists of two protected areas, the west block, that straddles the Alberta/Saskatchewan border between Alberta Highway 41, the hamlet of Elkwater, Saskatchewan Highway 615, Saskatchewan Highway 271 and Fort Walsh, and the east block, an additional area of in Saskatchewan, west of Saskatchewan Highway 21.
The Cypress Hills rise up to 600 metres above the surrounding prairie, to a maximum elevation of , making it Canada's highest point between the Canadian Rockies and the Labrador peninsula and also the highest point in Saskatchewan. The "West Block" of the Cypress Hills spans the provincial border. Battle Creek runs through the central part of the park.
Approximately 700 species of plants and animals thrive in the park, including 14 species of orchids
The park protects the majority of the Cypress Hills landscape, which consists of three separate elevated blocks of lush forest and fescue grassland surrounded by dry mixed-grass prairie. The "west block" and "centre block" are protected as provincial parks, and are managed by Alberta Parks and Protected Areas and Saskatchewan Parks, respectively. The "east block" of the Cypress Hills, situated near Eastend, Saskatchewan, is not part of the park. The Fort Walsh National Historic Site is also located in the park's limits.
On the Alberta side of the west block, key park features include Head of the Mountain, the Elkwater
townsite (a cottage
community sitting at the same elevation as the Banff
townsite), Horseshoe Canyon and Reesor Lake viewpoints (offering 100 km views on a clear day), over 50 km of hiking
and mountain biking
trails, and Hidden Valley Ski Area (Canada's Prairie Sno-asis). Three lakes sit on the Alberta side of the park (Elkwater Lake
, Spruce Coulee Reservoir and Reesor Lake), with another three in Saskatchewan (Harris, Adams and Coulee Lake).
All year long, park interpreters present education programs to school and youth groups, adult and seniors groups, and a wide range of park visitors.
- 1951 - The Cypress Hills Provincial Park was established in Alberta.
- 1989 - On August 25, the governments of Alberta and Saskatchewan signed an agreement committing themselves to cooperation on ecosystem management, education and park promotion.
- 2000 - Fort Walsh National Historic Site (located on the Saskatchewan side of the West Block) joined the collective. Together, these three partner agencies make up the park. Both Alberta and Saskatchewan provincial governments signed the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park agreement, establishing the first interprovincial park in Canada.