HIDDEN VALLEY

“The name ‘Hidden Valley’ evokes a sense of mystery and discovery.” 1 Deep wooded valleys separated by steep ridges provide a wide diversity of habitats and terrain to discover on the 320 acre sanctuary. Nature Regina acquired this half section of land along the Qu’Appelle River Valley near Craven in 1954 to preserve and interpret natural processes and ecological functions of the surrounding landscape for the benefit of members of Nature Regina and the general public.
 

1 Richardson, Gillian Ed. 1992 Nature In Trust: An Account of the Regina Natural History Society
1933-1990. Regina Natural History Society, Regina


Accessing Hidden Valley:
The purpose of the Hidden Valley Sanctuary is to preserve and protect wild fauna and flora and the surface itself in a natural form. The Sanctuary is relatively small and is ecologically fragile. Visitors are welcome but we ask all visitors to respect the wildlife and the sanctuary rules. The easiest way to reach the sanctuary is to take grid 729 east from Highway 20 near Craven. Follow the grid for about 2.15 kms. until you have crossed the railway, then turn left. Follow this road, known as the Sod Farm Road, along the edge of the valley for about 5.4 kms, then turn right into the Hidden Valley
parking area.

 

Rules Governing Use of Hidden Valley

  1. This sanctuary is first and foremost for the plants and animals that call it home. Treat the area and the wildlife with respect. Do not pick or damage the flowers, trees or other plants.

  2. No motorized vehicles of any kind: no motorbikes, no snowmobiles, no ATVs. Access on foot only.

  3. Visitors are free to walk any part of the sanctuary except the rehabilitation area. Years ago, a gully formed on a steep hillside. Society volunteers have successfully stopped the erosion and natural vegetation is re-establishing. This area, marked in white on the map, is closed to protect the re-establishing vegetation.

  4. The wild berries growing here are important food for wildlife. The Society has therefore prohibited berry picking on the sanctuary.

  5. No pets. Pets can scare and disturb the wildlife.

  6. No fires.

  7. No camping.

  8. The area is designated as a Provincial Wildlife Refuge. Hunting and shooting are prohibited.

Exploring Hidden Valley
We encourage listening, walking, photography, smelling flowers and general enjoyment of the natural beauty of Hidden Valley, while leaving no trace to impair the enjoyment of the next visitor.
Hidden Valley Sanctuary is 1 mile long, from west to east and one-half mile wide, north to south. At the parking area you are near the west border of the sanctuary. While visitors are free to walk anywhere in the sanctuary, except the rehabilitation area, the society has established walking trails to aid your exploration. We hope to open additional trails in 2022. Trails are signed and are
generally easy to follow.

 

The Trails:

 

1. The Ridgeway (Red on the map) 
Consists of the West Ridge and East Ridge Trails, which together form a loop.
     a. West Ridge Trail

From the parking area this trail takes you west, parallel to the valley road, through a shrubby area and then up the west ridge. The trail offers excellent views across the valley and many opportunities to see wildflowers on the valley slopes. It leads you onto the grasslands at the valley top where it meets the East Ridge Trail and the Valley Trail. From the junction you may return to the parking area by one of these two trails or leave the trail to walk across the grassland. The West Ridge Trail is 1 km in length and climbs 74 metres.

     b. East Ridge Trail

​From the parking area pass through the entry gate and then immediately turn left onto the east ridge. The trail follows this ridge to the upland grasslands and junction with the West Ridge and Valley Trails. The trail is 0.75 kms long and also has 74 metres of total elevation gain. You will have great views across the Qu’Appelle and adjacent coulees and many opportunities to appreciate wildlife and wildflowers.


2. The Valley Trail (Blue on the map)
The Valley Trail provides the easiest and most direct route to the valley top. Many visitors will elect to take in the Woodland Trail and then continue to the valley top. From the junction with the East and West Ridge Trails a visitor may choose to explore the grasslands off the trails or descend by one of the Ridge Trails. While the Valley Trail also gains 74 metres in altitude, it is not as steep and climbs more steadily with no dips, so involves less climbing than either the East or West Ridge Trails. The trail is 0.6 kms in length.

3. The Woodland Trail (Yellow on the map)
The Woodland Trail was designed to provide an option for people who do not wish to undertake the steep hike to the valley top and to provide visitors with a route into the Green Ash forest that covers the bottom of many of the coulees. The route initially follows the Valley Tail, then turns into the shaded forest. A bench, to be installed in 2022, provides an opportunity to rest in the shade at the
top of the trail, watch for the forest birds and appreciate the beauty of this forest. The Woodland Trail, including the part of the Valley Trail, provides a 0.6 km walk from the parking area to the bench and back to the parking area. There are no steep climbs and 17 metres of total elevation gain.

 

History:
Hidden Valley was owned by the CPR. In 1945 society member Bob Mackenzie recommended the society protect it. The society leased it from CPR for $1.00 per annum, an arrangement which ended in 1954 when the society purchased the land from CPR for $320.00, one dollar per acre. The sanctuary has been managed by a Hidden Valley Committee since that time. Members are welcome
to join the Hidden Valley Committee.

 

Wildflowers:
One of the many joys of hiking at Hidden Valley is the many wildflowers that can be seen as well as the butterflies, bees and other insects visiting the wildflowers. To assist visitors, we have listed some of the more commonly observed wildflowers by season. You can see photos of some of these wildflowers on this website. We also recommend the Saskatchewan Wildflowers website maintained

by society member Glen Lee as an excellent resource to help you identify Saskatchewan wildflowers. https://www.saskwildflower.ca/native-plant-photos.html

Supporters:
Nature Regina gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of the R.M. of Lumsden, which, in support of our conservation objectives, has exempted the property from taxation. Nature Regina would like to thank EcoFriendly West (formerly EcoFriendly Sask) for their grants in 2015 and 2017 to improve signage at the sanctuary.