There's a little place in Saskatchewan whose colors are so vivid and beautiful, seeing them will make you roll around on the grass in pure existential crisis. And I'm barely exaggerating! The Little Swan River really is something else though... Yes, a little LSR is all you need. The Little Swan River flows south into the Swan River Valley from its headwaters in God-knows-where, Saskatchewan. More specifically, the upper reaches are accessible in the Porcupine Hills near Parr Hill Lake Campground. There's a tiny cottage community, also named Little Swan River, that serves as a gate to some sketchy back roads. By driving a few kilometers east past the hamlet, you can reach an access point with scenery akin to northern British Columbia! Or so I'd imagine if I could afford to drive there.
For those who fish, you might want to bring your fly rod for this one. The Little Swan is home to some feral brook trout supplemented by occasional stocking. The river is a breeze to hike and a pleasure to fish, but I have a feeling the populations are struggling. There were just too many seemingly perfect pools barren of fish... Might have been an off day though- your call.
With a healthy balance of spruce and aspen trees, the river explodes with colour in Autumn. The first vista offers a full view of open pasture land enclosed by a horseshoe bend in the river. Follow the emerald hallways upstream, and you'll find yourself in a lush boreal super-jungle.
The next time I have a chance to explore the Little Swan, I'll definitely be heading further into the upper reaches. The back roads that follow this river cut deep into the most uninhabited regions of the Porcupine Forest. Who knows what I'll find if I just push a little further.