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Lake Diefenbaker is a reservoir and sparsely populated rural area in the transition area between southern and central Saskatchewan.


Lake Diefenbaker

Named after John G. Diefenbaker, former Prime Minister of Canada, Lake Diefenbaker was formed by the construction of Gardiner Dam and the Qu'Appelle River Dam across the South Saskatchewan and Qu'Appelle Rivers respectively. Construction began in 1959 and the lake was filled in 1967. The lake is 225 km (140 mi) long with approximately 800 km (500 mi) of shoreline. It has a maximum depth of 66 m (217 ft), while the water levels regularly fluctuate 3–9 metres (9–27 feet) each year. There are three provincial parks and various regional parks on the shores of Lake Diefenbaker. Recreational activities include fishing, boating and camping. The Town of Elbow contains a marina for boat storage and house boat rental.

Towns and communities[edit]

Map of Lake Diefenbaker
  • 1 Beechy Beechy on Wikipedia: a small village along Hwy 342
  • 2 Birsay Birsay, Saskatchewan on Wikipedia: a small village at the junctions of Hwys 45 & 373
  • 3 Broderick Broderick, Saskatchewan on Wikipedia: a small village along Hwy 15
  • 4 Central Butte Central Butte on Wikipedia: a small town at the junctions of Hwys 19 & 42
  • 5 Elbow Elbow, Saskatchewan on Wikipedia: on the northeastern shore of Lake Diefenbaker on Hwy 19, near the Qu'Appelle Valley Dam
  • 6 Loreburn Loreburn, Saskatchewan on Wikipedia: a small village at the junctions of Hwys 19 & 44
  • 7 Lucky Lake Lucky Lake on Wikipedia: northwest of Lake Diefenbaker at the junction of Hwys 42 & 45
  • 8 Macrorie Macrorie, Saskatchewan on Wikipedia: north of Lake Diefenbaker on Hwy 44, near the Gardiner Dam
  • 9 Outlook Outlook, Saskatchewan on Wikipedia: downstream from Lake Diefenbaker on Hwy 15
  • 10 Riverhurst Riverhurst on Wikipedia: on the eastern shore of Lake Diefenbaker on Hwy 42, home of the Riverhurst ferry
  • 11 Whitecap Whitecap Dakota First Nation on Wikipedia: within the Whitecap Dakota First Nation on Hwy 219; 26 km (16 mi) south of Saskatoon

Other destinations[edit]

Get in[edit]

The best way to access the area is by car. Lake Diefenbaker is 1 hour south of Saskatoon and 2 hours northwest of Regina, the locations of the two nearest airports. The area can be accessed from Highway 11 via Highway 44 at Davidson or Highway 15 at Kenaston. Highway 219 provides an alternative access from Saskatoon, while Highway 42 links to Highway 2 near Moose Jaw.

Get around[edit]

Car is essential because the large, sparsely populated area. Lake crossings are minimal, with bridges at Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park (Highway 4 north of Swift Current), the Gardiner Dam (Highway 44), and Outlook (Highway 15); a free ferry crosses the lake at Riverhurst.


  • 1 Gardiner Dam (Hwy 44 over the South Saskatchewan River (Lake Diefenbaker)). The third largest embankment dam in Canada and one of the largest embankment dams in the world. Gardiner Dam (Q398981) on Wikidata Gardiner Dam on Wikipedia
  • 2 Qu'Appelle River Dam (1 km from Hwy 19 over the Qu'Appelle River). The third largest embankment dam in Canada and one of the largest embankment dams in the world. Qu'Appelle River Dam (Q1567085) on Wikidata Qu'Appelle River Dam on Wikipedia
  • 3 Riverhurst Ferry, Hwy 42. 1.5 km (0.93 mi) cable ferry across Lake Diefenbaker, operated by the Saskatchewan Department of Highways and Transportation. Riverhurst Ferry (Q7338226) on Wikidata Riverhurst Ferry on Wikipedia



  • 1 Dakota Dunes Casino, 204 Dakota Dunes Way, Whitecap. 84,000 sq ft facility includes a casino (with 500 slot machines, 14 table games), multi-purpose rooms, and restaurant. Dakota Dunes Casino (Q5210009) on Wikidata Dakota Dunes Casino on Wikipedia



  • Saskatchewan Landing Trails. 3 separate hiking trails in Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park.
  • Beechy Sandcastles and Sunken Hill (7.2 km W of Beechy on Hwy 342, then 29 km S on Howendale Road), +1-306-859-2205. Inquire before travel.


  • Chief Whitecap Waterway. Part of the Great Trail (Trans-Canada Trail), you can paddle 100 km (62 mi) the South Saskatchewan River between the Gardiner Dam and Saskatoon with various start and end points.
  • Prairie Lake Vacations, Riverhurst, SK (Departures adjacent to Hwy 42 near the Riverhurst Ferry - East Crossing), +1-306-796-7375. Rentals for Lake Diefenbaker on a tour boat, houseboat, pontoon boat or fishing boat.



  • Birsay Kitchen, Birsay (located at the intersection of Hwys 373 & 646 in Birsay), +1 306-573-2106. Home-cooked meals and pizzas, ice cream, and cinnamon buns.


  • Terrace Dining Room, 109 King Street, Broderick (from Hwy 15, S on Wilkinson Ave, W on King St), +1 306-867-2216. Steak house; highlighted on City TV’s The Prairie Diner. $10 - $25.

Central Butte[edit]

  • April’s Diner, 231 Main St, Central Butte, +1-306-796-2220.


  • Back Home Bakery and Deli, 431 Saskatchewan St, Elbow, +1 306-854-2244.


  • Cafe Mondo, 214 Franklin St, Outlook, +1 306-867-2888.


  • 1 Wolf Willow Winery (20 km (12 mi) north of Outlook), +1 306-867-9463. Saskatchewan's newest winery, producing wines from their own orchards, tours available.


Palliser Regional Park near Riverhurst

Camping is the recommended form of accommodation, with facilities available at the provincial parks (Danielson, Douglas, and Saskatchewan Landing), regional parks, as well as privately own campgrounds. There are also a few cabin rentals and B&B options.

  • Birsay Campground, Birsay, +1 306-858-7169. Fully serviced sites with picnic tables also come complete with electricity, water and sewer and a portable washroom for tenters.
  • Elbow Sunset Suites & RV Park, Elbow, +1 306-854-2144. Fully serviced RV sites (30 & 50 amp service) as wells one bedroom self contained units available. Short-term and seasonal stays.
  • 1 Hitchcock's Hideaway Camping Resort, Birsay (14 km (8.7 mi) east of Birsay on Hitchcock Bay), +1 306-573-4446, toll-free: +1-877-442-6259, . Fully serviced RV and park model sites along with two cabin rentals.
  • Lakeside RV Park, Elbow, SK, +1 306-221-0740, . Short stay and seasonal RV camping. All the sites are fully serviced with electricity, water and sewer, and come complete with firepits and picnic tables.
  • Loreburn Campground, Loreburn, +1 306-230-1097. 12 fully serviced sites that include power, water and sewer hook-up. Laundry facilities and internet service are available.
  • 2 Palliser Regional Park (10 km west of Riverhurst), +1 306-353-4604. Contains about 270 campsites, hotel, golf course (9 holes), outdoor pool and kids pool (supervised) and a marina. The vast shoreline offers beach options (unsupervised). Palliser Regional Park (Q7127918) on Wikidata Palliser Regional Park on Wikipedia
  • 3 Camp Wolf Willow, Outlook (15 km (9.3 mi) north of Outlook on the South Saskatchewan River), +1 306-867-8314, . Features solar-powered, furnished teepees on raised cedar floors, on sites equipped with firepits and picnic tables. There are also sites to bring your own tent or RV. Accessible to the Whitecap Waterway.

Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

Routes through Outlook
ENDRosetown  W  E  → Jct N SMelville

This rural area travel guide to Lake Diefenbaker is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.