Lake Diefenbaker is huge, and the area that surrounds it encompasses dozens of communities, highways and attractions. When you’re planning your trip we really do suggest you plan a drive to take it all in. If this is your first trip to the lake its size might surprise you. There are two ways to get across Lake Diefenbaker and it’s worth noting where to find them.
You can take the ferry that travels between the Village of Lucky Lake on the west side and the Village of Riverhurst on the east side. The Riverhurst Ferry is cable operated and the largest ferry in Saskatchewan. It’s part of the provincial highway system and is how Highway 42 crosses Lake Diefenbaker. The ferry is free of tolls and operates 24 hours a day, with an hourly crossing departing from the east bank on the hour and the west bank on the half-hour. The ferry operates during the ice-free season; during the winter months the Ministry of Highways maintains an ice road across the lake. There are periods during freeze up and thaw when the ice road will be impassable and the ferry will not be operating. The ice road itself will only be open if the thickness of the ice is within safety margins. Visitors are advised to call the Highway Hotline for up to the minute information before planning to cross. (1-888-335-7623)
The other method to cross the lake can be found by simply driving across Highway 44. The Highway is adjacent to Gardiner Dam and bisects the northern edge of Lake Diefenbaker and the South Saskatchewan River and will take you from one side to the other.
On the Lake
If you’re going to get out on the water (and we highly recommend that you do so) just be aware that you’ll have roughly 500 square miles to play around on with countless little coulees and channels to explore. Make sure you’re confident of your route and can find your way back.