From the sand dunes reminiscent of the Sahara to the wet oasis of Devil's Punch Bowl - this hike offers a diversity rarely seen in one round trip. Starting in the sandy area, one has the chance to spot rare vegetation and animals, such as hognose snakes or pincushion cactus. The trail is easy to follow and well maintained - stay on the trail, though, since apparently, the army used to test mines in this region way back, and going off-trail is not recommended. You get to the river bank of the Assiniboine and hike some forested and desert-like landscapes. The highlights are Devil's Punch Bowl (a greenish oasis - bring bug spray!) and the Spirit Sands dunes, always shifting in the wind. There is water available on the trail to replenish your water bottles. I wouldn't attempt this hike in spring, since the Assiniboine often floods then, and the access roads will be cut off. I hiked it in early summer, so I have no experience for winter hiking here.
The trail was very well groomed. Firewood was well stocked and the cabins looked very nice. The water at cabin 4 was great though I would recommend taking something to flavour the water from cabins 2 and 3.
Access to Jackfish Lake would have been nice. Deadfall blocked the views and the area surrounding was very marshy. The short trails to the lake seemed not to be maintained despite great upkeep everywhere else.