Spending the summer camping in Alberta is a popular pastime for both locals and visitors. The Canadian province is home to a variety of landscapes: from the Rockies’ turquoise lakes to the Badlands’ hoodoos. Fortunately, there are also many campgrounds for easy exploration of these areas. Here are nine of the best campsites to visit in Alberta.
Two Jack Lakeside Campground
Banff National Park is home to 14 different campgrounds. But this campground at Two Jack Lake is located directly beside the lake. It’s a smaller campsite with only 64 sites, but campers can reserve sites from May until October. The campground is just 12 kilometers (seven miles) from Banff as well, so it’s a good base for exploring the Rockies in the summer.
Icefield Tent Campground
This campground is conveniently located just down the road from the Columbia Icefields in Jasper National Park. Most campsites offer glacier views, which is not something you’d normally wake up to every day. Exploring the icefields is the number one activity in the area, but the campground also has excellent access to some scenic hikes. Wilcox Pass Trail, Nigel Pass, and Parker Ridge are just a few of the nearby options.
Astotin Lake Campground
Located within Elk Island National Park and less than an hour from Edmonton, Astotin Lake Campground is a popular Alberta campsite. It’s easy to see why when it has easy access to the recreational activities—a soccer field, playground, golf course, and theater—that open in July and August. Astotin Lake is also located at Sandy Beach, which is known for its spectacular sunsets. Elk Island is Canada’s largest completely enclosed national park and is instrumental in American bison conservation.
Point Backcountry Campground
Campers must partake in an easy, and stunningly scenic, hike for three kilometers (1.8 miles) to get to this campsite within Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. But what awaits is a small 20-site campground beside the Upper Kananaskis Lake. Facilities at Point Backcountry Campground include firewood, pits, picnic tables, food storage lockers, and dry toilets. The lake is home to three types of trout: rainbow, cutthroat, and bull. Remember that you must have a fishing license before trying to catch dinner.
A completely different landscape compared to the Rockies, Dinosaur Campground is located in the Alberta Badlands, which is known for its rugged landscape, barren lands, and canyons. This campsite is within Dinosaur Provincial Park, and many of its 120 sites back onto a creek. It’s open year-round, and its facilities—such as the picnic area, outdoor fossil displays, playground, and walking trails—remain open all year as well. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site and see if you can spot your own fossil, as you camp within the world’s richest dinosaur fossil location.
Pine Lake Campground
Pine Lake Campground is the only road-accessed camping area within Wood Buffalo National Park, which is Canada’s largest national park. It is located in both Alberta and Northwest Territories, and Parks Canada says, “It protects an outstanding and representative example of Canada’s Northern Boreal Plains.” The campground is open from the long weekend in May to Labour Day in September. It also has a day-use area, which includes a lake, playground, and sandy beach for swimming.
Wood Buffalo National Park of Canada, +1 867 872 7960
Aptly named, Townsite Campground is situated within walking distance from Waterton’s amenities. From this base, it’s easy to explore the Waterton Lakes National Park and its many hikes, lakes, and other activities. The campground also has two equipped campsites (thanks to MEC), which include an already erected six-person tent, stove and propane, lantern, and kitchen utensils. When in town, ensure you check out the picturesque Prince of Wales Hotel, perched high overlooking Waterton Lakes.
Located in Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, this campground is a shaded (and semi-powered) site located in the Milk River Valley. Spend days swimming in the nearby Milk River, or relaxing on its sandy shore. The park is named because of the many Blackfoot people (a native tribe) rock drawings still visible today. Its landscape features sandstone cliffs and hoodoos. Recommendations while in the area include a Rock Art Tour, with a Blackfoot interpreter, and the Hoodoo Hike.
Crimson Lake Campground
A popular campsite for local families, Crimson Lake Provincial Park’s campground offers 170 powered sites, with easy access to the lake itself. The site includes a playground, boat launch, and store. When not swimming or enjoying the shallow beach, there’s a 10-kilometer (six-mile) trail that loops around Crimson Lake. The campground is open from May until early October, although there’s also the option of winter camping and swapping water skis for the cross-country variety.
Crimson Lake Provincial Park, Alhambra, AB, Canada, +1 403 845 2330