All Alberta-natives know that Alberta is home to some of the vastest, serene, and nature loving campgrounds around. Deep blue lakes, gigantic mountains, busy wildlife and relaxing beaches are just some of the reasons why you should consider Alberta for your next camping getaway.
Some grounds, for example, have specific check-in times, and some do not allow fires.
In order to make the best of your trip, it’s always good to be prepared. After you’ve done that, it’s time to start planning!
So pack your bag and let’s take a trip through the Albertan wilderness, visiting our picks for the best campgrounds in Alberta:
1. Banff National Park:
Canada’s oldest National Park (established in 1885) and the world’s third oldest park, is located in the Rocky Mountains about 180 km west of Calgary.
Banff National Park is known for its interesting landscapes, glass blue lakes, and of course the mountains that surround it. This park is massive and has many campgrounds situated within it that are tailored to different camping preferences.
Because of its size, there are endless things to do in this park: hike up the Rockies, take a horseback riding trip, discover some grizzly bears, shop around the trading post at Lake Louise or try your hand at catching some trout!
Banff is also known for its white water rafting, so if you’re looking for a thrilling adventure, definitely try one of their whitewater rafting day trips.
2. Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park is located in the Canadian Rockies just north of Banff National Park and west of Edmonton, Alberta.
This is the largest National Park in the Canadian Rockies and is also probably the most famous in Canada. It is trademarked by huge glaciers, lakes and mountainous peaks, attracting people from all over the world to experience its majesty first hand.
Jasper National Park has 1700 powered and unpowered campsites on its grounds for visitors to use. Because of the size of this park, you will never run out of things to do.
Hiking is especially exciting in Jasper, its dynamic views and backcountry trails are second to none and many people come from all over the world to hike them. The world-renowned Columbia Icefields are another popular trail to hike, situated high up in the Rockies it’s a vast field of ice making it perfect to get those picturesque views.
Along with your hiking expeditions, don’t be surprised to come across some furry friends; caribou, grizzly bears, moose and wolves can be seen roaming around the rocky mountain trails.
Some other activities include canoeing on the placid lakes, skiing in Lake Louise, white water rafting, biking, mountain climbing and dog sledding in the winter. You can’t go wrong at Jasper National Park.
3. Dinosaur Campground:
This campground is located in Alberta’s Badlands in a valley near Red Deer River. It is said that this is where dinosaurs roamed back in the prehistoric day.
Dinosaur Campground is much different than the mountainous Jasper National Park, it has much lower terrain, barren valleys and has a general “ruggedness,” that you probably can’t get anywhere else.
Among other amenities, this site has a picnic area, walking trails, a playground, an amphitheatre and a monumental fossil display that’s quite popular with the kids.
Go on a hike along dried up rivers as you take in picturesque views of ancient landscapes and interesting erosions.
You won’t run out of things to do and maybe you’ll even find some dinosaur bones!
4. Wood Buffalo National Park:
Canada’s largest National Park is situated in Fort Smith (both in Alberta and the Northwest Territories) and has an area of 44,807 km.
Wood Buffalo National Park is home to some of the most breathtaking sights Canada has to offer.
The beautiful, blue lakes and sandy beaches are one of the main draws to this ground. The beach is also open for all day use and might I add, has some of the best sunsets you’ll ever have the chance see.
Take a dip in the pristine lakes, relax on the beach or explore the Peace-Athabasca Delta where millions of fauna can be seen in their natural habitat. Hear the howl of the wolves, watch the lynx roam and see the boreal birds and ducks nest for the summer.
Sites are nestled comfortably in the trees and if you prefer, cabins are available at Pine Lake Campsite.
Wood Buffalo Park was named after the herds of bison it arduously protects, so don’t be surprised if you catch glimpse of a bison or two!
5. Townsite Campground
The ground is equipped with six-person tents including amenities such as a stove, lantern, propane, and kitchen utensils.
You’ll never be bored here, you can hike along scenic trails, canoe in Waterton’s dazzling lakes or enjoy the scenic river that flows right in front of the campground!
Waterton Lakes National Park is also known for its millions of species of flora and fauna that can be seen at all hours of the day. Try bird watching, fishing in the lake or wildflower picking.
You could also head into Waterton Lakes Village, a small, charming hamlet that offers white linen to casual dining, lovely shops and more.
You’ll feel like you’re roughing it without feeling too rough around the edges.
6. Kananaskis Country
Kananaskis Country is a park situated to the west of Calgary at the front of the Canadian Rockies.
Not only are the Rockies right there for hiking and scenic views, but there are many other guided tours and activities organized by the park itself.
Descend into a 4km cave grotto and discover the mysterious secrets that await inside the mountain, travel by horseback along a guided trail, or even try white water rafting!
There are tons of activities at this ground making it perfect for families who are looking for a fun, stress-free getaway. This park also offers winter activities such as snowshoeing, dog sledding and ice walks along the Rocky Mountain landscape.
Kananaskis Country is home to many campsites that accommodate different camping styles, hotels are also available if you’re looking for something cozier.
7. Crimson Lake Provincial Park
Crimson Lake Provincial Park is located west of Rocky Mountain House, a small town near Red Deer, Alberta.
This ground has 170 fully powered campsites that are nestled deep within a forest of Aspen and Spruce trees.
In this park, the lake is the main attraction where you can enjoy a swim, relax at the beach or use the boat launch for power boating. Crimson Lake is known for its abundance of bird species.
If you’re a bird watcher you will most definitely appreciate the number of species available in this area, you may even spot an owl!
If swimming or boating is not your thing, you can canoe or kayak along the lakeside or even try your hand at beach volleyball.
And when the day is done, why not sit back, relax, and watch a fiery, red sunset which legend has it, gave Crimson Lake its name.
8. Willmore Wilderness Park
Willmore Wilderness Park is 4,600 sq. ft. and is situated adjacent to Jasper National Park.
Willmore Wilderness Park lives up to its name because it is truly in the wilderness. As a protected heritage site it’s “untouched,” which basically means it’s nature at its finest.
As you venture in, you will see ancient glaciers, rich forests and winding rivers that make Willmore Wilderness Park so iconic. This ground is perfect for those looking to explore the untamed territory and experience the wildness of Alberta backcountry.
Hiking is the most popular activity, but there is also horseback riding available.
Although the park does not contain regulated campsites, there are many places to stay around the park that offer lodging, tents and even bed and breakfast options.
9. Bow Valley Campground
Bow Valley Campground is 43 km west of Calgary and is near Bow Valley Provincial Park.
This campground rests at the foothills of the Rockies and is equipped with 39 campsites suited for RV’s and tents.
It’s located on the Bow River which is surrounded by majestic mountains and stunning views. Unlike other campgrounds, Bow Valley offers windsurfing and rock climbing among other activities that can be enjoyed by singles and families alike.
If you brought your fishing rod, you’ll be glad to know that Bow Valley is a mecca for fishing and fly fishing. Try casting a line in Bow River, Grotto Pond or Gap Lake and catch a trophy trout of your own.
If you’re feeling antsy, why not go on a hiking expedition following one of the many Bow Valley trails or if you’d rather not walk, go power boating on the lake.
This park also features an amphitheatre that provides family-friendly entertainment to campers. You’ll never have a dull moment at this ground!
10. Kinbrook Island Provincial Park
Kinbrook Island Provincial Park is an island located 13 km south of Brooks off Hwy 873. It is an island but is completely accessible by car.
This ground is equipped with 160 sites for RV’s and tents both powered and unpowered.
A vast waterfront lake is one the main draws of Kinbrook, with a functional sandy beach that welcomes both the sun and the shade.
On the beach, campers can be found sailing, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming. Surrounding the campsites is a thriving wetland with many species of birds making for great bird watching opportunities; if you look hard enough, you could even spot an American pelican.
Try hiking through the marsh trails and forests and be amongst the many different species of wildlife that roam Southern Alberta.
11. Elk Island National Park
Elk Island National Park is known as an “island of conservation” for wildlife and is situated 35 km east of Edmonton.
Elk Island National Park is home to many campsites, some which feature otentik‘s (a blend of a tent and an A-frame cabin equipped with beds and furniture on a raised floor).
This park acts as a refuge for many species of animal including bison, elk and over 250 species of birds. Because of the shallower incline, hiking trails are easier to walk than say in the Rockies, and you can bet you will see many flora and fauna along the way.
Elk Island has one of the most breathtaking night skies you will find. Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve ensures that artificial light and commercial light pollution does not interfere with the sky at the Beaver Hills Biosphere Reserve.
If you’re looking to do something more active, windsurfing or sailing are also popular activities at this park.
12. Lesser Slave Provincial Park
Lesser Slave Provincial Park is located in north-central Alberta and on the north-eastern shore of the Lesser Slave Lake.
This park has an interesting landscape. On one end are stormy beaches, ridges and deep dunes with a series of wetlands and marshes lining behind. On the other end is an abrupt rise in terrain to a 450m mountain, Marten mountain.
The most popular activity to do here is bird-watching, as a matter of fact, the Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory is world renowned for its boreal forest birds.
If you are a bird enthusiast look no further than this Provincial Park as it has some of the most head-turning and dynamic looking species of birds. And if birding isn’t your thing you can always try windsurfing, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, or just relax on the beach.
There’s also an amphitheatre providing family-friendly entertainment, and if that doesn’t do it for you, there’s even a golf course right in the park!