Never mind heading south. Who needs a tropical vacation when you live in a winter paradise? Don’t miss your chance to explore some of Alberta’s parks this winter.
Always check with the park or campground in advance to see what services are available, apply for fishing and backcountry camping licences, and pack enough gear for all weather conditions, as circumstances can change quickly. The best way to start an unforgettable adventure is by being properly prepared!
Crimson Lake Provincial Park
16 kilometers northwest of Rocky Mountain House.
Discover Crimson Lake (named for its brilliant sunsets) as you loop around the 10 kilometer Amerada Trail. Take a break on the benches or shelters that line the trail and offer a scenic view of the frozen lake, or visit the playground. After hiking, fishing, snowshoeing or skiing, make camp at one of the winter campsites. Amenities include: Winter camping/Powered campsites/Pit/Vault winter toilets/ Fire pits and picnic areas.
Castle Provincial Park
Explore this park in southwest Alberta on snowshoes and experience Alberta winter in all its glory as you discover snowladeb landscapes of stunning mountains, and montane meadows. Syncline Cross-Country Ski Area has packed and classic tracked ski trails, between the South Castle and West Castle rivers. Join Alberta Park Staff for snowshoeing under the starlit sky with a guide (Snowshoes and red headlamps are provided). After your adventure try winter camping. Make sure you bring your own locally purchased firewood, (or cut your own with a Castle Tree Cutting Permit), and drinking water!
Lakeland Provincial Park
Lac La Biche
Try to spot finches and crossbills in winter, enjoy cross-country skiing at 30 km groomed ski trails, ice fishing and more at this park. Alberta Parks & Lac La Biche Ski Club holds Moonlight Night Ski & Moon and Star Gazing Tours where one can ski, walk, or snowshoe in the moonlight and enjoy a night outdoors! No winter camping.
Whitehorse Wildland Provincial Park
Yellowhead County, adjacent to Jasper National Park
Ph: 780 865 8395
Nestled amongst the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, this protected area is over 42,000 square acres. Mountain views, birdwatching, and wildlife sightings of grizzly bears, cougars, bighorn sheep and harlequin ducks. Wear your sturdiest hiking boots, snowshoes, or bring your horse to ride through the trails. Get back to wild nature with backcountry hiking and camping.
Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park
12 km north from the town of Slave Lake
Ph: 780 849 7100
Head to the Boreal Center for Bird Conservation, which also doubles as the visitor center in winter. If you don’t have your own pair of skis or snowshoes, you can borrow them here! The park has over 18 kilometres of groomed ski trails, forested areas and snow covered fields for snowshoeing. If you’d rather sit and catch your dinner, carve a hole in the ice and grill your fish over a crackling fire. No winter camping available.
Willmore Wilderness Park
Near Grande Cache.
Ph: 780 865 8395
Icy glaciers, rugged mountain tops, fast moving rivers and over 750 kms of trails spread out over 4500 acres of wilderness. Take a deep breath of cool, winter air as you explore rocky summits or snow covered valleys. Snowshoe through the Resthaven icefield and marvel at how the mountains were shaped over time.
Dinosaur Provincial Park
48 km northeast of Brooks
Ph: 403 378 4342
Stunning hoodoos and towering rocky spires make up the geography at this Unesco World Heritage Site. Bring the family to explore the many educational and theater programs offered at the visitor center, shop in the gift shop, hike the trails, or play in the playground. The park offers guided hikes throughout the winter, although participants must be over the age of 10. Amenities: Visitor Center, gift shop, payphone, wifi/Powered winter campsites/ Pit/Vault toilets in campground/ No water.
Cypress Hills Provincial Park
Ph: 403 893 3833
Wake up early for fiery red, pink and orange winter sunrises, or stay up late to maybe catch a glimpse of glowing green Aurora Borealis in this dark sky preserve. Ride the chairlift to the top of Hidden Valley Ski Resort, race down a snow luge track, skate, snowshoe, ice fish or hike. With a variety of powered and unpowered campsites to choose from, or hotels in Elkwater, this park is the perfect destination for your winter adventure. Amenities include Visitor center, Winter recreation rentals (skies, snowshoes, GPS equipment, fishing gear), Washrooms and showers, Powered winter campsites, Fire pits. Cypress Hill Park
Eagle Point Provincial Park
If you’ve ever wanted to test your skills with a bow and arrow, the Brazeau Bowbenders archery Club is ready to show you the ropes with their fully equipped indoor and outdoor ranges, as well as forested archery trails. If you’d rather try another winter sport, head to the Pembina Nordic Ski center for groomed cross country ski trails with view of the Pembina River.
Writing on Stone Provincial Park
100 Kms southeast of Lethbridge
Ph:” 403 647 2364
Writing on Stone is a national historic site. It’s of special significance to the Blackfoot (Niitsitapi) people, as it contains the largest concentrations of rock carvings and rock paintings in North America. Marvel at the ancient petroglyphs and pictographs as you contemplate the awe inspiring history of Alberta. If camping isn’t your thing, there are a number of nearby hotels and B & B’s in Milk River, ready to accommodate your visit. Amenities include Visitor center (by appointment in winter), Picnic shelters, Fire pits
Winter camping (powered).
Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
90 Kms west of Calgary, Kananaskis County
Ph: 403 678 0760
A model for all other provincial parks, Peter Lougheed Park is completely accessible to anyone with mobility issues, with over 20 kms of accessible trails and specialty wheelchair and equipment rentals. The William Watson Lodge has 22 accessible cabins, and 11 full service campsites. Amenities include: Camp store, Ski and snowshoe rentals, Picnic shelters, Fire pits
water, showers, walk in camping and powered winter campsites, Cabins
Crescent Falls Provincial Recreation Area
22 Kms west of Nordeg
Ph: 403 721 3975
Hike the 2.5 km trail and emerge into the Bighorn River Valley gorge. Huge layers of sedimentary rock showcase Crescent falls and the Bighorn River. At the end of the hiking trail is a lookout area with a railing that juts out into the river valley for stunning views. No winter camping, however there are several campgrounds nearby.
Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park
Bow River, Kananaskis County
403 678 5500
Towering 2240 meters above sea level, the solid rock face of the Yamnuska (wall of stone) Mountain is famous as a landmark and also as a climbing spot, with over a hundred trails just on the mountain itself. Heart Mountain, Wind Mountain, and the Three Sisters mountains are nearby, making this park and ideal destination for anyone who loves the Rocky Mountains, or any kind of hiking or snowshoeing.
Beauvais Lake Provincial Park
Ph: 403 627 1165
Take your dog skiing at Beauvais Lake, dogs are allowed on all of the groomed ski trails. Afterward, ski, hike, or snowshoe through untouched powder to your winter camp spot in the trees, with views of the frozen lake. Enjoy winter fishing at Beauvais Lake and camp at the park.
Aspen Beach Provincial Park
Ph: 403 748 4066
Aspen beach was established in 1932 as Alberta’s very first provincial park. Famous for ice fishing at Gull Lake (the park is located on the south shore of Gull Lake), its beautiful beaches and shallow waters, the lake is an accessible spot to enjoy a winter walk over the boardwalks and around the frozen lake surface. Perfect for day trips if you are looking to get out of the city and spend the day playing in a natural setting!
Miquelon Lake Provincial Park
Ph: 780 672 7274
Warm up around a crackling winter fire as you search the night sky for the Aurora Borealis and constellations in this dark sky preserve. Miquelon Lake is the perfect place to enjoy winter camping, or host your family reunion in the Aspen Center, which is equipped with a full kitchen and washrooms. Bring the dogs and hit the trails for Skijoring, snow shoeing, skating, or skiing.
Carson Pegasus Provincial Park
Ph: 780 778 2664
Bring the binoculars to catch a glimpse of woodpeckers, black capped chickadees, loons and many other types of birds. The park is also home to deer, lynx, muskrats, beavers, coyotes and bears. Bundle up for snowshoeing, ice fishing or snowmobiling on McLeod Lake.
Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area
Enjoy excellent wildlife viewing, dog sledding and skijoring at the Blackfoot Lake Staging Area, fat biking, snowmobiling, and cross country skiing across 35 kilometres of groomed trail at the site of the annual Canadian Birkebeiner Ski Festival.
Pigeon Lake Provincial Park
Between Leduc County and Wetaskiwin
Pigeon Lake Provincial Park is an ideal winter getaway with snow covered hills, pine trees, an expansive lake, and all of the amenities you could need. Glide over 12 kms of ski trails groomed by the Pigeon Lake Nordic Ski Cub, and then head to the Village at Pigeon Lake for a steaming cup of hot chocolate at the Eco Café. The Village has many restaurants, cafes, a pharmacy and a gas station. Powered Winter campsites are available at the park.
Vermilion Provincial Park
Spend the night at the powered campsites after a long day of winter activities in the Vermilion River valley. Enjoy cross country skiing, fat-biking through snow covered oxbow lakes, or spend the day ice fishing at the lake. You can also join Vermilion Nordic Ski Club for various programs including Full Moon Ski.
William A Switzer Provincial Park
Between Grande Cache and Hinton
780 865 8395
Imagine soaring, snow covered mountain tops in the distance as you enjoy hiking in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Explore several lakes, winter camping and backcountry camping. Snowshoe over untouched snowy meadows while gazing at mountain peaks in the distance. Visit the Hinton Nordic center and ski over 35 kms of groomed trails, and visit the rustic lodge. Skate on any of the lakes in Switzer Park, snowshoe on Friendly Vista Trail and camp at Gregg Lake Campground or
Jarvis Lake Campground.
Canmore Nordic Center Provincial Park
403 678 2400
The Canmore Nordic Center was built to celebrate everything that winter is, indoor and out. A wheelchair accessible training center with a waxing room, work tables and power outlets, gym, athletic facilities, meeting rooms and event rooms ensure you’re every event or training need is taken care of. Outdoors, try the skating rink, biathlon, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, fat biking or winter disc golf.
Spray Valley Provincial Park
403 678 0760
Try dog sledding at Spray Valley Provincial Park or camp at the Rummel Lake Winter backcountry campground among the pines, and relax around your campfire with views of Mount Galatea and Rummel Lake. Breathe in the cold mountain air as you play outside in the snow, watch for wildlife, or grill your dinner over a flame.
Pierre Grey’s Lakes Provincial Parks
37 Km East of Grande Cache
Ph: 780 827 7393
Pierre Grey’s Lakes Provincial Park is named after a Metis man named Pierre Gris, who operated a trading post in the 1880’s and 90’s, along with his wife, Anne. The park is home to five beautiful lakes, two of which are stocked with Rainbow trout, and one with Brook trout. Hiking trails, picnic spots, and 15 kms of groomed ski trails amongst pine trees, in the Rocky Mountain foothills.
Sheep River Provincial Park
23 Km west of Turner Valley
Ph: 403 678 0760
Sheep River provincial park is over 15 00 acres of stunning mountain scenery and a natural habitat of bighorn sheep. Bring your skis and explore the 37 Kms of groomed Ski trails through alpine forests, past jutting rocky ridges and snow-capped mountains. Amenities include: Sheep River Administration and Info Center (washrooms, wifi), Picnic Shelters, Pit/Vault toilets
Two Lakes Provincial Park
142 Km south of Grande Prairie
Ph: 780 538 5350
Watch (from a distance) as a herd of elk travels through the snow. Hike or snowshoe around the trails and snow covered meadows between the lakes, or hike upwards for views of the lakes. Ice fish for trout on the frozen lake, and stop for a winter picnic and hot chocolate at one of the picnic shelters before driving home for the night. No winter camping
Kinbrook Island Provincial Park
South of Brooks.
Ph: 403 378 4342
If you’d like to stay closer to the prairies, the beautiful recreation area around Newell Lake might be for you. Snowshoe or ski on the trails at the edge of the lake, skate, or ice fish. Unlike most Provincial Parks, alcohol is permitted in individual campsites, so you can wind down after a day of outdoor activities with a hot cup of mulled wine, good friends and a crackling campfire. Amenities include:
Winter campsites, Fire pits, Firewood for sale, Pit/Vault toilets, Picnic Shelters, Playground
For more details visit Alberta Parks.
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