Alberta Parks Home

Common Questions

  • Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities

    Question: What disabled accessible facilities are available in Alberta's parks?

    Answer:

    • William Watson Lodge in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park provides accommodation for Albertans with disabilities in accessible cabins and campsites. It also has barrier-free trails for hiking and cross-country skiing, barrier-free picnic sites and barrier-free fishing areas.
    • Disabled access campsites are identified on Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca.  Select Disabled Access under "Amenities - Campsite" when searching. Check our full list of disabled accessible campsites available for online reservation. 
    • Disabled accessibility is indicated on the campground page (e.g. Miquelon Lake Campground), including any additional information in the notes. 
    • Alberta Parks is currently performing accessibility audits in parks to determine if trails, facilities, day use areas and experiences are accessible. The data collected helps identify the need for infrastructure updates in high use areas. The auditing process also supports the creation of an inventory of accessible experiences to share with visitors. 
    • Motorized personal mobility devices (motorized wheelchairs, electric mobility scooters, etc.) are allowed on any trails in parks.
    • Service dogs are welcome in parks (including in park facilities) as long as they are on a leash. 
    • Inclusion & Accessibility has more information on our efforts to remove barriers, support inclusion and increase capacity.

  • Backcountry Camping

    Question: How do I book a backcountry campsite?

    Answer:

  • Bear-Proof Food Lockers & Poles

    Question: Where can I find bear-proof food lockers & poles to use while cycling or backcountry hiking?

    Answer:

    Secure Food StorageThis is the icon for secure food storage (bear-proof food lockers and poles).  

    Use "secure food storage" as the search term for Find A Park to see a list of campgrounds where this is available.

    The icon also displays on the Camping page for each campground which offers secure food storage (e.g. Quaite Valley Backcountry or Canyon Campground).

  • Campground Phone Numbers

    Question: How can I contact a specific campground?

    Answer:

    • Campground phone numbers lists all the information numbers.
    • This phone number may connect to a Visitor Information Centre, or a facility operator or an Alberta Parks office.  (The Government of Alberta owns all provincial campgrounds but contracts out some campground operations and services.)
    • The "Information & Facilities" page for each park include an information number (near the top under the name in green font), e.g. Williamson Provincial Park.  
    • To access the "Information & Facilities" page for a campground, type the name into the "Search" function in Find A Park and then click on the park name. 

  • Camping Fees

    Question: How much does camping cost?

    Answer:

    • The basic overnight camping fee ranges from $5 to $26 per night (fee guidelines).
    • Campground managers set fees within this range based on local market conditions.
    • Additional fees of up to $7 per night are charged for each of the following: pressurized water hook-ups, electrical hook-ups, sewer hook-ups, non-coin operated showers and horse corrals.
    • There is a non-refundable $12 reservation fee for online reservations.
    • The "Camping" page for a specific park shows the rate per night at each campground (e.g. Beauvais Lake Campground or Bow Valley Provincial Park).
    • To access the "Camping" page for a campground, type the name into the "Search" function in Find A Park and then click on the "Facility" name. If there is more than one campground in the park, click on "Camping" in the left hand navigation list for a summary of all them.

  • Camping Reservations

    Question: Where can I get info about reserving a campsite?

    Answer:

  • Concerns or Complaints

    Question: What if I have a complaint, concern or compliment?

    Answer:

    What if I have a complaint about another visitor?

    • Report concerns about other visitors to a conservation officer, the campground operator or other staff as soon as possible. If we observe the issue/behaviour occurring, then we’re better able to respond appropriately.
    • Many parks have a 24-hour help line, with a local phone number posted at key locations like registration booths and information kiosks.     
    • If there's an emergency, call 9-1-1.

    What if I have a concern or compliment about a staff or volunteer?

    • Speak with the park manager, conservation officer in charge of the park or campground operator.
    • Provide feedback by completing the Contact Us form or calling 1-866-427-3582 during office hours
    • Many parks have comments cards for visitors to use.  These can either be mailed postage-paid or handed in at a campground registration booth, information centre or park office.

    What if I have a concern or compliment about a campground operator?

    • The Government of Alberta owns all provincial campgrounds.  However, we contract out some campground operations and services to private sector contractors, local community groups and municipalities.
    • Our operating contracts ensure that contracted campgrounds are managed to the same standards as provincially-run sites.
    • Complete the Contact Us form or call 1-866-427-3582 to provide feedback. 
    • Comments cards are available at many parks.  They can be mailed postage-paid to our provincial office or submitted at the park.

  • Cross-Country Skiing

    Question: Where can I get trail reports and other cross-country ski info?

    Answer:

    • Check Trail Reports for info on conditions and trail maps at several parks.
    • Our cross-country skiing section has lots of great info including profiles of six ski centres. 
      • Kananaskis Country has many ski trails for all levels of skiers.  
      • The world-class Canmore Nordic Centre is located just outside Canmore.
      • Close to Edmonton, check out Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area.
      • Vermilion Provincial Park has a great cross-country ski trail system and is about 2 hours east of Edmonton. 
      • Hinton Nordic Centre is located in William A. Switzer Provincial Park. 
      • Cypress Hills Provincial Park has cross-country trails - and lots of other winter activities.
    • We have other great areas to ski too!
      • In the Southwest, try Beauvais Lake Provincial Park near Pincher Creek or Chinook Provincial Recreation Area in the Crowsnest Pass. Check the Allison-Chinook ski report by Crowsnest Pass Cross Country Ski Association.
      • Central Alberta has plenty of kilometres of cross-country ski trails suitable for all ski levels and techniques and  Enjoy an afternoon skiing along the shoreline at Miquelon Lake Provincial Park or wind through the 20 km of backcountry trails. You can even do skijoring here (skiing with dogs)! Miquelon is located about an hour from Edmonton or 40 minutes from Camrose. Pigeon Lake Provincial Park is also very close to Edmonton - about 1.5 hours south.  The park has 10 km of groomed cross-country ski trails - great for beginners but also a relaxing ski opportunity for more advanced skiers.  Check the Pigeon Lake Nordic Ski Club's cross-country ski trail condition updates.
      • Cross-country ski trails in Lakeland Provincial Park are located in the Shaw Lake area, about a 20 minute drive from Lac La Biche.
    • To find other parks with cross-country skiing opportunities, check "XC Skiing" in Find a Park.

  • Directions & Maps

    Question: How can I get directions to a park? What about maps?

    Answer:

    • Every park has a "Maps & Directions" page, e.g. Crimson Lake Provincial Park.  At the top of the map, type your departure point into the box and click "Get directions".
    • Below the map on the "Maps & Directions" page, there is a linked list of the maps for that park.
    • To access the "Maps & Directions" page for a park, type the name into the "Search" function in Find A Park and click on the name.  Then choose "Maps & Directions", the first choice in left hand navigation list.
    • All maps included on AlbertaParks.ca are found in our Library.

  • Equipment & People Permitted on Campsites

    Question: How many people and pieces of equipment are allowed on a campsite?

    Answer:

    Equipment

    • The total number of cars, trucks, tents, recreational vehicles and trailers allowed on a campsite in a provincial campground is 3 (with only 2 used as accommodation units).
    • If two tents are used as sleeping quarters, two cars/trucks might be allowed on the campsite if it is large enough.  That decision is made by the campground manager.  (There may be a charge for the second tent.)
    • The camping fee is usually charged for a second accommodation unit on a campsite.  However, if the second accommodation unit is a tent and there's only one motor vehicle registered to the site, no additional fee is charged for the tent.  Our infographic shows when a fee is is charged for a second unit.  
    • A campsite must be large enough to accommodate the maximum number of allowable units.  Depending on a campsite's design and dimensions, a campground manager may decide that only one camping accommodation unit is permitted.

    Definitions/Equivalencies

    • An accommodation unit is defined as a tent, tent trailer, trailer, fifth wheel, motorhome, or van or truck camper used by a person as shelter equipment while camping. 
    • Two motorcycles or 2 bicycles are considered to be one motor vehicle.

    People

    • There can’t be more than 6 people staying on a campsite unless they're all members of the same “non-extended” family (i.e. parents and dependent children). 

  • Fee Increases

    Question: Why are fees increasing?

    Answer:

    • Some fees for Alberta Parks services are increasing on July 14, 2016.  The fees for campsite water hook-ups, sewer hook-ups, non-coin-operated showers and equestrian corrals are increasing by $1 each.
    • These modest fee increases are in line with other jurisdictions. Camping in Alberta remains an affordable experience.
    • See Fee Guidelines for a full listing of provincial camping fees.
    • All revenues generated through the fee increases will be invested back into provincial parks.
    • Alberta's parks are in need of additional revenue to support the quality standards Albertans and visitors from around the world have come to expect.

  • Fire Bans & Restrictions

    Question: Where can I find out about fire bans?

    Answer:

    We provide notification of both fire bans and fire advisories in provincial parks.

    • A fire ban is imposed for an extreme fire hazard.
    • A fire restriction is imposed for a high fire hazard.

    Check Fire Bans & Restrictions for details about what is prohibited and permitted under a fire ban or restriction.  You can view current bans and restrictions either on a map or by "List View".  A fire ban or restriction is also displayed on individual park webpages.

    AlbertaFireBans.ca is the website for fire bans and advisories for the whole province.

  • Firewood

    Question: How do I get firewood at a park?

    Answer:

    Firewood Sold This icon means that firewood is sold.  Sometimes firewood is sold from a central location, either in the park or in the area.  In other locations, a contractor delivers wood at scheduled times.  Authorized suppliers provide firewood at Alberta's parks. Firewood prices at parks vary due to transportation costs and the supplier's source.

    Firewood Available This icon means that firewood is available at the campground.  A surcharge is usually added to each overnight camping fee for this service.  To locate parks offering firewood this way, check "Firewood Available" in the Camping list in Find a Park.

    The Information & Facilities page for a specific campground indicates how firewood is provided (e.g. Brewer's Campground or Chambers Creek Campground). 

    You can also bring firewood with you to use but please

    • Do not transport elm firewood into Alberta (because of Dutch elm disease).
    • Do not transport pine firewood if it’s known to be infested by live mountain pine beetles.
    • Respect the health and enjoyment of adjacent campers by using clean wood (not painted or otherwise pressure/chemically treated).
    • Ensure that wood is cut to short lengths so a fire can be contained within the provided fire receptacles.
    • Be prepared with alternate ways of cooking and staying warm in case a fire ban or restriction is implemented.

  • Fishing License

    Question: Where can I buy a fishing license?

    Answer:

  • Getting a Campsite

    Question: How can I best ensure I get a campsite?

    Answer:

    Reservations online or 1-877-537-2757.  

    • Reservations for individual campsites can be made up to 90 days in advance of the arrival date.  Group camping area and comfort camping reservations can be made for the entire camping season, starting on opening day in February.
    • The campground reservation vacancy calendar shows reservation availability within the "reservation window" for individual campsites.  The calendar is updated hourly during reservation season.  
    • If there are no campsites available when you first try to reserve on Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca, check back occasionally. Changes and cancellations often happen. 
    • Check other reservation tips.
    • Some campgrounds not on the online reservation service take phone reservations directly. Please call the campground office to reserve phone-in only reservation campgrounds

    First come-first served

    • Many campgrounds have some first come-first served campsites and some campgrounds are "first come-first served" only.
    • First come-first served lists all campgrounds and the number campsites that are first come-first served.

    Better availability

    • Availability is generally better
      • Mid-Week: Mondays to Thursdays  (Check our Midweek Camping Promotion.)
      • Spring (May & June) and Fall (September & October) - not including long weekends
    • Phone 1-866-427-3582 during regular office hours for suggestions regarding lesser-used provincial campgrounds.

  • Picnic Sites

    Question: Where can I find information on picnic sites?

    Answer:

    • "Day use" is a term that includes picnicking sites. 
    • Some day use areas include amenities like picnic tables, firepits or picnic shelters. Others, for example, offer only parking for trailheads.
    • No overnight camping is allowed at any day use area.
    • A few provincial parks are day use-only (e.g. Glenbow Ranch and Lois Hole Centennial). Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park and Fish Creek Provincial Park are day use-only sites with extensive facilties and services.
    • Natural Areas are day use-only sites; most have no facilities or services.  Some offer very basic facilities such as a parking areas and privies.
    • To see day use areas

  • Refunds

    Question: What are the rules around refunds?

    Answer:

    A refund is NOT given for weather, wildlife, insects, water quality, air quality, fire bans, liquor bans, car trouble, getting lost, advisories (with the exception of a campground closure), or in the case of an eviction.

    Why don't I get my reservation fee back when I cancel a reservation?

    • Reservation fees are retained to help offset the cost of providing reservation services.
    • Most provincial park agencies in Canada charge a non-refundable reservation fee.

    How long will it take to receive my refund?

    • Eligible refunds are processed as quickly as possible, usually within two weeks.
    • The refund is applied to the credit card used to make the original reservation.
    • For possible refunds, keep depleted prepaid cards even after expiry.

    Refunds will be made

    For more information on refunds, call the Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-537-2757.

  • Self-Registration

    Question: How does self-registration at a campground work?

    Answer:

    • Find an available campsite when you arrive at the campground. Ensure that the campsite is First Come-First Served (not reservable). If a campsite is reservable and unoccupied, either call the Contact Centre at 1-877-537-2757 to check availability or register at the campground booth.
    • For a First Come-First Served campsite, follow the instructions posted at the self-registration vault.
    • If there is no self-registration vault available, register the campsite through the campground booth or by calling the Contact Centre at 1-877-537-2757.
    • At a self-registration vault, you can pay for your campsite with cash or a personal cheque (payable to "Government of Alberta"). 
    • Credit card and debit payments are accepted at campground booths and via the Contact Centre for those campgrounds that are reservable through Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca.
    • Please follow the directions provided at the campground through signage.

  • Senior Discounts

    Question: Do seniors get a discount on camping fees at provincial parks?

    Answer:

    • Some campgrounds offer senior discounts for people aged 65 or older. Age verification may be required at check-in.
    • Where available, the senior discount is usually $2 per night.  Some campgrounds offer a $1 per night discount.
    • You do not need to be an Albertan to qualify for a senior discount.
    • For campgrounds offering a senior discount that take online reservations, the senior discount is applied at check-in. A senior discount cannot be applied when the reservation is made.  

  • Washrooms & Running Water

    Question: Why don't all provincial campgrounds have running water, flush toilets and shower facilities? And why are outdoor toilets so smelly?!

    Answer:

    Why don't all provincial campgrounds have running water, flush toilets and shower facilities?

    • Providing running water is not feasible in some parks.  It's very expensive to install and maintain running water in campgrounds so that's a major factor in determining whether the service is provided.
    • In some campgrounds water is hauled in. In other sites, it is pumped from a lake or other source, then treated and stored in a cistern.
    • As funding becomes available, we continue to upgrade washroom and shower facilities at campgrounds where running water is feasible.

    Why are some toilets so smelly?

    • By their nature, outdoor toilets tend to smell. Hot summer temperatures make the situation worse by causing more gas to be released from the contents of holding tanks.
    • To minimize odours, toilets are cleaned and holding tanks emptied regularly.
    • Visitors can help by closing toilet lids. This allows gases to be released through the outside vents on toilet buildings.

  • Weddings & Other Special Events

    Question: Can I hold my wedding or reunion at a provincial park?

    Answer:

    • A special event permit is usually required to hold your wedding, reunion or other special event at a provincial park.
    • Check Special Events for more details and links to the special event permit application forms.
    • You may want to use a group camping area as part of your special event.  You should have your event approval before committing to a reservation so we recommend applying for a permit early.
    • For information on holding your event in a specific park or to apply for a permit
      1. Check the Park Research & Management page for the park (e.g. Aspen Beach or Hilliard's Bay).
      2. Note the Regional or District Office (Red Deer District in the case of Aspen Beach and Northwest Region for Hilliard's Bay).
      3. Find that office contact in the list of permit contacts

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