William Watson Lodge provides year-round, barrier-free, wilderness lodging for persons with disabilities, seniors and their families. It's situated in beautiful Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, overlooking Lower Kananaskis Lake. The goal of this facility is to connect people of all abilities, all ages and all cultures to recreational opportunities in nature.
After being closed for two years to accommodate renovations and accessibility upgrades, William Watson Lodge reopened in June 2022. We are pleased to share renovations are now complete and William Watson Lodge is fully open. The new lodge enhances the overall visitor experience and safety, and brings the facility up to today’s international accessibility standards. The Government of Alberta invested $6 million into the project.
All guests who make a booking at William Watson Lodge must provide verification of eligibility in person at the time of check-in.
William Watson Lodge defines a disability as:
Verification of Eligibility from a medical professional or association confirming the guest meets the above criteria is required prior to booking. Examples of documentation include but are not limited to:
To inquire about documentation that does not appear on this list, please call 1-403-591-7227.
Alberta seniors are required to present photo identification that verifies they are a resident aged 65 years or older.
Failure to provide documentation will result in loss of stay without a refund.
Albertans with permanent disabilities can make reservations 120 days in advance of their stay.
Albertan seniors (65 and over) and out-of-province persons with disability can make reservations 60 days in advance of their stay.
Upon arrival, guests are required to show documentation of eligibility.
This eligibility ensures that those of greatest need are able to access William Watson Lodge. If your needs do not require supportive, accessible accommodation (e.g. lift assist, medical beds, accessible design) please use alternative accommodations.
Reservations can be made online using our new system or by calling the Alberta Parks Contact Centre at 1-877-537-2757. For more complex reservations, we recommend calling the main lodge at 1-403-591-7227. A $12.00 reservation fee will be applied to all reservations. The fee is consistent with reservations across the Alberta Parks system.
Question: Why can't I make a one-night reservation?
By having an empty cabin maintenance is able to go into a cabin and make larger repairs that would not be possible if guests were in the cabin. As well, this allows caretaking to do a deeper clean of the cabin.
One night is not enough time to enjoy all of William Watson Lodge and Peter Lougheed Park. With the remote location of William Watson Lodge, check-in not until 3:30pm and checkout before 11am, guests would be very rushed and wouldn't have time to relax, rejuvenate and refresh.
Question: How has the reservation system changed? How will it affect me?
Guests now have more options for booking, including an online reservation system. With record-breaking numbers of visitors exploring our provincial parks and recreation areas, it is important to ensure we are providing accessible experiences to meet the needs of Albertans.
In the past, reservations were only accepted by telephone, starting on the first working Monday of the month. An application for eligibility was required prior to making a reservation, and the waitlist was often filled to capacity. The new reservation system will provide more ways to make your reservation and will support online payment options.
Reservations can be made online using our new system or by calling the Alberta Parks Contact Centre at 1-877-537-2757. For more complex reservations, we recommend calling the Main Lodge at 403-591-7227.
Question: What is the cost to stay in a cabin or campsite?
William Watson Lodge prides itself on offering affordable, barrier-free experiences and lodging. Our Main Lodge and day use amenities are also available.
Three bedroom cabins: $40.00 per night (plus $12.00 reservation fee for all bookings)
Two bedroom cabins: $35.00 per night (plus $12.00 reservation fee for all bookings)
One bedroom cabins: $30.00 per night (plus $12.00 reservation fee for all bookings)
Campsites: $16.00 per night (plus $12.00 reservation fee for all bookings)
Main Lodge day booking: $20.00 (plus $12.00 reservation fee for all bookings)
Please note that all bookings are subject to a $12 reservation fee. The reservation fee is consistent across the Alberta Parks system.
Question: Do I need a Kananaskis Conservation Pass for my stay at William Watson Lodge? Am I eligible for a low income Albertan exemption?
Yes. All vehicles parked at provincial park and public land sites in Kananaskis Country and the Bow Valley need a Kananaskis Conservation Pass. Passes can be purchased in advance of your stay at www.alberta.ca/yourpass.
Albertans on Assured Income for Severely Handicapped (AISH) and Alberta Income Support (AIS) may be eligible for an exemption. Visit https://www.alberta.ca/kananaskis-conservation-pass.aspx for more details.
Question: How do I reserve William Watson Lodge for my group?
We are happy to host groups in our Main Lodge for day reservations as well as overnight accommodation.. If you are a coordinator for a group that is looking for a reservation, please call the Main Lodge at 403-591-7227 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with a member of our Visitor Experience Team.
Groups supporting Albertans with disabilities and terminal illnesses are able to confirm reservations up to 120 days in advance. Groups supporting seniors and out-of-province persons with disabilities are able to confirm reservations up to 60 days in advance.
Question: Where is William Watson Lodge?
William Watson Lodge is situated in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park on Lower Kananaskis Lake, approximately one hour from Canmore, Alberta and approximately 1.5 hours or more from Cochrane or Calgary, Alberta. It is near the Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre and the Elkwood Campground and Amphitheatre. This is a remote location with limited to no cell service or wireless internet access.
Question: What can I do at William Watson Lodge?
William Watson Lodge offers barrier-free experiences for visitors to enjoy. Your overnight accommodations at William Watson Lodge include access to the main lodge, including the library where you can enjoy a book by the fireplace or play a few board games.
For those who want to explore, there is an accessible/paved trail network to our fire pit and playground, access to Lower Kananaskis Lake, the Elkwood Amphitheatre, the Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre and more.
Our staff are happy to provide recommendations on recreation, tourism and programming opportunities. Rocky Mountain Adaptive is available to support adaptive outdoor recreation and we have some equipment available to borrow courtesy of the William Watson Lodge Society.
Question: How do I learn more about becoming a Campground Host?
To be eligible to volunteer as a Campground Host, you will have previously stayed at the Lodge, or have experience as a Campground Host at William Watson Lodge. Preference is given to seniors and persons with disabilities for volunteer host placements. William Watson Lodge is proud to support Campground Hosts. For more information please call the Main Lodge at 403-591-7227 or email email@example.com to connect with a member of our Visitor Experience Team.
Question: What medical equipment can I borrow?
Portable lift system, commode chairs, shower chairs, hospital bed rails, hospital bed remotes and wheelchairs. Guests can borrow these items at a first come first served basis.