Best Places to Camp in Alberta
April 25, 2022
Keith
Campers sitting on chairs and picnic table at campsite

Best Places to Camp in Alberta

Alberta’s got it all: big skies, golden prairies, the rugged badlands, and the rolling expanse of the Rockies (well, some of them, anyway). But where in this incredibly diverse province should you choose to visit on your next camping trip?

Don’t worry; we know all about the best places to camp in Alberta (and beyond)—and we’re here to share our favourite spots with you. Read on and discover some of Wildrose Country’s most extraordinary places to pitch your tent.

Tent in forested campground

Athabasca

A handful of small, rustic towns north of Edmonton but southeast of Slave Lake provide plenty of ameneties in the Athabasca region, while the land gives way to thick forests and majestic rivers.

Campsites like River Meadows RV Park and Plamondon Whitesands Resort provide various levels of refinement for your next trip—put up a tent, stay in your RV, or enjoy a cabin in the woods. Check out other sites in the region here.

Water Valley

An hour from Calgary and an hour from Red Deer, Water Valley Campground doesn’t have the same name recognition as Kananaskis Country—but this hidden gem on the Red Deer River puts you near the mountain backcountry without taking you too far out into the boonies.

An excellent site for family camping and large group outings in the summer, Wagons West RV Park in nearby Sundre is also surrounded by three of the area’s nicest golf courses. Either of these locations makes an excellent place for a casual, low-key foray into the great outdoors.

Slave Lake

One of northern Alberta’s largest bodies of water, Slave Lake is surrounded by pristine nature and several appealing campgrounds. You’ll find places to fish, opportunities to enjoy watersports, and many kilometres of rugged shoreline overlooking the water.

Sites nearby include Lakeview Campground and Marina (just north of the town of Slave Lake) and Big Fish Bay RV Resort. Either of these sites will put you close to the beauty of the lake without getting you lost in the wilderness.

Silver Valley

For Albertans wishing to make a pilgrimage to the far north of the province, Silver Valley offers an embarrassment of pastoral beauty in a region less marked by urban conveniences. In the nearby town of Bonanza, you’ll find the same views that greeted Alexander MacKenzie in 1793, with unforgettable sandstone cliffs standing out next to acres of undisturbed parkland and thick, verdant woods.

South of Bonanza, you’ll find more campgrounds in Demmitt and Spring Lake, with plenty of hiking and fishing available. Trust us—it’s worth coming up this far north. 

Dinosaur statue next to Drumheller welcome sign

Drumheller

Who doesn’t like dinosaurs? If the answer is you, you’re going to be better off with one of the other spots on this list—but if dinos are your thing, head out to Drumheller and get ready to roar with excitement.

Nestled deep in Alberta’s badlands, Drumheller campgrounds offer a truly unique environment in which to sleep under the stars. Not only are the hoodoos a natural wonder, but if you go walking amongst them, you might even stumble across a fossil or two! See a list of nearby sites here.

Rocks visible through surface of water at Waterton Lakes

Waterton Lakes

Waterton makes a beautiful camping destination at any time of year (although you’ll certainly want to pack differently for a winter excursion—Southern Alberta is still well north of the Equator, after all).

You’ll find camping near Waterton National Park in nearby Cardston or just outside of Hill Spring. Amenities for these sites include a natural amphitheatre, camp kitchen facilities, and activities like whitewater rafting (plus plenty of hiking, of course).

Elk Island National Park

They don’t call it Elk Island for nothing (although the park itself is landlocked, which is slightly odd). Located east of Edmonton, this region serves as a refuge for bison, birds, and—you guessed it—elk. It’s also a short drive from a few of Alberta’s more interesting and off-the-beaten-path tourist attractions, like the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village.

As for camping, you can find sites near Elk Island National Park in Lindbrook (to the south) or Bruderheim (to the north)—both with power and water hookups.

Banff

This one’s a no-brainer. Practically everyone who lives in (or comes to) Canada is bound for a trip to this picturesque mountain town at some point—but you don’t need to stay in the Banff Springs or the Rimrock to get the best of what it has to offer.

Banff National Park is also home to some of Canada’s best camping, from Tunnel Mountain Village to Lake Louise. Check out a list of nearby sites here, including RV parks and cabins.

Boat on lake in Jasper National Park

Jasper

A bit farther flung from major cities like Calgary and Edmonton than the last two entries on this list, Jasper should appeal to your rugged side. From the imposing Pyramid Mountain to the gorgeous and remote Miette Hot Springs, there’s plenty to see here.

Northwest of Jasper, you’ll find camping in scenic Grand Cache, which will put you closer to numerous amenities. From there, route 40 will take you to highway 16, bringing you right into the thick of everything Jasper has to offer.

Kananaskis Country

Home to some of the province’s best backcountry trails, Kananaskis makes an excellent place to spend a weekend (or an entire week, if you have the time). Enjoy stunning summit views and winding paths through unspoiled wilderness.

The region is home to plenty of campgrounds, too—from Lac des Arcs to Dead Man’s Flats. Here’s a list of other nearby sites, all within a reasonable driving distance from this incredible part of the province.

Plan Your Next Trip Today

Alberta isn’t all just big cities and tourist towns. In fact, some of the best spots in the province are a little ways off the grid. Try a spot from the list above this summer (or fall, or winter, or spring—is there ever a bad time to go camping?) and let us know what you think!

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