Alberta Parks

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Common Questions

  • What disabled accessible facilities are available in Alberta's parks? Accessibility

    • 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.
    • Accessible campsites are identified on  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.

  • How do I book a backcountry campsite? Camping, Backcountry Camping

  • Where can I find bear-proof food lockers & poles to use while cycling or backcountry hiking? Wildlife, Backcountry Camping

    Secure Food Storage This 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).

  • What is a Boil Water advisory? Water

    A boil water advisory is issued when harmful germs (e.g., E. coli bacteria, giardia parasite)
    may be in a drinking water supply. Drinking water contaminated with these germs can
    make people and animals very sick. Boiling will kill the germs and make the water safe to
    drink. To learn more go to Alberta Health Services.

  • How can I contact a specific campground? Contacts

    • 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. 

  • How much does camping cost? Fees, Camping

    • The basic overnight camping fee ranges from $8 to $31 per night (fee guidelines).
    • Campground managers set fees within this range based on local market conditions.
    • Additional fees of up to $8 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.

  • Where can I get info about reserving a campsite? Reservations
  • What are the rules about using cannabis in Alberta's provincial parks and protected areas? Cannabis

    • Cannabis use at Alberta Parks sites aligns with the Alberta Cannabis Framework.
    • All applicable federal and provincial cannabis legislation within Alberta’s provincial parks will be enforced.
    • Alberta Parks’ adult visitors may consume cannabis in their registered campsites (including in RVs being used as a temporary residence in a registered campsite) and in public areas where tobacco is permitted.
    • Cannabis use is not allowed in motorized vehicles (i.e. cars, trucks, SUVs and vans).
    • Smoking and vaping cannabis is also prohibited in any area where smoking tobacco is prohibited (such as within 5 meters of washrooms).
    • Cannabis smoking and vaping is prohibited within 5 meters of playgrounds, sports or playing fields (e.g. bike skills park), outdoor theatres (e.g. outdoor public education amphitheatres) and outdoor pools or splash pads (e.g. Sikome Aquatic Facility).
    • As a reminder, all other park regulations apply, including quiet hours.
    • Alberta Parks will monitor impacts that legal cannabis use has within our parks system, including impacts to our visitors.
    • Conservation officers are the primary enforcement authority within provincial parks and they will address inappropriate/unsafe behaviour stemming from cannabis use.
    • Alberta Parks’ primary concerns are the safety and enjoyment of visitors, and compliance with provincial parks rules and regulations.
    • Alberta Parks will continue to encourage visitors to be respectful of others in the parks so that their behaviour and choices have a minimal impact on others. 

    More info: 


  • Where can I go to cut my own Christmas tree? Permits

    You can get a permit to cut your own Christmas tree at Cypress Hills Provincial Park, Castle Provincial Park and Castle Wildland Provincial Park. If you aren’t near to those two southern parks, you can get a tree cutting permit for many locations around the province in public lands.

    With the exception of permitted cutting in Cypress Hills Provincial Park and Castle Parks, any cutting of trees or disturbing of vegetation in provincial parks and recreation areas is strictly prohibited and carries a large fine.

    For any tree cutting activities, make sure you have a permit, follow the conditions provided and cut trees in the areas indicated on the map. Please report tree poaching in our provincial parks by speaking to park staff or emailing .

  • What if I have a complaint, concern or compliment? Contacts

    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 1-877-537-2757 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 1-877-537-2757 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.

  • Where can I get trail reports and other cross-country ski info? Cross-country skiing

    • 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.

  • How can I get directions to a park? What about maps? Directions

    • 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 are found in our Library.

  • Can I use my E-Bike in provincial parks? E-bikes

    E-bike Pilot Project

  • How many people and pieces of equipment are allowed on a campsite? Accommodation units and vehicles


    • 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.


    • 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.


    • 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). 

  • Where can I camp in the off-season? Camping

    • We have a variety of campgrounds that stay open for fall camping, including several that are open year-round. 
    • You can search Fall, Winter and Spring Camping by campground, park name or the month you’d like to camp.
    • Please note some amenities may not be available in the off-season.

  • Where can I find out about fire bans? Fires and firewood

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

  • How do I get firewood at a park? Fires and firewood

    Firewood Sold Icon 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 Icon 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.

  • Where can I buy a fishing license? Fishing

  • How can I best ensure I get a campsite? Camping

    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 up to 180 days in advance of the arrival date.
    • If there are no campsites available when you first try to reserve on, 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
      • Spring (May & June) and Fall (September & October) - not including long weekends
    • Phone 1-877-537-2757 during regular office hours for suggestions regarding lesser-used provincial campgrounds.

  • What is Hiker-Cyclist Camping? Camping

    • Hiker-cyclists are recreationists who under their own power and without the support of a motorized vehicle, travel through Kananaskis region.
    • Kananaskis established hiker-cyclist camping areas in Spray Valley Provincial Park and Peter Lougheed Provincial Park along the High Rockies Trail. These areas include:

    • specific details such as of the length of stay vary for each site.
    • facilities may include food storage lockers, bicycle maintenance tool stands, washrooms and self-registration kiosks
    • Hiker-cyclists may always stay at other campgrounds. Some campgrounds are first-come, first serve; some campgrounds are on the reservation system.
    • For 2021, the rate per night is $31.

  • Is there a liquor ban at provincial parks? Alcohol - Liquor

    • The Alberta government rescinded the liquor ban in provincial parks to allow responsible adults to freely enjoy a beverage of their choice in their registered campsite during the 2019 May long weekend.
      • Rules and regulations around campground quiet hours, excessive noise and appropriate behavior continue to be in place. See the News Release for details.
    • The Alberta government is making it easier to get a liquor license for special events in our parks and later this summer will expand opportunities for adults to enjoy a glass of wine or a beer in select day use area picnic sites. See the News Release for details.
    • Even though the vast majority of Albertans who enjoy our parks do so responsibly, we will make sure we have enforcement in place so those few who might take things too far get dealt with, and everyone can have a great time enjoying nature. See the News Release for details.

  • Can I use a metal detector in a provincial park? Other

    There are no laws prohibiting the use of metal detectors in the public areas of provincial parks as long as the activity isn’t interfering with the enjoyment of the other park visitors, breaking any of our other regulations, or in any way threatening any of the wildlife in the park.

    Metal detectors can be used in the province’s parks, provided that:

    • They are only used on beaches and similar disturbed areas (where digging will not affect the natural ecosystem/habitat). In disturbed areas that are being excavated under a research permit, these areas are closed-off from the public to prevent recreational digging
    • No historic resources are damaged or removed
    • No items are removed from the park
    • All items of value (historical or monetary) are turned over to the local park office
    • They are used for recreation and not for commercial purposes
    • Their use doesn’t violate other laws, such as interfering with a person’s quiet enjoyment in the park. People operating metal detectors are encouraged to use an earpiece/headphones to reduce the likelihood of the noise disturbing others.


    As in the case of other park users, a person can expect to encounter officers who will inquire about the activities being conducted and require them to identify themselves and their occupation.

    In order to dig for historical resources, a person requires an excavation permit issued by the Parks Division under the Historical Resources Act; this permit is associated with archeological or paleontological research permit. In some locations the excavated items are likely to remain in the park for research and storage; in situations where an excavated item is to be removed from the park, a collection permit is required.

  • Where can I find information on picnic sites? Other

    • "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 facilities 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

  • What are the rules around refunds? Reservations

    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.

  • What regulations apply to recreation activities in provincial parks and recreation areas? Other

  • Can I scatter cremated remains / ashes in an Alberta Park? Other

    • Yes, cremated remains/ashes can be scattered in an Alberta Park.
      • Permission to scatter cremated remains/ashes is not required.
    • Ashes must be fully incinerated and dispersed away from waterbodies and areas with high human use (campgrounds, picnic sites, day use areas, buildings, trails, roads, etc.).
    • No permanent markers, flowers or other physical memorials may be left behind.
    • Please do not release flowers on flowing waters as it could potentially introduce invasive species to a variety of habitats in the watershed.
    • Visit the Scattering of Cremated Remains page for more information.

  • How does self-registration at a campground work? Camping

    • 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
    • Please follow the directions provided at the campground through signage.

  • Do seniors get a discount on camping fees at provincial parks? Fees

    • Alberta Parks has lots of camping options which offer varied experiences at price-points beginning at $0.  Please check our Low Cost Camping Options page for details.
    • 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.  

  • What is a shared campsite? Camping

    Shared (Double) Campsites
    • Shared campsites are two campsites that are very close together and may share a firepit.
    • They are suitable for camping parties that want to camp together.
    • Each campsite can be booked separately.
    • If you only book one campsite, you may have to share the firepit with a neighbour.

  • Can I use my UAV / drone in provincial parks? Drones

    • No – recreational use of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or drone is not allowed in the provincial parks system. 
    • In certain circumstances, UAVs may be allowed for research purposes or commercial filming.  Check Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for permit and other requirements.

  • Why does the power go out while I'm camping? Power

    • Alberta Parks campsites have different power options (15 amp, 20 amp, 30 amp and 50 amp) in the power serviced campsites.
    • Do not use adapters to draw power from a lower amp outlet for an RV that requires a higher amp plug. For example, do not attempt to draw power from a 15 amp outlet for an RV with a 30 amp plug. Powered sites have a limit to their capacity.
    • Campers lose power, in the majority of cases, when too much electricity is being used at once.  Just like at home, when a circuit overloads a circuit breaker will immediately shut off to prevent an electrical fire.
    • Plan to only use one or two electrical appliances at the same time, particularly during extremely hot days when many visitors are using air conditioning.  Running the RV air conditioning full time, will reduce the amount of electricity that can be used for other things.
    • If the circuit breaker shuts off, reduce the number of electrical appliances in use before you reset it.  For example, it is not possible to have air conditioning running continuously during hot days, and also use a microwave, water pump or television.
    • To prevent a circuit breaker from shutting off, prioritize what and when electrical appliances are in use.
    • Have a back-up plan in case you do lose power, to ensure you can cook, stay cool and enjoy your camping experience.
    • Conserving electricity, and timing when you use your electricity in a campsite will ensure you can stay powered.

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

    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.

  • Can I hold my wedding or reunion at a provincial park? Permits

    • 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

Information & Reservations

Contact Us

If you have feedback or questions:

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Please note: Our response time varies depending on the volume of inquiries received.