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Camping In Alberta: A Summer Celebration

Author: Tammie Burak, Travel Alberta

Tammie has been ticking Canadian destinations off her bucket list for decades and has lived on each of Canada’s three sea coasts. A lover of wilderness adventure travel, she never tires of exploring Alberta’s wild spaces and places.

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North

We pitch our tent at Wood Buffalo National Park’s Rainbow Lake campground and explore the amazing karst landscape, where water emerges from underground through holes in the soft bedrock. We listen to the gurgle as a river suddenly disappears to continue its mysterious journey underground. We hike along the edge of the 100 metre wide Angus Sinkhole that formed when an underground cave collapsed. But my favourite part of the trip is our hike onto the salt plains. Mounds of white sea salt grow as the water evaporates, and salt water plants thrive right here, smack dab in the middle of the continent. Amazing! I touch the pristine crystals to my mouth and taste the same salt First Nations people traded from these plains for eons.

Central

I awake to the symphony of the songbirds’ dawn chorus outside our yurt at Pigeon Lake Provincial Park. Made of a wooden lattice frame covered with canvas on a wooden deck, the yurt is our cozy and convenient home away from home while we holiday at the lake. I enjoy the luxury of sleeping on a real queen size bed. Our kids enjoy an authentic camping experience.  The yurt is a perfect marriage of homey comforts and woodsy roughing it. This is comfort camping at its finest.

My husband and our son are flying high with excitement. Through Reynolds Alberta Museum, they’ve booked a flight in a vintage bi-plane. Not quite as daring but not to be outdone either, my daughter and I are going to take a chauffeured tour of the grounds in a vintage car.

Love birds? Gather family and friends at The Nest, a six bedroom timber frame cabin at Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park. Watch scientists capture birds in a mist-net on a banding lab tour at Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory. Or take part in an interpretive program at the Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation.

Planning a camping trip for your group? Alberta Parks offers mid-week discounts for senior/youth group camping sites.

South

After a day of hiking the badlands of Dinosaur Provincial Park, our canvas wall tent, in its grove of shady cottonwood trees, looks so inviting. We roll up the door flap, grab some cold drinks from the fridge and stretch out on the nicely made bed. A bald eagle flaps slowly over the river, scanning the water for fish. We relax a while before starting the barbecue. After supper on the private deck, we stroll to the edge of the Red Deer River to watch for wildlife. At sunset we’ll explore the moonscape features of the badlands on a photography tour. And tomorrow, we’re going on a fossil safari to see the dinosaur bone-beds that have made this park world-famous and led to UNESCO’s World Heritage Site designation. 

Rockies

My mom reserved an oTENTik campsite at Banff National Park’s Two Jack Lakeside campground to celebrate her birthday. Her sisters will join us there. What a celebration that will be! Mom hasn’t hiked with her sisters in years so this is going to be really special. I know my aunts will be happy for the cozy comforts of the canvas-walled A-frame cottage with its heater and raised wood floor. Mom doesn’t know it yet, but I’m planning a surprise. I’m going to take her kayaking at beautiful Vermillion Lakes near the Banff townsite. Then we’ll head back into town to eat at Mom’s favourite restaurant.

Other Camping Options in the Rockies

Like a cross between a cabin and a tent, the cottage tents at Jasper have wood floors, canvas walls, heaters and real beds. Or give tipi camping a try at Waterton National Park or Sundance Lodges in Kananaskis Country. Whatever your preference, you’ll find the right camping accommodations to make Alberta’s wilderness your backyard this summer.

Activity Highlights
  • Tent Camping
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Dinosaur Adventure
  • Comfort Camping
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