5 Off-the-Beaten-Track Campgrounds in Alberta

By Samantha Lemna | May 21, 2019

Alberta has a lot of awesome campgrounds. You might see a few favourites repeatedly recommended in Facebook groups – and while that reputation is well-deserved it can also mean it’s difficult to get a campsite during the summer! You may also find that these campgrounds aren’t as private or that they don’t allow you to truly disconnect with nature. While the campgrounds in this article are likely further afield than you’re used to that’s exactly what makes them so off-the-beaten-track and wonderful. Here’s the list:

  • Figure Eight Lake Campground

  • Moonshine Lake Campground

  • Dunvegan Provincial Park

  • Livingstone Falls PRA

  • Machesis Lake PRA

  • And here’s why you should go:

    Figure Eight Lake Campground

      

    This photo of Figure Eight Lake’s beach was provided by Alberta Parks.

    Although this campground is an 8-hour drive from Calgary and a 5.5-hour drive from Edmonton it’s definitely worth the trip if you want to get out and enjoy nature. There is tons of hiking and OHV trails as well as the opportunity to fish paddle a canoe and check out the local wildlife. This campground also has a small beach playground cooking and picnic shelters boat launch pier and a fish cleaning station. Although the water is drawn from a cistern (bring your own drinking water) there is firewood and pit toilets.

    This unserviced 27-site campground is open May 12 to October 13 on a first-come first-served basis. Self-register on arrival with exact change or a cheque. Sites are private and shaded.

    This campground is only half-an-hour from Peace River. Pick up supplies there and check out the 12-foot Davis Statue the spray park the St. Augustine Mission (provincial historic site) or the local brewery ! There are also many delicious restaurants if you want to take a break from campfire cooking.

    Moonshine Lake Campground

     Moonshine Lake from boat launch 1 hervieux 

    Photo of Moonshine Lake’s dock provided by Alberta Parks.

    This is a larger campground that has 110 powered sites for $34 per night making it perfect for RV camping. Open from May 1 until October 15 this campground also accepts reservations for most of the season. You can also self-register and pay on arrival.

    Reached in 5.5 hours from Edmonton and 8 hours from Calgary this campground offers the amenities you need including power drinking water showers bathrooms sewage disposal and firewood. It also has a boat launch pier and fish cleaning station you can rent life jackets at the campground if you don’t have your own.

    Paddle around the lake explore the hiking trails try to catch a fish and take in the abundant bird life in the area. There is also a playground and horseshoe pit. This park also has excellent winter activities such as skating cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

    Dawson Creek and Grande Prairie are the largest nearby centres just under an hour away. The nearby village of Rycroft has several stores and gas stations.

    Dunvegan Provincial Park

     Dunvegan West WPP - From River 

    This photo of Dunvegan Provincial Park was provided by Alberta Parks.

    Located just over an hour north of Grande Prairie this small park has a lot to offer for families. Open from the beginning of May until October 15 the 65 15 amp power sites are $34 per night. You can reserve between May 15 and September 2.

    This campground offers drinking water sewage disposal firewood and pit toilets. It also has a playground and a visitor centre. There are activities put on all summer long including guided tours of the Historic Site bannock bakes children’s activities and theatre shows. Learn about the First Nations and colonial history of the area and take a stroll through the Dunvegan gardens.

    You can also enjoy the Peace River via canoe or through fishing. Explore the riverside trails and enjoy your time in the tranquil campground.

    Fairview is just 10 minutes away. The Fairview Regional Aquatic Centre is a great place to spend the day especially if it’s raining. There is a swimming pool waterslide wading pool and a climbing wall. You can also check out the golf course. Cummings Lake has stocked fishing and a great trail system (mostly paved) to explore.

    Livingstone Falls PRA

     Livingstone Falls PRA_Campground and Biking This photo of Livingstone Falls PRA was provided by Alberta Parks.

    With 22 unserviced campsites this smaller rustic campground offers great access to the Southern Albertan Rockies. There are pit/vault toilets firepits and a cooking shelter. Each site is $21 per night and is available on a first-come first-served basis. There are some pull-through sites. Make sure you bring your own firewood and drinking water.

    Enjoy hiking fishing and geocaching in this park and take in the gorgeous scenery. There is also a lot of hiking and biking trails available nearby.

    This campground is around 3 hours from Calgary and nearly 6 hours from Edmonton. There are several towns to the south on Highway 3 where you can get supplies. You should also visit Frank Slide and the towns of Blairmore and Coleman if you need a bit of a break from nature. To the east Nanton is about 2 hours away. Check out the great candy store there!

    Machesis Lake PRA

     Machesis Lake 

    This photo of Machesis Lake was provided by Alberta Parks.

    Now for the truly off-the-beaten-track: Machesis Lake . This park is a 10-hour drive from Calgary and nearly 8 hours from Edmonton. But if you’re looking for a quiet scenic place to escape the city this is a fantastic option.

    There are 20 unserviced campsites for $20 per night. These are all first-come first-served and the campground is open May 15 until September 30. There is sewage disposal pit/vault toilets a cooking shelter picnic shelters a fish cleaning station a pier and a boat launch. There is also firewood available.

    The best part of this park is that there’s a lovely sandy beach! The boat launch and pier make it easy to bring along and enjoy your kayak or canoe. You can fish as well. There are also trails for horses bikes and hiking.