Indigenous Activities & Camping in Alberta
Alberta is home to 45 First Nations including Siksika, Kainai, Piikani, Tsuut’ina, Nehiyaw, Dene, Anishinaabe, and Niitsitapi; the Metis Nation of Alberta (including 8 recognized Metis settlements); and many other First Nations and Inuit who now call this area home.
June is National Indigenous History Month across Canada and we’re celebrating by sharing some of the awesome Indigenous activities and camping opportunities in Alberta.
Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum
Located in Banff, the Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum is a great way to learn more about the Indigenous culture of the area. They offer interpretive tours led by local Elders as well as smudge ceremonies, dancing and drumming classes, beading workshops and more. The museum shop also features many Indigenous products.
Open daily from 10am to 6pm. It costs $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $4 for youth. Children under 7 are free.
Buffalo Stone Woman Guided Hikes
Buffalo Stone Woman is led by Heather Black and offers guided hikes with storytelling and crafts in the mountains of Southern Alberta.
Buffalo Rock Tipi Camp
In addition to offering tipi camping experiences, Buffalo Rock offers guided hikes, Indigenous storytelling, sweet grass harvesting and an introductory class on Blackfoot language.
Buffalo Rock Tipi Camp – Packages and Pricing, Package Options
With locations in Canmore and Banff, check out the incredible art by Indigenous artist, Jason Carter.
Drift Out West Fly Fishing
Interested in learning how to fly fish? Drift Out West’s Quinn is an experienced guide and expert fly-fisherman. He offers two full-day and one half-day tours on the Bow River. Knowledgeable and personable, Quinn also creates all the fly tiers used by his guests.
Girth Hitch Guiding
Based out of Red Deer, Girth Hitch Guiding offers guided climbing and mountain skills courses. They offer slab, via ferrata and custom tours and have something for everyone, from beginner to experienced climbers.
Grant Berg Gallery
This Indigenous-owned and operated art gallery is located in Grande Prairie. Featuring Indigenous artists, the gallery houses carvings, paintings, sculptures and more.
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
Located two hours from Calgary and five hours from Edmonton, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo jump is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Learn about Indigenous culture and the importance of the buffalo in the visitor center’s galleries and interpretive trail. There’s also a gift shop, a great viewpoint and a few walking trails. It’s very cool to learn how buffalo jumps worked and how buffalo were used by local Indigenous peoples.
This site is open 10am-5pm every day during the summer. It’s $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, and $10 for youth. Children 6 and under are free.
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site | Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump (headsmashedin.ca)
Kikino Silver Birch Resort
A fantastic lakeside campground located just under 5 hours from Calgary or just over 3 hours from Edmonton. Kikino Silver Birch Resort is located on the shores of Whitefish Lake with 31 powered sites (15 amp) and unserviced camping areas.
The powered sites also have picnic tables and firepits and cost $35 per night. The unserviced area is in an open field and doesn’t have picnic tables or firepits, but costs only $25 per night.
Amenities include token showers, laundry facilities and a sanitation dump. There’s also a gazebo and BBQ hut for shade or to get out of the rain. A store with camping and fishing basics (including ice cream) is on site. Potable water is also available.
For activities, the resort offers:
- ATV and snowmobile trails
- Hand boat launch
- Kayaking, canoeing or SUPing on the lake
- Sandy beach
- Bird watching
- Fishing (there are perch, pike, walleye and whitefish)
No outside firewood is allowed but is available for purchase for a nominal fee (60 pieces for $20).
Based out of Sundre, Mahikan offers a variety of guided walks and workshops, including making your own soaps, medicine, salves, butters and lotions.
Mahikan Trails – Indigenous Experiences
A cultural interpretive center situated on 688 acres along the North Saskatchewan River (all original river lot titles belonging to Métis settlers from the 1800s). Métis Crossing has historical exhibits, art installations and cultural experiences. This includes:
- Meet the Métis
- Traditional art workshops
- Paddling tour – 4 hours paddle to two historic sites along historic fur trade.
- Bison tour – view the bison and learn about their importance to Indigenous and Métis culture.
- Walk in Our Mocs – a guided walk and archery session.
An hour and twenty minutes from Edmonton (four hours from Calgary), Métis Crossing also has a campground. They have 21 powered (30 amp) sites and 2 non-powered sites. Each has a firepit and picnic table. There are also washrooms with showers.
Museum of Aboriginal Peoples’ Arts and Artifacts
The museum was founded in 1978, when Indigenous works were not viewed as art but were instead part of anthropologic collections. The museum showcases over 2000 works of many different genres from First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists. There are self-guided tours and arts and crafts workshops. The museum store features Indigenous ceramics, carvings, jewelry and more.
Located at the Portage College Corporate Centre in Lac La Biche County, the museum is 2.5 hours from Edmonton and 5 hours from Calgary. Opening hours are 9am to 3:30pm Monday to Friday.
If you’re looking to learn outdoor skills or learn more about Indigenous ways of life, Painted Warriors is a great option. They offer guided archery, snowshoeing, horseback riding and wildlife viewing and tracking. They also offer courses to develop hunting, trail guiding and wilderness skills (including certifications from the Outdoor Council of Canada).
An hour and 15 minutes from Calgary (two hours 45 minutes from Edmonton) Painted Warriors is in a convenient location.
Painted Warriors | Aboriginal Programs, Camps, Tours, & Training
Located one hour north of Edmonton in 25 acres of boreal forest, ReSkilled is dedicated to teaching Indigenous traditional skills including:
- Making clothing
- Medicine making
- Moccasin and mukluk making
- Soap making
- Traditional Indigenous games
- Wild crafting
They offer online and in-person courses.
A beautiful campground on 113 acres with a 12-mile long lake. There’s a sandy beach and you can rent kayaks or paddleboards if you don’t have your own. You can fish, watch wildlife, or enjoy the walking and biking trails. There’s also a playground and volleyball court.
There are 46 campsites, powered and un-serviced. Powered sites are $35 per night (disounts for longer stays) and un-serviced are $30 per night. They also offer powered seasonal sites.
Amenities include washrooms with showers and picnic and cookhouse shelters. There is firewood available onsite for purchase.
Rocky Mountain National Historic Site
Camp in a tipi, Métis trapper tent or in your own RV at an un-serviced site in the adjacent campground (RVs up to eight meters or 27 feet long accepted). There are 37 un-serviced campsites with a firepit and picnic table. Showers and washrooms are also on-site.
There are Indigenous interpretive programs throughout the National Historic Site, including:
- A Métis camp with demonstrations of fur trading, beading and more.
- A bison heard with stories of how these animals shaped the lives of Indigenous Peoples.
- Visitor centre with interactive exhibits on Indigenous history and culture.
- Explore interpretive trails to learn about the fur trade.
Rocky Mountain National Historic Site also offers bookable experiences for groups, including:
- Dreamcatcher Workshop
- Drum and Song
- Moccasin Making
- Traditional Games
Located in Rocky Mountain House, it’s a two and a half hour drive from both Calgary and Edmonton. There’s also lots of incredible nature and provincial parks in the area to explore.
Shadow Creek Resort
A beautiful campground and marina located on the southern shores of Lesser Slave Lake. Three and a half hours from Edmonton and just over six hours from Calgary, Shadow Creek offers 175 full-service campsites and 120 boat slips. There is municipal water and sewer, 30 amp power, picnic table and firepit at each site. There is also an area for group camping and dry camping. Serviced sites are $55 per day, un-serviced sites are $40 per day.
Amenities include laundry, showers, sanitation dump, winter RV storage and a convenience and liquor store. Firewood is available.
Enjoy the beach, playground and the lake itself.
Spruce Point Park
Six hours from Calgary and three and a half hours from Edmonton, Spruce Point Park is a campground and marina located on Lesser Slave Lake. There are 232 sites (including 102 lake-front sites). Powered sites are $40.43 per night and un-serviced sites are $31.50 per night.
- Potable water taps throughout the campground.
- Marina and boat launch.
- 18-hole mini golf course ($5 per person).
- Horsehoe pits.
- Bocce ball.
- Ball diamond.
- Frisbee golf.
- Beach (including an area for pets).
- Boating on the lake.
- Nature walking/hiking/biking trails.
- RV sanitation dump.
- Day use area with picnic tables and fire pits.
Talking Rock Tours
Learn more about the natural environment and Indigenous history on these guided tours.
Visit the museum to learn more about the Tsuut’ina and Indigenous history. The gift shop also has products made by Indigenous artisans.
It is $12 for adults, $6 for youth and seniors. The museum is located on the SW edge of Calgary on the Tsuut’ina Nation.
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park (Áísínai’pi)
A provincial park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in traditional Blackfoot territory. This natural and cultural wonder features incredible landforms, a long history of use and pictographs. Archaeological excavations have found evidence of tipi rings, cairs, a bison jump and campsites from 1750 years ago to the modern day. Research projects include rock art conservation, paleontology, plant studies, and species at risk.
- Visitor centre with gift shop and galleries.
- Hiking (including interpretive trails).
- Guided tours to view pictographs and learn more about the natural and cultural history of the area.
- Evening interpretive programs (storytelling, games and wildlife and cultural presentations).
- Canoeing, kayaking or river floats.
- Wildlife viewing.
The campground has 61 sites with 14 un-serviced sites for $31 per night and 47 powered sites for $39 per night. Winter camping is available as well. Reservations can be made May 20 to September 30 and has a $12 fee.
- Firepit (firewood sold onsite)
- Grocery and supply store.
- Hand boat launch.
- Flush and pit/vault toilets.
- RV sanitation dump.
- Potable water taps.
- Showers (take loonies and toonies).
Enjoy the beautiful grassland with hoodoos, coulees and river. The park is 3.5 hours from Calgary and 6 hours from Edmonton.
Writing-on-Stone PP – Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park | Alberta Parks
Indigenous adventure tourism offers hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing and camping in BC and Alberta as well as Indigenous knowledge courses.
Did we miss any of your favourite Indigenous campgrounds or experiences? Share with us by emailing [email protected]