Elk Island
National Park

Less than 35 minutes east of Edmonton lies a year round wilderness oasis where Bison roam freely,
sun glistens off lakes and ponds, and the stars light up the night sky. 
Elk Island National Park is a wildlife watchers paradise as free roaming bison, elk, deer, moose,
and more than 250 bird species call this place home! 
Camping, golfing, hiking, picnicing, canoeing and kayaking are popular all summer long.
In winter enjoy the cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, stargazing, skating and more!


If you are looking for an experience of a life time head down to Elk National Park with your kids! A great place to get out from behind screens and soak up the natural surroundings. Get the kids out of the city and explore nature. Only a 35 minute drive east of Edmonton, it's no wonder why Elk island is a popular destination for an Edmontonian looking to escape the city and get the most of the season, especially this year! 

The close proximity and high demand means hundreds of visitors come to the park every weekend. But this popularity means not everyone will be allowed in - once the park reaches capacity, many unfortunate visitors are turned away every  weekend. This is why it's important to prepare ahead of time to ensure a pleasant and more enjoyable experience. Here are a few simple tips to ensure you enjoy the outdoors east of Edmonton!

Make Elk Island National Park your weekday destination!

There’s plenty of reasons to visit the National Park during the week. Avoid the big weekend and holiday crowds and enjoy having more space to roam safely. With less people visiting during the week, wildlife is undisturbed by congested cars passing by and hikers on trails, which makes it the perfect time to explore the area. During the holidays you may be looking for exciting outdoor activities during the week, making Elk Island your perfect weekday destination. Being in nature provides important physical and mental health benefits. Going outdoors is a great way to maintain health and wellness, so long as everyone follows public health measures that includes physical distancing practices. 

Bonus tip: Arrive a few hours before dusk on weekdays to spot amazing wildlife, especially beavers as they are most active at dawn and dusk.

The Parks Canada Discovery Pass is your gateway to history, nature, and adventure from coast to coast. It provides unlimited access to 80 Parks around Canada and is valid for up to 12 months from the purchase date. 

To save time and money at the gate, buy your Discovery Pass ahead of time online.

Camping Reservations for Summer 2023:  Elk Island National Park campground sites and oTENTiks are available to reserve starting on March 30, 2023 at 8:00am MDT

Plan your Trip…

The Elk Island National Park website provides detailed information regarding the park’s response to COVID-19 including: open locations, what visitors can expect, how to prepare for their visit and what services are available. Visitors are asked to plan ahead, consider alternate locations to visiting Elk Island.

For more information, on visiting Elk Island National Park this summer please see: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/elkisland/visit/covid-19-info


Must Do Experiences

Winter is a fabulous time to enjoy the wilderness of Elk Island National Park. Wildlife viewing is at its best and the serenity of the winter landscape offers peace of mind and a quick getaway. Some favourite winter activities are outlined below:

Winter activities

Lace up your skates and take in a winter wonderland while gliding over Astotin lake. Enjoy a peaceful loop around the islands of Astotin Lake or bring friends for a game of pond hockey. To date the ice is not thick enough to travel on. Watch for the rink opening when ice conditions permit.

Snowshoe rentals

Snowshoeing is a magical way to explore snow-covered trails. Snowshoe rentals will be available at the Elk Island National Park Visitor Information Centre once snow conditions permit. Adult sizes: $14, Children sizes: Free


Elk Island National Park is part of the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve; with limited light pollution, stars and Northern Lights shine bright overhead. Take advantage of shorter daylight hours and visit the park after dark for a self-guided stargazing experience.

Self-guided winter experiences

Snowshoe and ski the day away! Head out on a trail and experience the rolling snow covered landscape of the Beaver Hills. Feeling more adventurous? Spend the afternoon tobogganing, throwing snowballs and searching for animal tracks. End the day with a warm fire in one of the cook shelters or take in one of these other activities: wildlife viewing, tobogganing, geocaching, campfire/picnicking, club Parka/Xplorer booklets, bird watching.

Your Elk Island Update

As of Dec 10, 2019:

Snow is here to stay and Parks Canada is ready for a winter full of fun at Elk Island National Park!

Winter activities, early-bird pass sales, 2020 campground reservations, and tips visitors should consider for a safe and enjoyable visit are outlined in this Elk Island update.  

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Brennan Bunko at brennan.bunko@canada.ca or 780-992-2959.

Travel Ideas

near Elk Island National Park
Load More

Learn more today

Elk Island National Park