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, hiking, picnicking, 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 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. Looking to avoid busy weekend crowds? Visit Elk Island during the week in the summertime, or try a fall or winter visit! 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 fewer people visiting during the week, wildlife is less disturbed 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. 

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:  Elk Island National Park campground sites and oTENTiks are available to reserve online.

Plan your Trip…

Tired of the crowds? Travel to Elk Island National Park during the week to avoid the weekend rush. If you are planning a weekend trip, enjoy popular areas early in the day or in the evening. Dawn and dusk are the best time to view wildlife, just be sure to drive carefully and share the road! Visit the Elk Island website  to help plan your trip. Choose a hike and Bison Wise and more by visiting the Elk Island website.


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.

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Elk Island National Park