Traditionally, the Victoria Day long weekend kicks off the camping season in Alberta, because it’s the first long weekend of the warm season. It’s a long time between the end of camping season in October and the start of camping season in May. Victoria Day, therefore, sees a lot of camping traffic.
Not too long ago, the government of Alberta built an online reservation system, which is very handy. It used to be a first-come, first-served method (and it still is in some areas), which resulted in people having to leave work early and speed down the highway to beat the traffic. Nowadays, for a $12 fee, the campsite can be reserved ahead of time. A basic campsite can cost as little as $5 per night and as much as $23 per night. Some campgrounds offer additional services, such as showers, electricity, and sewer hook-ups, but these come with additional fees.
A lot of the camping traffic in Southern Alberta goes to Kananaskis Country, which is a collection of provincial parks in the Rocky Mountains. There are thousands of kilometers of walking/biking trails, as well as a host of other outdoor recreation activities, such as rock climbing, fishing, horseback riding, ATV riding, etc. But, there are many other great places to camp in Alberta around our lakes, rivers, and other attractions. A few noteworthy locations in Southern Alberta include Dinosaur Provincial Park, Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump, and Ghost River. The Alberta Parks website has a helpful tool to find a park by its available activities.
There are a number of regulations to know before camping. Certain campgrounds have zero-tolerance for alcohol at certain times of year (long weekends, for example). Some activities require licenses, such as fishing, or are limited to certain areas. The regulations are not difficult to obey, and they can be found online.
Photo by: mastermaq/Flickr