Elk Island National Park

Elk Island National Park is in the Edmonton Capital Region of Alberta, Canada, less than an hour east of Edmonton, near Vegreville. It has higher densities of hoofed mammals per square kilometer than any other wild area in the world, except for the Serengeti Plains of Africa. Visitors can see over 40 species of free-roaming mammals including plains bison, wood bison, elk, moose, deer, beaver, and muskrat. Over 250 species of birds live here, making it a good place for birdwatching. This is one of the last remaining large areas of natural aspen parkland, one of the most endangered habitats in Canada, that is undisturbed by agriculture and other human activities. Open year-round, park visitors can enjoy wildlife viewing, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, golfing, picnicking and overnight camping.



The park protects the Southern Boreal Plains and Plateaus Natural Region - a transitional zone between the aspen parkland to the south and the boreal forest to the north. Elk Island National Park is knob and kettle topography rising thirty to sixty metres above the surrounding plains of Alberta. Elk Island National Park is an island, not in the geographical sense, but in terms of its landscape of small hills and depressions surrounded by flat plains. When the glaciers retreated from the area, they left debris clustered around chunks of ice that formed the knobs, while the melting ice made shallow ponds or kettles. These are eutrophic ponds, meaning they have a very poor oxygen supply, but they contain rich accumulations of nutrients, making them an excellent habitat for plants and wildfowl. The park has more than 250 lakes, ponds and wetlands over 20% of its surface area. Astotin Lake, near the park’s north end is 3.9 kilometers long, almost 3.1 kilometers wide and .5 - 10 meters deep, the parks largest body of water.


The climate of the area is generally temperate.

Get in

Elk Island National Park is located approximately one hour from Edmonton city centre, via Highway 16 East (Yellowhead). It is open 365 days a year.


A valid National Parks pass is required to enter the park. Entry and service fees are charged at most national parks and national historic sites.



During the summer, the park offers a semi-serviced campground. Hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts, as well as gasoline, groceries, and other services, are available in communities surrounding the park.

To reserve a campsite in the park, visit the 24-hour Internet service at www.pccamping.ca or dial toll free 1-877-737-3783 (1-877-RESERVE) (12 hours/day), TTY: 1-866-787-6221. If you are calling from abroad, the international number is 1-450-505-8302.

Stay safe

Safety for visitors:

Safety for the Wildlife:


Go next

Routes through Elk Island National Park

Jasper Edmonton  W  E  Vegreville Saskatoon

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, March 06, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.