Hear roaring in the summer and whistling in the fall. Sound like a strange experience for a national park? It is. The lion-like roars of the bull bison in summer and the high-pitched whistling of rutting elk in the fall are sounds you’re unlikely to forget.
Elk Island National Park is second only to the Serengeti for the most hoofed wildlife. Feel the thrill of seeing wild bison in their natural habitat. Watch for herds of elk, and the white tailed deer and moose that roam the park. Observe the antics of the industrious beaver building a dam. If you’re in luck, you’ll spot the elusive coyote. The park protects 224 known Aboriginal sites and the aspen parkland, one of Canada’s most endangered habitats.
The abundance of animals means unbelievable photo ops. Watch for them on 80 km (50 mi) of trails along meadows, marshes, lakes, parkland, and even quicksand. Have a picnic on the beach, stroll through historic buildings or sleep under the stars - all less than an hour from
Bison. Beaver. Birds. Bivouacs. Here’s your insider Elk Island National Park checklist!
For the birds
Welcome to a birders’ paradise, where you’ll have a chance to check 253 species off your list. White pelicans spend the summer on Astotin Lake. Watch for the beautiful but endangered
who find safe haven here.
The park has loads of activities for
explorers-in-training. Guided discovery walks teach kids the importance of conservation. The star gazing and theatre programs are favorites. Wee ones love the playground and building sandcastles on the beach.
Floatin’ in Astotin
Sandy Beach campground at Astotin Lake is the only place in the park where you can camp overnight. Space is limited, so reserve ahead at
Where the buffalo roam
Take a tour of the
bison handling facility
and see how the great beasts are managed.
Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area is Elk Island’s next door neighbour. Together they share the new
Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve, so make like Vincent and find a starry, starry night.
Under the thatched roof of the
Ukrainian Pioneer Home, check out the artifacts from the original settlers. Stroll around the Pavilion, the horse barn and the Superintendent's residence, built in the 1930s.
Winter is the best time to spot elk and moose, as they forage for food among the leafless trees. Hit the snowy trails on
cross-country skis or snowshoes. You can even set up camp in the snow!