The vast expanse of sun-sparkled water is almost too much for the senses to take in. Endless white sand beaches stream away in opposite directions. Your toes can’t wait to wiggle. Welcome to Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park, a mere 2.5 hour drive north of Edmonton and home to the largest auto accessible lake in Alberta.
Nestled in northern Alberta’s boreal forest, Lesser Slave Lake covers 1,160 sq km (448 sq mi). Small towns, beach resorts, campgrounds, and marinas are dotted along its shores. Boating, waterskiing, sailing, windsurfing, swimming, paddling, fishing – pick one or pick them all.
Devonshire Beach is a popular point of entry. You can walk to it on a paved trail along Hwy 88 from the town of Slave Lake, which anchors the southeast corner of the lake and has everything you need for your stay. Take part in the annual Alberta Open Sand Sculpture Championship & Beach Volleyball Tournament in July. Sleep in a lakeside cabin or reserve a site at the Martin River Campground.
Hike up to Marten Mountain Viewpoint for a spectacular overlook of the lake. Then, take the trailhead to secluded Lily Lake and fish for brook trout. Follow the Whispering Sands Trail to learn about the ancient beach ridge and sand dunes that have been shifting for 1,500 years.
Fish and fowl, forest to shore – here’s your Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park checklist!
Trans Canada Trail
This section of Canada’s longest continuous recreational trail follows the shoreline for 23 km (14 mi) and provides fantastic views of the lake and surrounding forest. Walk, cycle or hike to experience excellent wildlife viewing opportunities!
Fishing is a way of life on Lesser Slave Lake. Tournaments abound in places like Faust, Joussard and Slave Lake but the annual Golden Walleye Classic is the granddaddy of them all. Anglers are drawn from around the world with the lure of a $100,000 payout. Head to Shaw’s Point Resort near High Prairie at the end of August.
Visit the amazing Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation, a unique research and education facility dedicated to the study of the world of birds and their relationship with the boreal forest. Tour the Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory where researchers will introduce you to the tiny migratory songbirds that take refuge here. Calling all birdwatchers for spring and fall migrations: more than 254 species on the checklist! Come in early June for the Annual Songbird Festival.