Summer is here, and with that comes one of Alberta’s favourite summer pastimes: camping! The trailer is packed, the dog has its leash, and the kids are ready to go – all that’s missing is the perfect camping spot. Have no fear! We’ve put together an adventurous list of campgrounds and hiking trails waiting for you to explore, just 2 hours from Calgary in Newell Region.
Where to Stay
Kinbrook Island Provincial Park
Camp right beside the largest and warmest manmade lake in Alberta! Kinbrook Island is located right beside beautiful Lake Newell, perfect for any family who is looking to breathe in some fresh air and explore the outdoors. Dig your toes in the sand, or make a splash in the water – this lake is your playground. What kind of activities are waiting for you to enjoy? We’re glad you asked. Try exciting, memory-making moments such as canoeing/kayaking, fishing, wind surfing, birding, sailing and much more. Planning to be coming back this winter? The fun doesn’t stop when the snow falls. Activities such as cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling will be ready for your next winter excursion.
Chief Crowfoot Tipi Village at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park
Enjoy the experience of a life time, with a Chief Crowfoot Tipi stay. Get a firsthand glimpse of the incredible history and culture of the First Nations peoples, as you spend the night in a traditional Tipi on the Canadian prairies. Campers have full access to all of Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park’s amenities including tours, the gallery, library, dance performances and various other surprises that await. Dive into an authentic cultural experience like no other, all while creating special family memories that will last a lifetime. Looking to spend more than one night? You and your family are more than welcome. Shower facilities and food options are available for smaller groups, or you can bring your own food from home. A historical sleep in an authentic setting, this adventure of a lifetime is one of the most unique accommodations in Canada.
Dinosaur Provincial Park
Take the whole family into a prehistoric world, right here in Newell. The Badlands are waiting for you to discover authentic dinosaur digs, camping under the stars, fossils, unique wildlife and so much more. Live the life of a Dinosaur Paleontologist and camp in canvas wall tents, or keep your experience on the traditional side with both power and non-power campsites. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is your family’s opportunity to discover everything that nature and dinosaurs have to offer. Want to keep coming back? This provincial park is open year-round.
Tillebrook Provincial Park Campground
Your quiet oasis awaits at Tillebrook Provincial Park. Surrounded by prairie grasslands, this campground is your unique getaway for a relaxing and peaceful escape from the city. Enjoy camping and hiking right within the park, plus take a day trip down to Dinosaur Provincial Park or Kinbrook Island to for some exciting day excursions. Want to visit a colossal piece of history? The Brook Aqueduct is just a short distance from Tillebrook. This historic site has stretched the limits of technology and engineering design of its time. Soak up all there is to offer at your new home away from home in Tillebrook.
Where to Play
The Kinbrook Marsh Nature Trails
Explore trails both within and outside the park as you dive into nature on The Kinbrook Marsh Nature Trails. The main trail is located just outside of the park, equipped with washrooms, a picnic area as well as an information billboard. Observation decks are also located nearby, so you can let your eyes soar while you explore. A secondary trail is available inside the park. Take this route if you’re looking for a sandy beach, picnic areas, a boat launch, a playground, a concession and a campground. A large portion of the trail is fully developed with sections of boardwalk and well-groomed dirt paths.
Located in the beautiful community of Brooks, your easy walking extravaganza awaits. A paved recreation pathway connects the areas of the park, providing the perfect lake environment while you make your way through the trails. Loop around the entirety of the lake with various benches throughout the trails, for you to rest up, and enjoy birdwatching and sightseeing on your journey. The trail is great for a variety of activities including hiking, biking, and jogging – plus it’s wheelchair and stroller friendly. Grab lunch to go from one of the many Brooks dining options and enjoy a family picnic at one of the park’s picnic areas or let the kids jump, swing and climb at the playground.
Dinosaur Provincial Park
Decided to have a prehistoric party at Dinosaur Provincial Park? Perfect. This area is packed with both guided and self-guided tours throughout a variety of trails. Self-guided trails include information signs, viewing decks, fossil houses, and benches perfect for sightseeing. Here’s a list of the self-guided trails you can sink your teeth into:
The Prairie Trail: A 300-metre loop around the grassland area of the park. Enjoy a view of the Badlands from a large cliff-side viewpoint.
The Coulee Viewpoint: A 1 km loop explores a coulee valley, filled with beautiful views of caves, hoodoos, sinkholes, popcorn rock, rock lichens, and rills.
Badlands Trail: This 1.3 km trail explores the environment of the Badlands. This trail is the only one that visits the Nature Preserve and is excellent for anyone seeking a bit of adventure. Follow the path into a canyon surrounded by hoodoos and coulees.
Fossil Hunters Trail: This 1 km one-way trail leads up to an old rock quarry, and provides fossil seekers the opportunity to discover the life of a fossil hunter. Over 300 fossils have been recorded in the park, what will you find?
Cottonwood Flats Trail: A 1.5 km loop trail that explores the prairie grasslands and leads up into a grove of cottonwood trees on the edge of Red Deer River.
Know before you go: It is important to prepare before exploring the Badlands. Temperatures can get extremely hot, so prepare with water, sunglasses and a hat. Wear proper footwear and pack rain gear as weather can be unpredictable.
Watch your step! Rattlesnakes are in this region, so proceed with caution. Cactus, scorpions and black widow spiders are also in the area, so be careful what you touch and do not stick your hands or feet into any holes or crevices.
Centrosaurus Quarry Hike
Located in Dinosaur Provincial Park, this moderate to difficult guided tour lasts 2.5 hours. Discover what gave Dinosaur Provincial Park its world-famous title as you explore rough streambeds and sandstone ridges on your journey to a former dig site. All explorers must be over the age of seven for this adventure. Pets are not permitted for this exhibition, and the trail is not wheelchair accessible. As with all Badlands adventures, prepare for your journey. Come equipped with water, sunglasses, a hat, sturdy and closed toe and heel footwear, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Ready to hike like a real Paleontologist? We’ll see you there!
Start planning your next family weekend adventure just east of Calgary!