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Elk Island National Park

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Elk Island National Park

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Elk Island National Park is a park in Edmonton Capital Region of Alberta, Canada. It is to the east of Edmonton, near Vegreville.


With the exception of the Serengeti Plains of Africa, Elk Island National Park has higher densities of hoofed mammals per square kilometer than any other wild area in the world!


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[edit]

Elk Island National Park is located approximately one hour from Edmonton city centre, via Highway 16 East (Yellowhead). The park is open 365 days a year and is an excellent location to view wildlife, play a round of golf, hike or walk a trail, or just relax. A valid National Parks pass is required to enter the park.

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. [1]


Entry and service fees are charged at most national parks and national historic sites, where revenues are kept to support visitor services and facilities. This means that every time you visit a park or site you are investing in its future — and in a legacy for future generations. Current fee information is available at [2]

Get around[edit]

See[edit][add listing]

It is worth checking in at the Visitor Information Center in order to get up to date information on the location of animals. Hayburger and Simmons are considered the best for seeing animals, although there are often bison at the roadside. There are more animals in the southern portion of the park, with far more moose and the herd of woods bison present there.

Do[edit][add listing]

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

The park is relatively far from services, and so it is better to bring any food to be prepared. There is a small grill at the golf course.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

To reserve a campsite in the park, visit the 24-hour Internet service at 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.

The park has 5 oTENTiks, tent like permanent structures that can sleep six.

Stay safe[edit]

Safety for the Visitor:

  • SAFETY FIRST - View wildlife from a safe distance and vantage point.
  • REMAIN IN YOUR VEHICLE to view wildlife on roadways.
  • SLOW DOWN when wildlife are near the roadside.
  • OBSERVE the 60 km/hr speed limit on the Elk Island Parkway.
  • AT ALL TIMES, MAINTAIN A DISTANCE OF 100 metres from moose, elk, deer and bison. Visitors are discouraged from bicycling on Park trails in wet spring weather conditions and during the rut (breeding season for ungulates) from late July through to the autumn.
  • Become familiar with the natural hazards of the Park, be properly equipped, and well prepared (knowledge, skills, fitness) for wildlife viewing activities such as hiking, walking, and cross-country skiing.
  • Report aggressive wildlife to Parks Canada staff. Check with Parks Canada staff for information and safety warnings. Respect area and trail closures. Trails and areas are occasionally closed due to aggressive wildlife, poor trail conditions, on-going management activity, or other hazards. Entering a closed area is an offence under the National Parks General Regulations.

Safety for the Wildlife:

  • Do not feed the wildlife. Poor health and premature death can result from wildlife consuming food other than their natural food supply. It is forbidden to feed, touch, or attract wild animals with food or bait.
  • Resist the temptation to pick wildflowers, cattails, berries, mushrooms, or any other plant item. Plant matter and natural objects such as antlers and bones are part of the natural food supply for wildlife.
  • Dogs and other domestic animals must be kept leashed and under physical control at all times when in a National Park. Loose domestic animals present a hazard to wildlife, as they are prone to chase and molest wildlife; they also present a public safety hazard.
  • It is an offense to lure, disturb, chase or molest wildlife in a National Park; penalties can range as high as $5000 or six months in jail.


Get out[edit]

Routes through Elk Island National Park
JasperEdmonton  W noframe E  VegrevilleSaskatoon

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