A Spring Guide to Making the Most of Your Trip to Elk Island National Park

Imagine clomping along Elk Island National Park and mistaking a resting bison minding its own business for a mound of rock like the one right here. The park is one of North America’s best places to view this animal, so much so that we have dedicated an entire gallery to bison photography.

Bovine-watching aside, here’s how to elevate your spring trip to the island park.

Walk Along the Trails

There are about 21 hiking trails at Elk Island National Park, and they all get a lot of foot traffic. The Astotin Lake Shoreline Trail is also paved, so it’s highly accessible, except for a few steep inclines. 

If you don’t have a lot of experience hiking, we recommend the Living Waters Boardwalk Trail, which only takes 30 minutes to complete. If you’re an old hand, might we suggest the Wood Bison Trail? It’s our favourite spot for wildlife photography and can take five hours to finish.

Take a Trip on the Wild Side

Take a trip on the wild side, literally. There’s a reason we are partial to this national park. It’s a great place to watch bison, elks, birds, white-tailed deer, and many other small and large animals

If you have time to spare, grab a seat near—but not too near—dense foliage and wait for the animals to appear. Keep your distance even if your patience pays off and you spot one of these animals; it’s mutually dangerous and disruptive to their life system.

Back to the Beach!

We don’t know about you, but it’s officially back to the beach season for us. Lounge on the sandy expanse on the shore or venture out into the lake during the day. You can also visit the park with the fam for a picnic, an activity facilitated by many tables and shelters.

On a serious note, wear a flotation device when you’re close to the water because this isn’t a conventional beach, so there are no lifeguards to come to the rescue.

Set Up Camp

There aren’t enough hours in the day to explore everything Elk Island National Park offers, especially because we spend a third of it sleeping. All the more reason to reserve a campsite while one is still available.

We recommend the Astotin Lake Campground, but it fills up fast. Fortunately, the park also has yurts, cabins, and other camp-like accommodations for singles and couples, that you can explore and try out on your days-long trip.

Bring the Elk Island National Park Home

You can live in the moment or immortalize it by bringing a piece of it home. Visit Jardene Photography to scroll through nature photography prints captured in Alberta’s national parks and lakes. Our photography shop in Calgary caters to all parts of North America, the UK, and some parts of Europe.

Get in touch for special orders and more.

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