Fun Times at Crimson Lake Provincial Park

by - Sunday, September 11, 2016

"You should go camping near Rocky Mountain House! You would love it!" a friend exclaimed many years ago. I didn't believe her as Rocky Mountain House wasn't in the mountains. What would I do there? Three words: Beach, cycling, and paddling! There are also some cool attractions in the area worth checking out. On our recent trip to Crimson Lake, 15 kilometres from Rocky, our only regret was not staying longer.

Camping

CRIMSON LAKE

With a sandy beach, showers, playgrounds, biking/walking trails, coin laundry, camping store, picnic shelters, boat launch, amphitheatre programs, and beach volleyball, you could easily spend several days at Crimson Lake Campground.

Crimson Lake's campsites were on the larger side with good privacy and shade thanks to all the trees! We found the sites and washrooms to be very clean.

Unserviced, power, and wheelchair accessible sites are available at Crimson Lake. You may reserve through Alberta Parks or try for a first come, first served site, but I recommend booking a site as this campground is quite popular!

For canoe or pedal boat rentals, contact Still Waters Canoe Rentals at 403-418-8207. Laura and her husband (who are also your super-friendly Campground Hosts) would be happy to help you out.

Crimson Lake Provincial Park Playground - My kids loved playing in the sand!
Crimson Lake Provincial Park Campsite
TWIN LAKES

For more rustic camping (no showers or hookups) at a smaller campground, stay at Twin Lakes.

Twin Lakes has 39 unserviced sites with water pumps and pit toilets. It also has a great boardwalk trail, docks perfect for fishing off of, and a boat launch. A quiet alternative to Crimson Lake, not far from Rocky Mountain House.

Activities

We went to Crimson Lake for beach time and paddling and weren't disappointed. The beach is sandy with warm, shallow water in the swimming area. You can walk for metres until the water is chest high! Note: Keep a close eye on little ones; there is no lifeguard on duty. 

If you paddle, head to Raspberry Island (pull up on the SW corner of the island) and then make your way around Crimson Lake. On our visit, there were very few powerboats, so the water was calm, and we enjoyed the chatter of loons. You can also paddle at Twin Lakes, about 6 km from Crimson Lake Campground.

There are several options for biking/walking:
  • Amerada Trail: This 10 km gravel trail goes around Crimson Lake. It has ups and downs, but no huge hills. Kilometre markers let you know how far you've gone. Hiking with Barry has a detailed trip report here: Amerada Trail - Crimson Lake.
  • Beaver Pond: About 1.5 km from the Crimson Lake Day Use Area via Amerada Trail.
  • Bike from Crimson Lake to Twin Lakes: About 7 km one way. Rolling trail best suited to riders on 20" bikes or larger. 
  • Twin Lakes Boardwalk & Twin Lake Island: The boardwalk takes you through marshland with good opportunities for bird and wildflower viewing. *Please don't pick wildflowers.*
  • There's also a network of trails on the SE side of Crimson Lake near Loops D & F.
See the Crimson Lake Provincial Park map here.

There are two playgrounds at Crimson Lake Provincial Park: one near the beach; and a nice, big nature playground near Loop G.

Planning on fishing? Nearby Twin Lakes is stocked with rainbow trout, but the lake also has a illegally introduced perch that are slowly taking over the lake. Check Alberta Fishing Regulations for catch limits. 

Last but not least, the campground does a great job with family and evening programming. During the summer, they have events such as Pond Dipping, Art in the Park, and Sunday night movies. We hope to check these out next time!

Amerada Trail, Crimson Lake Provincial Park
Crimson Lake Provincial Park Beach
Crimson Lake Provincial Park Beach
Paddling at Crimson Lake
Raspberry Island
Paddling on Crimson Lake - Raspberry Island at left.
Twin Lakes Day Use Area & Twin Lakes Island, Crimson Lake Provincial Park
Map showing distance from Crimson Lake to Twin Lakes
If you're feeling ambitious, bike all the way to Rocky Mountain House!

Nearby Attractions

  • Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site is worth a stop if you're in the area and is free to visit if you have a National Parks Annual Discovery Pass. Allow 2-4 hours to check out the indoor exhibits, then take the walking trails to the Play Fort, archaeological ruins of 4 forts, and the bison paddock. Kids will love the half hour puppet show (2 pm daily, summer only)! For more details, see the park's hours and events listings. 13.5 km from Crimson Lake Campground.
  • Wilderness Village: This nearby resort has a free petting zoo open 9 am - 9 pm, pony rides ($5) and trail rides ($). 1.2 km from Crimson Lake Campground.
Play Fort at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site

Bottom Line

We would happily return to Crimson Lake Provincial Park for paddling, beach time, and cycling! The beach was wonderful, the water was just right for swimming, and boardwalks are always fun for the kids. 

If you're planning your next road trip, Crimson would make a great base camp for exploring David Thompson Country with its proximity to Rocky Mountain House.

Related Posts

You May Also Like

0 comments

Join the conversation!