Paddling or Rafting the Milk River
The Milk River, which flows past the Writing on Stone campground, offers float and paddle trips for all skill levels:
- A nice, short paddle is from Weir Bridge to Writing on Stone Provincial Park (10 km). Get more ideas from Mark’s Guide for Alberta Paddlers.
- There is a great 2-3 day trip from Milk River to Writing on Stone Provincial Park (73 km). Sections of this trip have rock gardens and rapids, so it is not recommended for beginners. Leigh at Hike Bike Travel has a good writeup of the trip here.
Scenery is superb as you paddle past hoodoos and high escarpments.
Milk River Raft Tours
- Canoe rentals, river tours, shuttle service and vehicle storage
- Phone Ken & Wendy Brown: (403) 647-3586
Karen’s Canoe Service
|Writing on Stone Provincial Park|
|Kids and hoodoos|
Rock Art & First Nations’ History
|Beckie, our interpreter, points out ancient rock art|
|Shields indicate this rock art is from before 1730.|
Birding & Wildlife Viewing
|Baby robins near our campsite|
Writing on Stone Provincial Park Campground will soon become one of your favorite campgrounds! We talked to several families who have been going there for years. The top two things everyone loves are the hoodoos and the beach! We felt the same and also loved the towering cottonwoods that shade the campsites, showers, Visitor Information Centre (lots of hands on exhibits), and cold treats from the Hoodoo Hut (campground store).
|Part of an exhibit in the Visitor Information Centre|
There are 45 power sites and 19 unserviced sites as well as 3 comfort camping units in this beautiful, high demand campground. Book 90 days in advance to save your spot, or go in the off season! *Group campsites may be booked in February for the whole camping season. Details here.
Writing on Stone Provincial Park’s campground is open year round. Power is available year round in power sites, but water is shut off in September.
|Writing on Stone Provincial Park Campsite|
|Writing on Stone Provincial Park Beach|
|Get slushees and popsicles at the Hoodoo Hut Camp Store|
|Writing on Stone Campground Map|
When to Go
Spring and fall are the best times to visit Writing on Stone Provincial Park if you plan on spending lots of time around the hoodoos. For paddling, May until August are typically great (check flow levels before you go).
|Spring wildflowers at Writing on Stone|
Know Before You Go
- The campground and tours book up quickly during peak season (May long weekend to Labour Day), so book in advance!
- The nearest town is Milk River (42 km away), but some essentials (ice, firewood, snacks) are available at the campground store. The campground store accepts cash, debit, and credit cards.
- There is no cell phone service in the campground, but there is cell phone service and free wifi at the Visitor Information Centre.
- There are rattlesnakes in the park. If you see one (or any other kind of snake), give it space so it has an escape route. They are poisonous, but will leave you alone if you leave them alone. More information on rattlesnake safety is available here.
- On average, it is 10 degrees warmer in the hoodoos, so plan to visit them in the morning during summer months.
- Due to livestock upstream, the fecal coliform levels in the Milk River can be high in late summer. Check advisories and swim at your own risk.
- No lifeguard on duty at the beach. Keep children within arm’s reach!
- Rafting and paddling conditions vary throughout the season. Check water levels before you go and research your route carefully.
Writing on Stone Provincial Park is 340 km southeast of Calgary.
En route, visit the Nanton grain elevators, Claresholm Museum & Visitor Information Centre, Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden in Lethbridge, The NWMP Fort Museum at Fort Macleod (get tickets to the NWMP Musical Ride!), or Devil’s Coulee Dinosaur Heritage Museum in Warner. All attractions are on or close to the highway.
Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site is a worthwhile and fascinating detour (34 km round trip) if you have a couple hours to spare.
|Claresholm Museum & Visitor Information Centre|
|Nanton Grain Elevators|
|Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge|
|NWMP Fort Museum, Fort Macleod|
Writing on Stone Provincial Park is an Alberta treasure that has been nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Put it on your bucket list; it’s worth the drive!
What do you like best about Writing on Stone Provincial Park?