“Look up there mom! There’s a bird in that huge nest! I think it’s an osprey!” my daughter crows from the backseat as we drive in to Beauvais Lake Provincial Park. When we check in at the campground, the Conservation Officer confirms it was indeed an osprey nest and informs us there are more of these impressive raptors, bald eagles, and more in the park.
|Our Beauvais Lake campsite|
Besides being home to birds, bears, deer, moose, and elk, Beauvais Lake Provincial Park is a wonderful camping destination. Campsites are a decent size surrounded by trees for shade and privacy; there’s good fishing, paddling and hiking; and there are tons of fun interpretive programs. The park is located 20 minutes west of Pincher Creek, and 22 minutes east of Castle Provincial Park. Read more about Castle Provincial Park in this story: Camping in Castle Provincial Park.
|Beauvais Lake dock|
|Beauvais Lake Campground Playground|
While we we check out the exhibits set up at the North Shore Day Use Area and prepare ourselves for the Locked Tent program (like an Escape Room but in a tent!), I ask Sabrina, Alberta Parks Interpreter, about hiking trails in the park. “Mount Albert Viewpoint is a really beautiful spot,” she tells us. It’s only 3.5 kilometres to a scenic viewpoint of the foothills and Rocky Mountains. For a more leisurely stroll, hike Chipman Creek Trail past wetlands to a boardwalk near critical nesting habitat (1.8 km to boardwalk). Piney Point takes you up switchbacks to a viewpoint above the lake, 1.4 km from Beaver Creek Day Use. We decide on Chipman Creek Trail and Scott’s Point (1 km loop).
|Scott’s Point Trail, Beauvais Lake Provincial Park|
|Chipman Creek Trail, Beauvais Lake Provincial Park|
For paddling, “the north side [of the lake] is nice with the wetlands” and is best visited in early summer when the area is closed to motorboats (from April 1 to July 10) so as not to disturb nesting waterfowl. With a 12 km/hr speed limit on Beauvais Lake, we don’t have to worry about speedboats, but Sabrina recommends going in the morning or at sunset when the water is calmest.
|North Shore Day Use Area, Beauvais Lake Provincial Park|
|Getting ready for the Locked Tent interpretive program,
Beauvais Lake Provincial Park
On this rainy day, we are happy to be in the picnic shelter for an interpretive program. The kids color animal tracks, handle casts of tracks, and pick up big bear paws. Once we feel sufficiently prepared, we go into the tent and Sabrina locks us in. We have an hour to solve clues and escape. Sabrina has warned us some items are clues and some are distractions. Giggling, we search the tent for anything that might help us escape and work together to free ourselves. Some parts are tricky, but the whole Locked Tent experience is fun! We escape with time to spare thanks to sharp eyes and good teamwork. We highly recommend it! To see the current offerings at Beauvais Lake Provincial Park, visit Alberta Parks | Beauvais Lake Provincial Park | Activities & Events.
|We escaped the Locked Tent! Thanks Sabrina for the super fun activity!|
Other fun things to do at Beauvais Lake include:
- Bird watching: over 180 species of birds have been spotted at Beauvais Lake. Bring a field guide or use a birding app to identify birds on the Alberta Parks | Beauvais Lake Birding Checklist. For more information on Merlin Bird ID, a free birding app by Cornell University, please read our story: Birding with the Merlin Bird ID App.
- Camping: The main campground has 77 power and unserviced sites that have lots of tree cover and privacy. The campground is a short walk from the lake. Cell phone service: yes. Showers: no.
- Walk-in camping: 10 first come, first served walk-in tent sites are available past the North Shore Day Use Area (3 km from the main campground). Sites are only 20 metres from the parking area, in the trees, and near the lake.
- Fishing: Beauvais Lake is stocked with Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout. Check Alberta Fishing Regulations for more information.
- Mountain Biking: Most of the hiking trails can also be biked. Please note that bears are commonly seen in the park, so you should bike with a buddy, make noise, and carry bear spray.
- Picnicking: Beaver Creek Day Use and North Shore Day Use Areas have picnic shelters and outhouses. North Shore Day Use also has a playground (park on the side of the road and walk down stairs to the day use area).
- Stargazing: Beauvais Lake’s skies are rated Class 3 on the Bortle Scale (measures how dark the sky is on a scale of 1-9 with 1 being the darkest), so stargazing and astrophotography are pretty good here. Check out my tips on first time astrophotography here.
|Stargazing at Beauvais Lake Provincial Park is pretty good thanks to fairly dark skies.|
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in this quiet campground and will definitely camp here again.
Things to Do Nearby
Castle Provincial Park offers several interpretive programs such as Fishing for Fun, Mindfulness in the Mountains, Staying Found (how not to get lost), and Water Walk-er (wetlands walk). Visit Alberta Parks | Castle Provincial Park | Activities & Events for more information. 22 minutes from Beauvais Lake.
Pincher Creek (20 minutes away)
- Enjoy local produce and baking at the Pincher Pioneer Country Market. Fridays from 11 am – 2 pm at Memorial Arena until October.
- With 24 heritage buildings and two museum buildings, Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village shows what life was like in the late 1800s.
|Heritage Acres Farm Museum|
Heritage Acres Farm Museum, Alberta’s largest independent agricultural museum, puts on some fun annual events such as the Annual Show and RCMP Musical Ride, and Quilt and Flowers Show. The Zoeteman/Vogelaar Barn is also a great wedding venue. For more information, visit https://www.heritageacres.org/. Closed Sundays. 28 minutes from campground.
|Lundbreck Falls, Alberta|
Lundbreck Falls offers rustic camping along the Crowsnest River, a short walk from the beautiful 12-metre high falls. Enjoy fishing and wading here, and stay a night so you can explore nearby Crowsnest Pass. Read more in our story: Camping at Lundbreck Falls, Alberta. 28 minutes from campground.
The Fort Museum, Fort MacLeod is worth a visit on the way to or from Beauvais Lake Provincial Park. Kids will enjoy completing the scavenger hunt to earn a prize, feeding the pygmy goats, and watching the unofficial but awesome NWMP Musical Ride (extra charge). 47 minutes from Beauvais Lake.
Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump showcases Plains Buffalo culture of the last 6,000 years. Discover what life was like before the railway, and how trade impacted the local First Nations and buffalo. Allow 2-3 hours to watch the overview film, explore the interpretive centre, and walk the trails. 52 minutes from campground.
We recommend taking Highway 2 and making a short detour to Fort MacLeod to check out The Fort Museum and NWMP Musical Ride on your way down.
You can also drive to/from Beauvais Lake via the scenic Cowboy Trail (Highway 22). Driving time is about the same as taking Highway 2. Discover more in our story: Exploring Alberta’s Cowboy Trail.
Return via Highway 785 and Highway 2 so you can visit Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. Heritage Acres Farm Museum and the Oldman Dam are also along Highway 785.