Carson-Pegasus Provincial Park, near Whitecourt, boasts beautiful forested and lakeside campsites, paddling, and walking trails.
Sun peeks through the clouds as we arrive at Carson-Pegasus park’s peninsula campground. It’s been raining off and on all day, so the small sandy beach is deserted. As I set up the tent, my kids race to the playground and climb to the top for an awesome view of McLeod Lake. Within seconds, they locate the loons we’ve been hearing; their haunting calls are beautiful and eerie at the same time. We watch the loons dive for fish, then guess where they will pop up (they can stay underwater for a few minutes!).
Watching the loons has made us eager to fish! With fishing rods and tackle boxes in hand, we make our way to the “seawall” to try our luck. McLeod Lake is regularly stocked with rainbow trout and holds the record for the biggest trout in Alberta! Fellow campers tell us we’ll do better in a boat, but one woman caught a rainbow from shore earlier in the day. Before we get any bites, however, a thunderstorm rolls in, driving everyone back to their campsites.
The next day promises to be a hot one, so we drive into Whitecourt to hit the River Slides at Rotary Park. It’s the perfect place to cool off with two long waterslides built on a hill – and it’s free (bring your own tube)! Rotary Park also has a spray park, fishing pond (for kids 16 & under), concession, and amazing playground with Alberta’s tallest outdoor playground structure. We slide, splash, bask in the sun to warm up, climb, and repeat – pausing only for lunch and ice cream.
Evening finds us around the fire, happily tuckered out. While the sun dips lower in the sky, a mama loon fishes for her baby near shore. Sights like this sure beat TV!
On our last day in the park, we explore the trails and make a quick stop at Little McLeod Lake. We would love to return to Carson-Pegasus on a sunny weekend (it rained every day except the day we visited Rotary Park), and get out on the water!
Carson-Pegasus Campground has 182 power/unserviced campsites including 27 pull-through sites. Many of the campsites are lakeside, so you can easily launch a canoe or kayak. If you aren’t near the water, there are two boat launches in the campground. For a wilderness experience, reserve one of 15 walk-in tent sites at the end of the peninsula.
Amenities include: Boat launches, Firewood Sales, Fish Cleaning Stations, Flush Toilets (Temporarily Closed – see AB Parks for updates), Grocery/Camp Store, Pay Phone, Playgrounds, Sewage Disposal ($), Showers (Temporarily Closed – see AB Parks for updates)
For more details, visit Alberta Parks – Carson-Pegasus Campground.
Know Before You Go
McLeod Lake is usually stocked with rainbow trout in May. You can check the Alberta Stocking Report here.
There is a 12 km/h speed limit on McLeod Lake. Please slow down around the swimming area and seawall.
Little McLeod Lake is five kilometres from the campground. There are no walking trails here, and there is only a hand launch, so the lake is best suited for canoes or kayaks. Electric motors are permitted.
Things to Do near Whitecourt
- Whitecourt & District Forest Interpretive Centre / Visitor Centre: Explore the historic buildings and museum/visitor centre, geocache, and walk the nature trails. There are clean washrooms and an RV dump station here too.
- Rotary Park Outdoor Water Park (Spray Park & River Slides): Bring tubes, pump, and water shoes. Free! Get Google Map Directions here.
- Float the McLeod River: The 5.5 km float takes 2.5-4 hrs depending on water levels. See a map of the route at Woodlands County | McLeod River Tubing.
- Hard Luck Falls and Canyon: This short, but pretty hike is only 20 minutes from Whitecourt. It’s a 350 metre walk past a beaver pond, to the stairs (100!) that lead into the canyon and waterfall viewpoint. You can make a loop back to the parking area. 820 metres round trip.
- Whitecourt Mountain Bike Park has a dirt jump track, pump track, and flow trail. For more info, please see Trailforks.
Carson-Pegasus Provincial Park is located 2 1/4 hours northwest of Edmonton, or 5 hours northwest of Calgary, near the town of Whitecourt.
More Campgrounds near Edmonton
- Aspen Beach Provincial Park
- Astotin Lake Campground, Elk Island National Park
- Camping in David Thompson Country
- Miquelon Lake Provincial Park
- Pelican Point Campground, Buffalo Lake
- Red Lodge Provincial Park
- Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park