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TheRockies.Life Staff

Embrace The Outdoors: Why Camping is Cooler in the Cold

Alberta's winter camping is about embracing a different kind of outdoor adventure

Our province is one of the best in the world for camping. 

The serene backdrop of the Rockies makes for an unforgettable outdoor adventure.

But don’t take our word for it.

Last summer, Alberta welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors from 36 countries

More than 250,000 camping reservations were made, with a satisfaction rate of almost 90 percent. 

But you are mistaken if you think camping in Alberta can only be enjoyed during the summer. 

Some might even argue that camping is better in the winter.

Cozy fires and no crowds reward intrepid winter campers | Mount Engadine Lodge | Travel Alberta
Cozy fires and no crowds reward intrepid winter campers | Mount Engadine Lodge | Travel Alberta

Why You Should Go Winter Camping

Fewer people tend to go camping in the winter, making it easier to score an awesome campsite.

Instead of people, you will be surrounded by silence: just you, a cracking fire, and the sound of snow falling from the trees.

If you were looking for a date idea for Valentine’s Day, this is your hint – go winter camping.

While you won’t be able to enjoy the usual summer camping activities like swimming, winter opens the door to entirely new opportunities.

You can keep your sweetie toastie around a campfire, and zip your sleeping bags together. 

Why not go snowshoeing or enjoy some ice fishing? 

The best part is that you can enjoy the great outdoors without mosquitoes and other summer pests.

Winter camping is also a great opportunity to see more wildlife. 

Trees that have lost their leaves are like windows into the wilderness, and critters are not as cautious about avoiding people. Plus, wildlife is concentrated in the valley bottoms, where most of the campsites are.

Backcountry huts like those run by the Alpine Club provide remote camping opportunities | Travel Alberta
Backcountry huts like those run by the Alpine Club provide remote camping opportunities | Travel Alberta

Where To Go Winter Camping 

Winter camping can be enjoyed across the province’s Crown lands, including provincial campgrounds and public and vacant land.

There are 26 front-country and 45 back-country campsites in provincial parks and recreation areas that offer winter camping. 

“We are fortunate to have access to so many winter playgrounds across the province,” commented Todd Loewen, Minister of Forestry and Parks.

If roughing it out isn’t your style, comfort winter camping is offered in Cypress Hills Provincial Park and Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park, Mount Engadine Lodge in Kananaskis or at Refuge Bay northwest of Edmonton.

Comfort camping or glamping lets visitors enjoy the outdoors from the comfort of huts and cabins that are heated and cozy.

If you want to winter camp in style, try glamping or comfort camping like this dome hut at Refuge Bay northwest of Edmonton | Travel Alberta
If you want to winter camp in style, try glamping or comfort camping like this dome hut at Refuge Bay northwest of Edmonton | Travel Alberta

Camping Is A Win For Everyone

If you plan on going camping this winter, plan accordingly. Check local weather reports and keep an eye on any advisories or trail reports.

Give an itinerary to a trusted contact, such as a family member, with your destination and return date. 

Camping isn’t just a big part of our culture; it also plays a vital role in our economy. 

Our province is home to almost 500 provincial parks and recreation areas where visitors can enjoy camping. 

Provincial parks brought in $1 Billion in provincial income and $400 million in labour income and supported close to 9,000 jobs

“I encourage every Albertan to spend as much time as possible outdoors this season,” said Loewen.

“From camping with loved ones in a provincial park to adventuring down your favourite trail, Alberta’s Crown lands offer many opportunities to make memories that will last a lifetime,” he continued.

Summer camping is hot in more ways than one, but camping in the winter provides a unique opportunity to chill out and enjoy the quiet of nature. So, what are you waiting for?

A woman setting up a tent at a winter campsite | Parks Canada | Ryan Bray | Road Trip Alberta
A woman setting up a tent at a winter campsite | Parks Canada | Ryan Bray | Road Trip Alberta

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