The Elk Island National Park is located about 35 kilometers from the Albertan Capital City of Edmonton. Beautiful and full of lush greenery, this national park is home to the American bison.
Situated in the Beaver-hills area, this conservation provides shelter for wintering herds of elk, bison and moose since times immemorial.
Bison and Bison Conservation
Elk Island National Park has been preserving bison since 1907. The Canadian government bought close to 400 bison to Elk Island. With varied changes in the ecosystem, there were migrations and transfers of bison from Elk Island to other national parks. In 2007, the wood bison population in Elk Island National Park was estimated at 315.
About the National Park
Located: 48 kms from Edmonton City Centre
Entry Fee: 7.50 (per adult)
Elk Island National Park is open 24 hours a day all year around. Its main entrance, the south gate, is located approximately 48km from Edmonton’s city centre, via Highway 16 East (Yellowhead). Best time to visit is July to September to experience the Bison activity.
The picture below is the bison loop. Here you can see bison in their natural habitat, moving across the national park.
Its a stunning scene in the summer time to witness such a natural activity, on top of an open jeep.
While crossing the loop, ensure you slow down your vehicles and stop, allow the bison to pass at their own pace.
There are winter and summer activities that you can do, such as camping, hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, wildlife gazing, golfing, kayaking/canoeing and mountain biking. Fires are allowed in designated fire pits.
Within the boundaries of Elk Island National Park, lies the Beaver Hill – dark sky reserve. Beaver Hills and the nearby Astotin Lake is a wonderful location for stargazers and Northern Lights chasers. Learn more about Stargazing at the Beaver Hills here
A very unique way to experience the beauty of the Elk Island National Park is taking a Sunset and Full Moon Tour. Conducted by Haskin Canoe, this is one of a kind experience. The tour lasts 2-2.5 hours, is subjected to weather restrictions, but is totally worth it to sign up for. Learn more Haskin Canoe’s tours here
Things to know:
- Closest Airport: YEG – Edmonton International Airport
- Located 75 kms from the Airport.
- Entry fees apply. Check the fees on ParksCanada website here
- Camping, kayaking, bird watching are common activities
- Carry mosquito and bug repellents on visit
- Bison Conservation and Bison Loop
- Beaver Hills – Stargazing event that occurs every September
- Haskin Canoe – Full Moon and Sunset Tours (occurs on one Saturday, each month from June to October)