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The 5 Best Parks for Camping in Calgary

The 5 Best Parks for Camping in Calgary

Camping is a popular pastime for Calgarians who need a break from city life. It’s partly because we have some of the best parks for camping in the country!

If you want to try the experience yourself, check out our guide to the top camping parks below.

The Best Parks for Camping in Calgary

Before you proceed, here are the criteria we used in selecting our entries:

Features – The best camping parks must have convenient features and amenities for campers. Within their boundaries, they must have a large venue for campsites and visitor destination sites, as well as amenities such as tents, picnic tables, benches, and even washrooms.
Outdoor activities – The best camping parks must provide a variety of outdoor activities to campers. It must have a campsite with easy access to fun features like rocks, trees, and creeks.
Safety – The best camping parks must be able to prioritize the safety of their campers by having safety officers or management on-site.
Accessibility – The best camping park should have, if not a lot, at least an easy access point. They should also be reachable by a convenient mode of transportation.

We categorized the parks based on which ones allow overnight stays and which ones are for day camping (no overnight camping) only. 

Our top two selections feature camping grounds that are fit for overnight camping and related outdoor activities. The remaining parks, due to their landscape and features, are more recommended for light recreational day adventures and day camping. 

1. Clearwater Park

Clearwater Park's Banner
TestInfo
TYPEOvernight and day campsite
WEBSITEhttps://www.calgary.ca/parks/clearwater-park.html
ADDRESS241050 Clearwater Dr, Calgary, AB T3Z 2V4, Canada
CONTACT DETAILS311 or 403-268-2489
OPERATING HOURSMonday - Sunday: 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
PRICES$114.40/day
Capacity: 100 persons
Campsite area/size: 40 acres
Campsites accessible by car: Yes
Toilets: Pump-out
On-site teepees: Yes
Firewood provided: Yes
Tables provided: Yes
Special Feature: Fenced space on banks of Elbow River
Features5/5
Outdoor activities3/5
Safety5/5
Accessibility 4/5

Clearwater Park is one of the best camping spots in Calgary because they clearly value their natural resources. The place always goes through a lot of development to preserve its natural beauty for the benefit of future campers.

There are many other reasons why our entire team agreed they’re the best. They primarily provide the ideal camping site that many Calgary residents anticipate, which is what drove many people to them in the first place.

To begin with, the park is large with a 100-person camping site capacity and approximately 40 acres of space. This totally gives plenty of room for group or team building activities and, of course, for additional camping tents.

About that, the park already has on-site teepees and other features such as picnic tables, pump-out toilets, and in-ground fire rings for the campers’ convenience. These resources are all essentials and we appreciate that they’re accessible here.

Picnicking and walking are obvious activities in the park, and because the area is surrounded by a river, you can also go river swimming. Not to mention taking a lot of group photos and selfies, as the place is absolutely stunning!

Unfortunately, Clearwater Park is not entirely free of charge, as admission is $114.40 per day – quite steep for a reservation, so that’s one drawback. We also recommend that you book early to avoid big crowds of campers.

Pros

  • 100-person site campsite capacity
  • Secluded area
  • Essential campsite resources available 
  • 40 acres of space
  • Landscape allows for many activities
  • Easy to access

Cons

  • Reservation-only site
  • High admission  

Peaceful, great spot to walk

Great spot to walk alone or with a dog, very peaceful along the river despite the noise of Highway 8 to the south. Found some intriguing “decorations” in the woods. Will visit again. – Cend Thorgasm

2. Nose Hill Park

Nose Hill Park's Banner
TestInfo
TYPEOvernight and day campsite
WEBSITEhttps://www.calgary.ca/parks/nose-hill-park.html
ADDRESS5620 14 St NW, Calgary, AB T3K 2P6, Canada
CONTACT DETAILS+1 403-268-2489
OPERATING HOURSMonday - Sunday: 5:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Campsite area/size: 1129 hectares
Campsites accessible by car: Yes
Toilets: Pump-out
Hiking trails: Yes
Tables provided: No
Wildlife: Yes
Special Feature: Off-leash area for dogs
Features4/5
Outdoor activities5/5
Safety3/5
Accessibility 5/5

Nose Hill Park is a great place to camp in Calgary if you want to see the grassland ecosystem of the Canadian prairies and are fine with day-camping. The location is very popular for that, especially among those who live in the 12 residential communities surrounding the park.

The area is also well-known among tourists outside of the city for its numerous hiking trails. It also helps that the park is pet-friendly, with off-leash areas for those who want to bring their pets.

The park no longer allows night camping, however. At least visitors can still enjoy it during the day which isn’t so bad, in our opinion. 

Besides that, you can leave your tent during your stay to engage in recreational activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and, of course, sightseeing.

Seeing the sights is the best thing to do in the park, made evident by countless tourist photos with the park as the backdrop. From the top, you can see not only downtown Calgary, but also the Rocky Mountains, the Bow River Valley, and the Calgary Airport.

Another thing that makes it ideal to camp in the park is the abundance of access points. There are numerous entrances to the park (one off Shaganappi Trail, one off John Laurie, and four along 14th Street).

Overall, Nose Hill Park is a fantastic place to hang out with your friends and do a variety of activities. If we’re being honest, there aren’t many amenities for daytime camping though.

Pros

  • Natural environmental park 
  • Built for day-time camping
  • Pet-friendly
  • Perfect for sightseeing
  • Easily accessible
  • Numerous hiking trails 

Cons

  • Limited camping amenities
  • Limited bathrooms

Natural scenery, great place

Absolutely beautiful! The pathways run in all directions, making it a “new” experience everytime! You can either stick to the pathways (great for biking), or walk the “beaten path”. Most of the park is off-leash, which is great for the fur-baby to run around and burn off lots of energy. Great place for fabulous photos with all the beautiful wildflowers and natural scenery…worth getting a plant identifier app just to check out what you’re seeing. – Diana Stewart

Gorgeous views

Easily my favourite place to visit in the NW when you just want to go for a walk, enjoy the fresh air or take in the gorgeous views this park has to offer from every direction. Experienced some of the best sunrises and sunsets here and love to bring new people here whenever I’m showing someone around Calgary. – Saania Zehra Jamal

3. Fish Creek Provincial Park

Fish Creek Provincial Park's Banner
TestInfo
TYPEDay campsite
WEBSITEhttps://albertaparks.ca/parks/kananaskis/fish-creek-pp/
ADDRESS2300 Fish Creek Blvd, Calgary, AB T2Y 0L1, Canada
CONTACT DETAILS+1 403-297-5293
OPERATING HOURSMonday - Sunday: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
PRICESFree admission, except for the Sikome Lake area
Campsite area/size: 40 acres
Campsites accessible by car: Yes
Toilets: Pump-out
Wildlife: Yes
Firewood provided: Yes
Tables provided: Yes
Special Feature: Numerous paved pathways for walking
Features4/5
Outdoor activities4/5
Safety5/5
Accessibility 3/5

Fish Creek Provincial Park is one of the best places in town for outdoor recreation. Though there isn’t any camping at the park, there are numerous day-use areas with a variety of amenities.

This provides visitors with a variety of activities, ranging from bird watching, boating, and fishing to hiking, picnicking, and even rollerblading. This is all thanks to the park’s many paved pathways and roads, which is also why the park is popular for walking.

On another note, the location is convenient, as it is a beautiful park right in the heart of the city. There are plenty of parking spaces, so even if you go on a weekend trip when the park may be crowded, you’ll have plenty of room for you and your family.

Safety is also among our top concerns, and this park met our standards. We appreciate how frequently they update their website with public safety advisories and notices about the area, keeping interested visitors informed.

They also have safety officers on the field in case of wildlife sightings, giving visitors complete peace of mind while they enjoy the park.

Lastly, Fish Creek Provincial Park is free to access, so all you have to worry about are food and other necessary items you want to bring with you. However, the Sikome Lake area in the park requires admission.

Pros

  • Numerous day-use areas
  • Ideal for outdoor activities
  • Convenient location
  • Public safety advisories available online 
  • Safety officers on the field
  • Free access

Cons

  • Admission is required in Sikome Lake area
  • Washrooms may be locked up to one hour prior to posted times

Calgary classic

Ah yes. Good ol’ Fish Creek Park. This is another Calgary classic. Great for walking, running, biking, bird-watching, fishing, picnicking, etc. It’s surprisingly large. It’s actually one of the largest urban parks in North America and the second-largest urban park in Canada. And it’s the only provincial park in Calgary’s city limits. Just one more reason why Calgary is the most livable city. Ever. – RC

Great place for fresh air

Absolutely beautiful tranquil park with lots of trails and access to the creek. Great place to find shade and fresh air during hot summer days! – Michael Mihhailov

4. Pearce Estate Park

Pearce Estate Park's Banner
TestInfo
TYPEDay campsite
WEBSITEhttps://www.calgary.ca/parks/pearce-estate-park.html
ADDRESS1440 17a St SE, Calgary, AB T2G 4T9, Canada
CONTACT DETAILS+1 403-268-2489
OPERATING HOURSMonday - Sunday: 5:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Campsite area/size: 21 hectares 
Campsites accessible by car: Yes
Toilets: Pump-out
Hiking trails: Yes
Firewood provided: No
Tables provided: Yes
Picnic sites: Yes
Special feature: Shaded playground for kids
Features4/5
Outdoor activities4/5
Safety3/5
Accessibility 4/5

Pearce Estate Park is quite small, compared to other parks on this list, with only a 15-hectare wetland area (21 hectares when combined with the adjacent provincially operated Bow Habitat Station). 

However, the place remains a wonderful camping site for various reasons.

The park has picnic sites available at no charge, which pretty much explains why people like to go there for picnicking. However, it is “first come, first served” basis, though you can reserve a spot ahead of time if you hate fighting over spots. 

In our opinion, Pearce Estate Park is very much an ideal place for camping, as it is a small, secluded area that offers some peace and quiet. Not to mention, you can enjoy a solo trail guide where you can get up close and personal with nature and wildlife.

If you instead want to spend time with your friends or children, you can also do that. In fact, the park has a little playground with a nice variety of equipment and big trees for plenty of shade.

When it comes to daytime camping, the park does not have any specific amenities, so consider bringing your own tents. However, if you want to go full-on camping, there are numerous camping sites near the park.

All in all, it’s clear that there are numerous things to see and do at this park. Though not so much when it comes to camping, it’s ideal if you want a glimpse of what it’s like to sleep and play in the wild.

Pros

  • Picnic sites with tables available for free
  • Secluded area 
  • Has a solo trail guide
  • Shaded play area available

Cons

  • Relatively small as a campsite

Great time especially for picnics

Beautiful park with access to a trail that will take you towards the East Village. This park and surrounding area are beautiful anytime of the year but fall is a great time to visit too especially for picnics. Check out the kids trout pond where they can learn to fish and the Bow Habitat Station is also close by. Lots of dogs walking with their humans so if you need a bit of dog-fix, this is the place. – K’s Adventures

So quiet, good for the kids

This is my first time to visit this place, called Pearce Estate Park in calgary AB. This place was so quite and amazing place. Good for the kids to walk and play. It is very cool under the trees.  U can book for picnic cause they have a bbq stand ang bench. You can bring your dog as well if you have or can walk close to the river. The water was so clean and clear. Recommended yes!! – muffie Orcino

5. Beaverdam Flats

Beaverdam Flats Banner
TestInfo
TYPEDay campsite
WEBSITEhttps://albertaparks.ca/parks/kananaskis/fish-creek-pp/
ADDRESS3A6, Bow River Pathway, Calgary, AB, Canada
CONTACT DETAILS+1 403-268-2489
OPERATING HOURSMonday - Friday: 5:00 AM - 11:00 PM
PRICESFree admission, except for the Sikome Lake area
Campsite area/size: 43 hectares
Campsites accessible by car: Yes
Benches: Yes
Packages offered plus additional services
Firewood provided: No
Tables provided: No
Hiking trails: Yes
Special feature:  Close to the old river channel
Features4/5
Outdoor activities4/5
Safety3/5
Accessibility 3/5

Beaver Dam Flats is the place to go camping if you want to fully immerse yourself in nature. The park has many natural features, so a day camping in the area means plenty of outdoor activities.

Obviously, beaver sightings are a distinct possibility in the area (the name of the park might’ve given it away). You can also watch out for diving ducks and the old river channel for dabbling ducks.

The park also has easy access to many trails, including the Bow River and the trails that run alongside it. This is why the place is quite popular among hikers and even amateur campers who just want to check them out.

Camping in the park is alright, though there aren’t many amenities available. There is a campground available for camping, but tents and tables are not provided – benches are available for free use, fortunately.

The location’s access to the river is extremely limited, especially if you and your company are not particularly agile. That’s why if you’re not skilled enough or don’t have anyone to accompany you, it’s best to just go river sightseeing.

Overall, there are a lot of natural things to do in Beaver Dam Flats, though camping isn’t as prevalent as one might expect. However, because it offers free admission and is undoubtedly a free type of camping, it’s still as appealing as the rest.

Pros

  • Has many natural features
  • Plenty of outdoor activities
  • Campground is free of admission
  • Benches are available for free use
  • Great access to river

Cons

  • Tents and picnic tables are not provided
  • Poor river access for unskilled campers
  • Little amenities for camping

Nice view, great place

“Great place to walk with hour dog or by yourself theres multiple paths and nice view as well as some wildlife great place for the family also has good trails for biking” – Jonathon Martin

Lovely place to see nature

A very scenic though lesser known, so less visited park but therefore a lovely quiet place to walk and see nature. Lots of bird life. Lots of deer. – James Mott

FAQs About Camping in Calgary