Chain Lakes Provincial Recreation Area is located towards the lower Chain Lakes and is smaller in size compared to several other parks in Alberta. This recreation area is extremely quiet, peaceful, and private.
The verdant surroundings and the campsites looking out towards the island on the lake makes it a perfect destination for a variety of activities with friends and families. This recreation area is unlike others as it is more appropriate for quiet gatherings, meaningful conversations and comfortable silences as opposed to loud and raucous partying.
It has all the characteristic beauty of Alberta: green grasslands, dense woodlands, and the shimmering lakes that this area is renowned for. Activities at the park include fishing from the lakeshore or by boat, swimming in the cool and placid lake waters or just laying on the beach enjoying some truly hard-to-find peace. Chain Lakes Provincial Recreation Area may not be the most happening place, but that is what attracts the attention of so many campers who are looking for some quality time with nature.
The best time to visit this small and beautiful recreation area is in summer. Other than a few rainstorms, the weather remains dry and warm and you can spend days at this scenic refuge. For some peace, quiet and complete serenity visit Chain Lakes Provincial Recreational Area!
Chain Lakes Provincial Recreation Area is located around 50 km (31 miles) from Athabasca and takes nearly an hour to reach the park from there. When driving from Athabasca, turn right on the Northern Woods and keep driving straight for the next 16 km (10 miles). Then turn right onto Range Rd 242 A, turn towards the Township Road 681 and then take a right onto Township Road 682.
From there, look for the signs of the Island and you’ll find yourself onto Range Road 235 B. Drive for another 3 km (1.86 miles) until you see the lake on your left and signs for the park entrance.
Chain Lakes Lower Recreation Area has a small campground with 21 campsites. All the campsites are unserviced and without electricity. You can either enjoy a primitive style camping experience or you can bring Solar RVs for electricity. People of all ages are allowed on the campsite as well as leashed pets.
Every campsite has a fire pit and a grill. The campground also has facilities such as boat launch, fish cleaning station, water pump, and pit/vault toilets. Firewood is not provided on the premises, so it is best to bring your own or you’ll be without fire.
Campsites are provided on a first come first serve basis.
The Athabasca region is surrounded by natural beauty and unique topography. While there are no marked trails, campers can still take a nature walk and admire the varying landscape of the region. This area of Alberta has glacial origins, which can be clearly seen in the manner in which the valley has been carved to create a rich and fertile stretch of land abundant with lakes, streams, dense woodlands and rolling grassy hills. The boreal forest surrounds the area with a scattering of white spruce. Birches, balsam fir, alders, and willows can also be spotted in the surrounding woodlands, making for some truly amazing outdoor adventures.
There are at least 55 species of mammals that call the Athabasca region home. Many of these animals often wander into Chain Lakes Recreation Area out of curiosity or in the search for food. During the stay, the campers might catch a glimpse of small mammals such as hares and rabbits, chipmunks, Franklin ground squirrels, red squirrels, and various other squirrel species.
Beaver, moose, wolves, fox, black bear, raccoon, mink, lynx, and white-tailed deer are just some of the larger wildlife that frequent the area.
With such a green landscape, the area is extremely friendly to birds. It is also secluded and private enough for campers to watch birds closely and in peace without spooking them. Some of the common birds that are frequently in the region are loons, osprey, bald eagles, as well as migratory waterfowl. The flora and fauna, especially during the summertime, bring in plenty of migratory birds that take refuge in the woods and feed off the lake's rich waters.
The deep blue Chain Lakes and the Island in the distance offer such a mesmerizing sight that it is truly a struggle to not want to go closer to it - or better yet, float on its surface. Good thing the recreation area is completely equipped for powerboating and canoeing and offers a boat launch area to campers.
Stay clear of other boaters as most campers prefer to fish from their canoes and boats and do not like to be disturbed.
All that easy access to water means you can also take a cool dip during the summers and enjoy the peace and calm that only swimming in clear water can provide. There are no lifeguards and no designated area for swimming at Chain Lakes Recreation Area but the waters close to the shore are shallow and sandy enough for wading comfortably. Campers can swim wherever you want; it is advised, however, to keep an eye on every member of your party for safety reasons.
Fishing is one of the top activities at this small and private getaway. The small portion of the lake is stocked annually and even offers ice fishing in the winters.
Chain Lakes Recreation Area provides a chance for anglers to fish from the shores, canoe, or from an electrically powered boat.
A fish cleaning area is also provided by the authorities. Fish species in the lake include Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Brown Trout, Brook Trout, Bull Trout, Mountain Whitefish, and Northern Pike. Be sure to arrive with your fishing license to enjoy the magnificent fishing experience offered here.