Chinook Provincial Recreation Area
Guide

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Introduction

Featuring fantastic camping facilities and great recreational facilities, Chinook Provincial Recreation Area is a great choice for an RV getaway. The park is known as a gem of Alberta's southern Rockies and has been a very popular destination for both locals and visitors alike for many years.

One of the main reasons why the park is so popular is due to the great recreational opportunities that are on offer thanks to the parks close location to Chinook Lake. The lake is an awesome spot to go swimming, boating, paddling and fishing during the summer months and you will also be able to spot migrating waterfowl out on the lake. Off the lake there are also plenty of hiking trails that are great for both hiking and biking and once the weather takes a turn you can bust out the skis and do some cross country skiing.

If you choose to stay the night at Chinook Provincial Recreation Area you will be pleased to know that there are three different campgrounds available for you to call home. All sites at the campgrounds are primitive and two of the three campgrounds are on a first come, first served basis only. The campgrounds at Chinook Provincial Recreation Area open once the weather clears up, which is usually from May until October.

RV Rentals in Chinook Provincial Recreation Area

Transportation in Chinook Provincial Recreation Area

Driving

Chinook Provincial Recreation Area is located in the south-west region of Alberta right near the border of British Columbia. The park has one main entrance that can be accessed from Crowsnest Highway via Allison Creek Road.

While there is no major city that is in close proximity to the park there are some small towns within a short driving distance that will have most of the services and amenities that you may need to enjoy your stay at the park. Some of the towns close to Chinook Provincial Recreation Area include Crowsnest (around nine miles or 15kms), Blairmore (around 10 miles or 17kms away) and Frank (around 12 miles or 19kms away). The closest city to the park is Calgary, which is around 150 miles (242km) to the north.

Accessing the park should be quite straightforward as the roads in and around the park are paved and kept in good condition. All of the trees near the roads are also trimmed to prevent overhanging branches damaging your RV. During the campgrounds at the park close so you will not have access to any of the amenities within the park.

Parking

There is plenty of parking at Chinook Provincial Recreation Area.

Public Transport

There are no public transportation options that will take you to Chinook Provincial Recreation Area.

Campgrounds and parking in Chinook Provincial Recreation Area

Campsites in Chinook Provincial Recreation Area

Reservations camping

Campground B

Campground B is the medium-sized of the three campgrounds at Chinook Provincial Recreation Area and is located back in the forested area. The campground consists of one small loop and has a total of 22 sites that are known for being quite wide, flat and very private from other neighboring campers thanks to large trees.

All sites at Campground B are primitive with no hookups available. Despite this there are other great amenities in the campground, including
two washrooms and a water pump. The water pump is not recommended for drinking water. There is no dump station or hot showers at Campground B. The campground is also pet friendly and you should be able to get cell phone service on all of the major providers within the campground.

Every site at Campground B is only available via reservation, which can be done online or by calling the park office. The campground is open weather permitting from May until October.

First-come first-served

Campground C

Campground C is the smallest of the three campgrounds available at Chinook Provincial Recreation Area. Campground C is located right on the lake and next to the day-use/picnic area. The campground consists of one small loop and has a total of 13 sites that are known for being quite wide, flat and offering beautiful lakeside views.

All sites at Campground C are primitive with no hookups available. Despite this there are other great amenities in the campground, including
two washrooms, a water pump, boat launch access and walking distance to the sandy beach. The water pump is not recommended for drinking water. There is no dump station or hot showers at Campground C. The campground is also pet friendly and you should be able to get cell phone service on all of the major providers within the campground.

Every site at Campground C is only available via a first come, first served basis. The campground is open weather permitting from May until October.

Campground A

Campground A is the largest of the three campgrounds at Chinook Provincial Recreation Area and is the furthest away from the lake. The campground consists of one large and one small loop and has a total of 59 sites that are known for being quite wide, flat and offering privacy from other neighboring campers thanks to large trees.

All sites at Campground A are primitive with no hookups available. Despite this there are other great amenities in the campground, including
multiple washrooms and a water pump. The water pump is not recommended for drinking water. There is no dump station or hot showers at Campground A. The campground is also pet friendly and you should be able to get cell phone service on all of the major providers within the campground.

Every site at Campground A is available on a first come, first served basis only and self registration can be found near the entrance. The campground is open weather permitting from May until October.

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Chinook Provincial Recreation Area

In-Season

Picnicking

Chinook Provincial Recreation Area has a great day-use/picnic area located next to the east of Campground C. There is a well maintained picnic shelter within the day-use area that is available on a first come, first served basis only. Other amenities in the area include toilets, beach access, firewood and a water pump. If you use the water pump at the day use/picnic area please note that the water is not suitable for drinking.

Boating

Along with using the lake for swimming it is also a very popular destination in the summer time for boating. The park has one small boat launch that is located in front of Campground C but it is only suitable for hand-boat launching of small watercraft such as canoes or kayaks. There are no restrictions on what boats can enter the water and the most popular are fishing boats, kayaks or canoes. If you do want to go boating during your stay remember to bring your own watercraft as no rentals are available.

Swimming

There is no better way to spend a warm summer day at Chinook Provincial Recreation Area than by going for a relaxing swim in the lovely waters of Chinook. The lake has one main sandy beach that is located east of Campground C. The waters are known for being cool and there are no marked areas for swimming. Please note that there are no lifeguards on duty at the park so swim to your ability.

Off-Season

Cross Country Skiing

Chinook Provincial Recreation Area has a fantastic cross country skiing trail system that is available for visitors to the park to use once the snow has settled. Maps for all the cross country skiing trails are available from the park registration area and the trails are groomed by a local ski group. If you want to go skiing during your stay you must bring your own equipment as none will be available for rent from the park.

Fishing

Fishing lovers rejoice! There are some fantastic fishing opportunities for you to enjoy when visiting Chinook Provincial Recreation Area. Chinook Lake offers waters that are great for trout fishing thanks to the lake being stocked with the fish when needed. Along with the lake you can also go fly fishing at Crowsnest River which is only a short drive away. Remember that will need a Alberta fishing license if you want to cast a line, so make sure you pick one up before you arrive at the park.

Hiking

For those looking to hike during their stay at Chinook Provincial Recreation Area you will be pleased to note that the park contains some of the best trails in all of the southern Rockies. In total there are over 21 miles (35km) in trails that are available for you to explore, including many that will challenge you with uphill climbing. If you are looking for a small walk we recommend checking out the trail that will take you along the lakeside. If you love to ride the trails, are also suitable for mountain biking too!

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