Cold Lake Provincial Park, located in Cherry Grove, Alberta, Canada, is a recreational hotspot that sits along the shores of one of Alberta’s largest lakes. Cold Lake is known for its diverse landscape because it is home to spruce and pine forests, marshes and swamps, and sandy beaches. The park is located on both the northern and the southern sections of the lake. People visiting the park can pick from outdoor sporting activities to lakeside strolls complete with scenic viewpoints. Because the area’s landscape changes, visitors can feel as if they are visiting more than one place without leaving the park’s boundaries.
Cold Lake is a favorite place for wildlife watching. Guests who sit quietly and wait patiently may catch a glimpse of a bear, coyote, lynx, deer, or even a moose. Although the larger animals that frequent the park are impressive, the birds are what draw animal lovers to the area. From late May through early June, birdwatchers come to the vicinity to see the birds along their migratory route. The lake is a crucial entry point for neotropical migratory species, and birders clamor to see the different birds, especially the rare warblers. The fall migration, from late July into August is just as impressive as the earlier migration. Gulls, pelicans, and other birds join with Alberta’s largest western grebe colonies, making the park a birder’s paradise once again.
Whether you want to stay at Cold Lake Provincial Park for camping and recreation or you are interested in the diverse animal population, you will find that any reason to visit the park is a good reason, and you should plan to come back more than once!
Cold Lake Provincial Park is located 3.9 miles (6.3 km) east of the town of Cold Lake in Alberta, Canada. The park is located near the Alberta and Saskatchewan border in the central portion of Alberta. The park is 183 miles (296 km) northeast of Edmonton, Alberta and 264 miles (426 km) northwest of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Park guests who are coming for either day use or overnight camping should enter the park near the south shore entrance. The campground and recreational areas are located on Lund’s Point, a peninsula that extends into the southern portion of the lake. Cold Lake Provincial Park does not offer winter camping.
The park is open from 7:00 am until 11:00 pm daily. Park entry and recreation fees vary. Contact the park for more information.
The Cold Lake Provincial Park Campground is a pet-friendly, multi-looped facility offering amenities such as comfort stations with flush toilets, coin-operated showers, a dump station, and drinking water. RV campers may reserve sites with either electric-only or electric and water hookups. Depending on the site you choose, electricity ranges from either 15, 20, or 30-amp. Each space has a fire pit, and a picnic table and campers with RVs and tow vehicles over 60 feet in length will love the sites that accommodate larger rigs. The campground also has amenities such as firewood sales, a playground, a concessionaire, and a fish cleaning station. If you need to use a generator, please respect the park’s quiet hours and silence your generators and other noise-making machinery between 11:00 pm and 7:00 am.
If you enjoy getting outside to explore, then you will like the park’s trail system because it offers a variety of paths to walk or mountain bike. The park has 5.5 miles (9 km) of designated multi-use trails that weave through the campground, along Cold Lake, and past Hail’s Lagoon, as well as another trail that runs along the park’s main road. The park has maps available online for download, or you can stop by the information kiosk to get a map and ask questions about exploring the park on foot or bike.
The beach, located in the day use area, is a place where guests can sit lakefront and enjoy the scenery or jump in the water for a swim. The swimming beach has soft sand, and although the name suggests otherwise, the water isn’t too cold, which makes it perfect for swimming. There is a picnic area, changing facility, restrooms, and a playground located near the beach, so you will find yourself comfortable enough to stay near the water all day if you choose.
During the summer, the park transforms into a place bustling with interpretive programs and special events. The events generally take place during the weekends, and they often extend to the days leading in and out of the weekends to accommodate the park’s many visitors. Activities like drop-in family fun, guided hikes, and painting and art activities paired with concerts, hands-on programs, and other nature-centered events make Cold Lake the place to stay for summertime-family fun. Some of the events are free, while other events have special pricing or require tickets. Visit the website or stop by the park’s information kiosk for details on what is happening during your visit.
Cold Lake Provincial Park is well-known for its diverse bird species. The park’s different landscapes create the ideal habitat for waterfowl, migratory birds, and other bird species. When you visit the park, download the Alberta Birds Checklist, so you are familiar with the types of birds that live in the Cold Lake region. The lake is home to more than 200 different birds, and the area is known for its nesting western grebe colonies, breeding wood warblers, sedge wren, yellow rail, mourning warblers, Canada warblers, thrushes, and mallards.
Once the ground is thick with snow, the park morphs into a winter-wonderland of Nordic activity. While cross country skiing is the most popular wintertime event at Cold Lake Provincial Park, snowshoers also enjoy hiking through the woods or along the packed sides of the cross country skiing trails. The park offers approximately 6 miles (10 km) of groomed trails that vary in difficulty from easy to intermediate rated trails. Bring your warm gear, your skis or snowshoes, and see the park from a serene and snow-covered winter perspective.
If you want to fish, you may fish from the northern section of the park where there is a boat launch, fish cleaning area, a parking lot, and restrooms. The lake’s resident walleye, perch, pike, lake trout, and burbot are abundant during the warmer months as well as during ice fishing season. Alberta residents between the ages of 16 and 65 need a fishing license, and all non-residents regardless of age, must possess a permit before heading to the water. For information on fishing rules and regulations, pick up an Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Guide which is available for print or as a download.