North Buck Lake Provincial Recreation Area in Alberta is one of the most serene places to spend your vacations at. With its many bays and coves, one can easily and willingly disconnect from the man-made world, only to connect with the world ruled by mother nature. With the presence of the lake in all its sparkling glory, one of the most sought-out activities at North Buck Provincial Recreational Area is fishing and water sports.
The striking natural features of North Buck Lake has made it a focal point of activities at the local and regional level. The access to this beautiful secluded area was actually a result of the fur trade when a trading post provided a gateway to the north.
Now the area serves as a recreational park and an excellent getaway for families, especially with young children. The campground is family friendly and serves as a popular spot for RV campers because of its many amenities. The beach area boasts a splendid view, and all the campsites are comfortably grassy and well-treed. The surrounding area is covered by boreal forest, offering a very northerly and remote vibe to campers.
A survey in 1987, revealed that the North Buck Lake offered the most value for its fishing, natural setting, clean water, and good boating experiences.
North Buck Lake is located immediately to the north of the hamlet of Caslan and 180 km northeast of the city of Edmonton. To be precise, the recreational area is located on the edge of the County of Athabasca and Improvement District No. 18.
If you are coming from Edmonton, then take Highway 28 north towards Highway 63. From Highway 63, travel north all the way to its junction that head towards Secondary Road 633. Turn east from there and drive until you reach Caslan.
Again, find the junction and drive north on Secondary Road 855, and you’ll find yourself skirting the east side of North Buck Lake Provincial Recreation Area. On your way, you’ll get to catch a glimpse of the beautiful north with its boreal forests and mountains far far away.
The campground at North Buck Provincial Recreation Area is home to 125 campsites. 95 campsites are unserviced, whereas 30 campsites are powered with either 15 or 30 amp electric hookups. All the campsites are suited for recreational vehicles and equipped with picnic tables and fire pits. Firewood is also available within campgrounds.
The campground at North Buck is divided into five sections and spread out in different locations throughout the recreational area. Some of the sites are always in high demand for their exclusive location next to the lake and beautiful scenic views. Those seeking a little more shade and privacy can opt for campsites close to the boreal forest area.
The campground also provides quick access to the sandy beach, swimming areas, boat launch, horseshoe pitch, and fish cleaning area. In the nearby town of North Buck Lake, the campers will find a small grocery store with freshly baked items and deli snacks.
Drinking water is available at the campground via a hand pump. However, the authorities recommend bringing your own drinking water. The amenities and facilities are well-maintained with a friendly staff making for a comfortable and enjoyable stay.
The almost 20 square km. lake frontage is simply too enticing to pass up for most boating enthusiasts. The lake calls campers towards its placid waters for a spot of fun-filled water-based activities. Since boating is one of the most popular and sought-after recreational activities here, the area comes with two boat launches to prevent a crowd from forming. There are no boating restrictions in the recreational area, except for a portion of the lake that is marked off limits. In certain parts of the lake, powerboats are also restricted to a top speed of 12 km/hour. Kayak, canoe, sail, paddleboard, water-ski, or boat your way around this beautiful lake enjoying its many shorelines and abundant wildlife and beauty.
Even the icy weather of Alberta can’t stop anglers from hunting for fish. Whether it be summer or winter, fishing has always been a top activity for those living and visiting this neck of the woods. Hunting good-sized northern pike, burbot, and perch is always a challenge for anglers and makes for a fun and rewarding activity. Make sure to bring your fishing license. Walleye is also indigenous to the lake, although other species of fish have been added to the lake water over the years. The aquatic vegetation at the shoreline also provides an excellent habitat for waterfowl and yellow perch.
The water in North Buck Lake remains clear throughout the year and provides an excellent spot for swimming. However, lately the vegetation at the shore is growing fast and there are weeds that might disturb swimmers in certain parts of the lake. Most spots, however, are still perfect for swimming and some locals would be more than happy to share in on these secret locations. In the late summer, the population of blue and green algae also increases, so stay aware and ask for the best spots before diving in.
The rich vegetation around North Buck Lake consists of plenty of flora with wild mushrooms and berries found near the woodlands and marshes. This fun activity can lead you through trails that wind through these often dense boreal forests in search of edible mushroom and berries. Make it into a challenging game and see who collects the most and watch the time simply fly by.
There is an abundance of bird life on the lake, on the shores, and deep within the boreal forest surrounding North Buck Lake. The shoreline is a perfect spot for birdwatchers to stay on the lookout for nesting birds but from a safe distance. At the north end of the lake, there is a huge Great Blue Heron colony. Back in 1985, 27 active nests were spotted in the area. Campers have also located an Osprey nesting site on the northwest side of the main basin. Some upland species at North Buck Recreational Area include sharp-tailed, spruce, and ruffed grouse.
The lake and the surrounding area provides an excellent habitat and diverse ecosystem home to many species of wildlife. There’s a healthy population of elk, moose, white-tailed deer, mule deer, and other ungulates. Campers staying overnight often rejoice at the howls and hauntingly beautiful calls of loons and coyotes near the lake. Campers have also reported having come across many beavers collecting fallen wood and building banks around the many streams that run into the lake. Turkey and prairie chicken are also often spotted in the bushy areas of the forest.