Payne Lake Provincial Recreation Area | Outdoorsy

Payne Lake Provincial Recreation Area


If you’re looking for scenic mountains dotted with white snow and carpeted with mixed forest, all beside a pristine lake, then look no further. Located in the Albertan wilderness, in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains, this park offers a truly natural experience in one of the most untouched areas in the country.

The on-site campground offers visitors the option to choose spots that are located either on the shore of the lake or within the natural privacy offered by the Park’s majestic forest. The lake offers wonderful fishing opportunities for trout and many other species and the forests offer some of the best hiking trails in the province.

The lake is a popular spot for water sports enthusiasts as well. In addition to fishing for trout, you can also sail, windsurf, canoe, or kayak on the lake. There are a few vendors located nearby, so you can rent all the equipment you will need to properly enjoy the splendor of the lake.

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RV Rentals in Payne Lake Provincial Recreation Area



Payne Lake Provincial Recreation Area is located 25 km west of Cardston and 18 km east of Waterton Lakes National Park. The only road which has access to the Park is Hwy. 5. The roads leading to the park and the ones inside are reasonably wide although heavily wooded.


Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Payne Lake Provincial Recreation Area

Campsites in Payne Lake Provincial Recreation Area

First-come first-served

Payne Lake Provincial Recreation Area Campground

Payne Lake Provincial Recreation Area campground has facilities to accommodate RV campers with 46 unserviced sites that offer no electric, water or sewage hook up. With no reservation system in place, the campground is available on a first come, first serve basis.

You will have to arrange for any water you may need to use for drinking, cooking, and washing. As per park rules, water is available through taps and pumps on site but it is only to be used to put out campfires.

Restrooms facilities are available on site, and firewood can be purchased from the front office. The campground has direct access to a pier and boat launch services.

Seasonal activities in Payne Lake Provincial Recreation Area



The Park’s lake, with views of the impressive Rocky Mountains and the lush green forest, is enough to entice the strongest of people. You’ll want to grab your canoe or kayak, and just row out on to the water to be one with nature. Take your fishing rod along with you and see if you’re lucky enough to catch a trout. If you don’t have your own canoe or kayak (or fishing equipment) there are vendors close to the area who you can rent from. The front office of the Park might also be able to guide you on the best rental options so be sure to check in with them.


The lake located inside Payne Lake Provincial Recreation Area offers one of the best fishing experiences you’ll ever have the pleasure of seeing. While it may not be anything to boast about as a premier spot or even one of the best, one cannot deny that it truly does offer an experience with untouched nature. Delight your family with a BBQ using your day’s catch of trout.

During the winter, the Park stays open for ice fishing as well. Carve out a hole in the ice and enjoy the solitude of a winter wonderland, taking in views of the snow flaked forest and mountains.


When you think of the words “summer” and “lake”, swimming is always going to be a favorite activity. There are designated spots along the shore of the lake (with markers) where you can swim and enjoy the water on a hot summer’s day. For health and safety reasons, you should only swim during the day as there are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks. Adults should ensure that children have the proper equipment at all times and they are never left unattended.


Water Sports

Where there’s a lake, there is at least one man always soaring across the surface of the water in a Jet Ski or speedboat. Luckily, the park allows visitors to power boat, sail and wind surf on the lake. The mix of adrenaline-pumping activities with the picturesque setting is an odd but welcome experience. Vendors in the area will have the equipment you need to make the experience as enjoyable, and safe, as possible.

Wildlife Viewing

Payne Lake and the surrounding areas are home to a variety of Albertan wildlife. While there, you’re bound to encounter elk, foxes, and both white-tailed and mule deer. The area also has a number of black bears, and if you’re lucky, you might see them while out on the lake for a canoe ride. The lake itself is also a nesting ground for a variety of birds including Canadian Geese. In pursuing this activity, the utmost caution must be taken and all safety and security measures must be in place. Coyotes are a genuine risk in the area, and encounters should be avoided at all costs. Before setting out on a hike or a wildlife viewing run, please consult with the front office to ensure the safest experience for you and your family.


Nestled in a forest wonderland with views of picturesque mountains, this is a must hike destination! Hiking enthusiasts are known to visit the site from time to time. Be sure to check with the front office for hiking trail statuses and maps. Also, ensure that you’re aware of any and all safety measures that you need to take on your hike. It may be beautiful, but the wilderness is no joking matter and wildlife is always a concern. Make sure you hike in groups and stay along the designated routes so as to avoid any wildlife encounters and to minimize direct interaction with animals.