Located in Saskatchewan, Prince Albert National Park is home to extensive prairies, parkland and boreal forest. Free-roaming plains bison roam among a variety of wildlife, like timber wolves, moose, elk, caribou, bears and 195 different species of birds. Thought to be the most popular of Canada’s 54 national parks, visitors come to the park in the warmer months to enjoy its lakes and backcountry trails, while visiting in the cooler months to experience the park’s solitude and witness the changing color of the leaves.
The main entrance to the park is 25 miles (40 km) northwest of the city of Prince Albert. The park was established in 1927 and consists of 1,496 square miles (3,875 square km). The park includes lakes (larger lakes like Kingsmere, Waskesiu and Crean as well as numerous smaller lakes), streams and nature trails. The park’s headquarters are in Waskesiu, which is near its eastern boundary.
Summers in the park are typically warm, while not being oppressively hot. The park can be visited throughout the year and you can expect to have very different experiences during the cold months than during the warmer ones.
Prince Albert National Park has a lot to offer to visitors with a variety of interests. Point your RV toward the park and get ready to have some fun!
The small town of Waskesiu is located within Prince Albert National Park and is a popular place to start your adventure. The park and town are easily accessible by paved roads that are open year-round. You can take Highways #3 and #264 (about 90km north of Prince Albert) to the park’s main gate or enjoy the Scenic Route of Highway #263 which will take you to the south gate.
There are several main roads that you can take through the park. The Narrows Road follows Waskesiu Lake’s southern shore and takes you to many points of interest. The road ends at a 200-meter narrows where you will encounter a campground. Scenic Route #263 (also known as Lakeview Drive) offers access to other lakes as well as hiking trails. You can also take Highway #264 to Kingsmere River in order to access a small boat or canoe launch site as well as a trail that will take you through a railway portage to Kingsmere Lake. Highway #55 will allow you to access the park’s west side, which is mostly undeveloped
Parking is available throughout the park.
STC, the provincial bus line, serves Waskesiu; there are daily departures from both Saskatoon and Prince Albert from early May to the beginning of September.
Parking for RV’s and passenger cars is available at the main beach parking area, visitor centre and acoss from the Friends of the Park Bookstore
Beaver Glen Campground is located along the edge of the Waskesiu and offers a wilderness experience, while being only a few minutes from town. The campground offers different site types and sizes, with some sites able to accommodate RV’s and trailers up to 27 feet in length. All of the sites are reservable, with 200 of them providing electrical hookups. Restrooms are available at the campground that offer flush toilets and hot showers and there are centrally located shared camp kitchens. Water and RV dump/fill stations are available at the campground. Each site has a picnic table along with a fire pit. Ten oTENTiks are also available at the campground. These are a combination tent and cabin and have beds inside. Beaver Glen Campground is a great base from which to explore the park!
Another large campground at Prince Albert National Park is Red Deer Campground. Able to accommodate RV’s and trailers up to 35 feet, the campground offers water, sewer and electricity hook-ups at each site. All 161 campsites are able to be reserved and washrooms with flush toilets and hot showers are on site. Each site also includes a picnic table. Red Deer Campground makes a great home base from which to be ready for adventure!
The Narrows Campground is located 25 km from Waskesiu on the Narrows Road. Situated in a mature forest that includes spruce, fur and aspen trees, the campground offers a wilderness experience in the front country. There are 85 sites without hook-ups that are able to accommodate tents as well as RV’s and trailers of up to 27 feet. All sites are first-come-first-served and include a picnic table and fire pit. The campground offers water, washrooms and an RV dump/fill station. The Narrows campground offers easy access to hiking trails, as well as opportunities for swimming, boating and canoeing.
Located on the eastern shore of Sandy Lake near the South Gate of Prince Albert National Park, Sandy Lake campground is within a mature forest of spruce, fir and aspen trees. You can easily access the beach and boat launch facilities from the campground and Sandy Lake is an excellent place to fish for Northern Pike and Walleye. Sites are able to accommodate RV’s and trailers up to 27 ft long and there are also six walk-in tent sites. All sites are first-come-first served and the campground has pit toilets, a fish cleaning station, a camp kitchen and boat launch. Each site offers a picnic table and fire pit.
Located on the shores of Namekus Lake, Namekus Lake campground is 10km south of Waskesiu. Namekus Lake is small and the peaceful campground is a great place to enjoy the nature within Prince Albert National Park. Motorized watercraft are not allowed in the lake, which keeps the campground calm and quiet. Sites can accommodate tents as well as RV’s and trailers up to 24 ft. Each site has a picnic table and fire pit and the campground has pit toilets and a fish-cleaning station.
Prince Albert National Park offers plenty of water to explore, whether you are an experienced paddler or just getting started. You can choose to explore a gentle river or a large lake. Rentals are available, so having your own watercraft is not required. Within the park is the Bagwa Paddling Route, which offers the opportunity to experience what is considered an iconic Canadian canoe trip. This means that you will engaging in a lot of paddling and will carry the canoe on land for a bit. You can even include an overnight camping experience. Canoes and kayaks can be launched on the Kingsmere River and you will then portage on a rail bed to get past a one km set of rapids in order to arrive at Kingsmere Lake. You can then follow the route through multiple backcountry waters. There are four lakeside backcountry campgrounds on the route to choose from and after some rest you can paddle along the Kingsmere Lake Shoreline to complete you water adventure.
A great way to spend time (and take in some beautiful scenery) in Prince Albert National Park is to go for a hike. The park has more than 150 km (93 miles) of hiking trails for you to embark upon, allowing you to experience the park’s diversity. Located in a transition zone between fescue grasslands, aspen parkland and northern boreal forest, there is plenty for you to explore. The park’s 19 trails are of various lengths and levels of difficulty; enjoy a short easy walk, more challenging day hike or an overnight backcountry adventure. There are some steep hills on the trails, but overall there is minimal change in elevation.
During warmer weather months in the park, a visit to the beach is a fun way to spend the day. With multiple beaches available, you can choose the one that best suits your plans for the day. Waskesiu Main Beach, for example, is frequently bustling with activity. If you are looking for a quieter option, consider Point View Beach, where you can have a picnic and enjoy a cool dip in the lake. Paignton Beach is a long white sand beach that ends in a small, sandy peninsula and is considered to be one of Saskatchewan’s most beautiful beaches. You can enjoy beautiful views of Waskesiu Lake and there are a few picnic shelters and even some lakeside fire pits and tables. The large lakes in the park typically become free of ice in the middle to the end of May, with the temperature of the water being suitable for swimming by the end of June through early September. Beaches are unsupervised and swimming is at your own risk.
When the temperature is cooler than you prefer for spending hours outdoors, you can still explore Prince Albert National Park by taking a scenic driving tour. Your drive will allow you to see the varied habitats within the park and potentially view wildlife. The Narrows Road, for example, is a 24 km (15 miles) stretch of road along the shoreline of Waskesiu Lake. The road passes through different vegetation types and you may catch a glimpse of wildlife, particularly in early morning or sundown. The surface of the road is gravel and the road is narrow and curvy. Kingsmere Road is another great route to enjoy the park’s scenery. This road follows the northern shore of Waskesiu Lake for 32.5 km (20.2 miles). Enjoy the view of mixed forest with tall spruce trees, along with sandy embankments. The road is paved for the first 15km (9.3 miles) and becomes gravel after the Heart Lakes Marina entrance.
As the weather cools off you can go ice skating…in Prince Albert National Park! Enjoy a unique experience between mid-December through late March at the small natural skating rink maintained by the Waskesiu Recreation Association. The small rink is located indoors and includes a heated area where you can change into your skates. There are also restrooms and drinking water available. Helmets are recommended while skating and those who want to play hockey on the rink are asked to use balls or sponge pucks so as to not damage the facility.
Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing are great ways to explore Prince Albert National Park in the winter. You will be able to view snow-capped trees as you make your way along one of the park’s trails. This is also an excellent opportunity to possibly encounter some of the park’s wildlife. There are 12 trails of different lengths with varying levels of difficulty that are available for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. For example, Red Deer and Fisher Trails are popular and start in Waskesiu townsite, making them easily accessible to anyone looking for a winter adventure!