Wildhorse Lake Provincial Recreation Area is is situated along the eastern slopes of the Canadian Alberta Rockies, a short distance southwest of Hinton, Alberta. This provincial park boasts several small mountain lakes. Kinky Lake and the Wildhorse Lakes are small, quiet, and picturesque, with excellent trout fishing from an electric motorized or non-motorized boat. You may find them a bit chilly for swimming, due to the high altitude they are situated at, but what they lack in warmth is more than made up for in natural beauty. The parks and surrounding region are well treed and provide habitat for abundant wildlife. Plenty of informal trails attract hikers and mountain bikers to the vicinity. The magnificent mountains of Jasper Park are visible from the recreation area and campsites, and the pristine wilderness and local terrain create a fantastic backdrop for nature lovers. Spectacular Jasper National Park is just a short distance away, and makes a terrific day trip destination for RVers camping at the Provincial Park. In addition the nearby town of Hinton has plenty of stores, amenities, attractions and services allowing campers to easily stock up on supplies or enjoy some recreation. Wildhorse Lake Provincial Recreation Area has two overnight campsites with RV access and sites, and a day use area providing amenities for RV campers who visit the recreation area.
Wildhorse Lake Provincial Campground is easily accessed for campers with RVs. It is conveniently located 24 kilometers (15 miles) west of Hinton, Alberta, and 75 kilometers (46.6 miles) east of Jasper, Alberta. Plenty of amenities and services are available in nearby Hinton for RV owners. The access road to Wildhorse Lake Recreation area has about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) of gravel surface, so take your time, and go slow to avoid washboard that can be hard on your vehicle. You can take Highway 16, also referred to as the Yellowhead Highway, west from the City of Edmonton to reach Hinton or east from British Columbia and the Jasper National Park to reach the access road to the Provincial Park and campsites. The recreation area and Provincial Park is accessed from an unnamed road that is located about 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) west of the outskirts of Hinton. Watch carefully for signage directing RV campers to the park. The access road branches north off the main Yellowhead Highway. The Yellowhead Highway, Highway 16, is a four lane paved highway that extends from Jasper in the west to Lloydminster in the east of the province, and connects to main travel routes that extend into the neighboring provinces of British Columbia and Saskatchewan. It is well paved and maintained for RV travel.
Wildhorse Lake Campground is open May 1 to October 31, but access by RVs is limited to May 6 to September 25. There are 23 sites available, 19 of which are suitable for RVs, with the remaining being walk in tent sites. Amenities at the campground include firepits, fish cleaning stations, a pier, picnic tables, outdoor pit toilets, and a water pump. Firewood is also available, but check local websites for fire bans which are occasionally in effect in this heavily wooded campground. The waterpump is hand operated, and it is recommended that campers bring their own drinking water supply. There is a beach at the campsite, however the lake is cold for swimming. Boating is permitted on the lake however watercraft must be non-motorized or electric motor boats. The lake has a variety of trout species for fishing. Reservations are available by phone only, be sure to check the size of your chosen site and accessibility for your RV when reserving, as the size of sites and the RVs they can accommodate are not available online. There are no serviced sites available.
Kinky Lake has 10 unserviced sites with views of the lake and surrounding mountains, and heavily treed surroundings. There is a boat launch, fire pits, fish cleaning stations, outdoor pit toilets, and firewood available. A hand pump provides water, but campers are advised to bring their own drinking water. Boats on the lake must be non-motorized, e.g. kayaks, canoes, or row boats, or electric motored. The lake has several species of trout, and is a popular fishing spot, although due to the high altitude and cold water, swimming is limited. Fires may be restricted when local fire bans are in affect. Reservations can be made by phone and RV sites may be tight for large RVs so be sure to enquire when booking. Although the campground is open from the beginning of May until October, access for RVs may be limited until the first week of May and after the last week of September, with walk in campsites available for non-peak season dates.
The several picturesque small lakes in the Wildhorse Recreation Area are attractive to local fishers and visiting campers alike. Be sure to have a fishing licence for Alberta and be aware of fishing restrictions, including maximum number and minimum size of catch for the lake before commencing fishing activities. To ensure a peaceful, tranquil environment, gas powered watercraft are not permitted on the lake. Non-motorized watercraft such as canoes and kayaks or electric motored boats are allowed for fishing purposes, or you can try your hand at fishing from the shoreline or pier. The lake has a variety of trout species including Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, and Brown Trout. Fish cleaning stations are situated at both campgrounds for your convenience.
This heavily forested recreation area has informal hiking and mountain biking trails that boast spectacular scenery including the Canadian Rocky Mountains of nearby Jasper National Park. Be sure to let someone know you are venturing out on these natural trails before departing as the terrain is heavily forested, and can be confusing if you are not familiar with the area. If you are cycling ensure you have appropriate safety gear, especially a helmet. The trails can be rough as they are unmaintained. There are some altitude changes in the area and lots of wildlife including large predators, such as bears and mountain lions, so be aware of your surroundings, and choose a trail that is appropriate for your ability level.
Because there are no gas powered boats allowed on the lake, an ideal environment is preserved for canoeing and kayaking. With the heavy forested areas surrounding the lake and the mountains in the background you will enjoy some unique and breathtaking scenery while out on the lake. Watch for wildlife along the shoreline, including migratory birds, moose, deer and the occasional bear. Keep your distance from predators and large prey animals which can be dangerous if threatened or startled.
RV campsites are not accessible during winter months when the lake is frozen, however you can still fish even when the lake is frozen solid, it just takes a different approach! Ice fishers still require a valid fishing license for the area, so make sure yours is current or obtain one for the appropriate year. Specialized ice fishing gear is a necessity. You will require an auger to make a hole in the ice and a shorter pole is usually used when fishing through a hole in the ice. A shelter or wind break, small propane stove, and warm winter gear is recommended. Remember, trout beneath the ice surface are just as tasty!
If you like hiking in this beautiful forested area near the mountains, you may enjoy snowshoeing too. Snow in this area can be heavy, and snowshoes keep you from breaking through the deep snow on the lake and on the informal trails in the area. Be sure to be well kitted up with winter survival gear for long treks and warm outerwear even for short excursions, as the winter temperatures in the area is well below the freezing mark. Also, be sure the lake is solidly frozen before venturing out on the ice, as thin ice near the shoreline or where running water is present can pose a hazard.
Although there are no tracks set in the region, adventurous cross country skiers can set their own. As with any winter sport, be sure to have warm, breathable winter gear. Cross country skiers work up a sweat, especially when breaking trail, and you don’t want to get damp in frigid weather. Wear layers that can be shed when you start to overheat. Check ice conditions when skiing on the lake to ensure that it is frozen to an appropriate thickness.