Crimson Lake Provincial Park is a recreation area near Rocky Mountain House offering year-round camping, hiking and biking trails, a beach, pier, and boat launch.
The park is split into two nearby sections- the Crimson Lake area and the Twin Lakes area. Both parts of the park have their own campground, day use area, group use area, nature trails, and lake access.
Things to Do at Crimson Lake Provincial Park
Crimson Lake provides plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, no matter the season. Here are some things to do at Crimson Lake Provincial Park.
Spring, Summer and Fall Activities
- hiking, nature walks, trail running
- water sports (swimming, canoeing, kayaking, power boating, wind surfing etc.)
- cross country skiing (there are some groomed ski trails and packed trails maintained for multi-use)
- fat biking
- winter camping
- ice fishing (using off highway vehicles to access the lake is not permitted)
Hiking Trails at Crimson Lake Provincial Park
There are 8 named trails at Crimson Lake Provincial Park ranging from about 0.3 km to 10 km. The majority of trails are at the Crimson Lake area and can be easily accessed from in the campground and the day use area.
Most of the Crimson Lake trails form connected loops so you can lengthen or shorten your hike as you see fit. There are a few out and back and point-to-point tracks, most notably the 6.5 km Twin Lakes-Crimson Lake Connector.
At Twin Lakes there’s one trail that passes along part of the lakeshore then continues to the North Saskatchewan River and into the town of Rocky Mountain House. According to the map at the Twin Lakes day use area, it’s about 5.8 km to walk from there to Rocky Mountain House. This path forms part of the approximately 12 km trail that connects Rocky Mountain House with Crimson Lake.
In terms of difficulty, the hiking trails at Crimson Lake Provincial Park are rated easy because they are flat gravel or packed dirt surfaces with minimal elevation gain. The only trail rated moderate is the Twin Lakes-Crimson Lake Connector.
All the trails are multi-use and are frequented by hikers, runners, and cyclists.
Distance: 10 km round trip
Time: 2.5- 3 hours
Amerada Trail is the main hiking trail at Crimson Lake Provincial Park. It’s a flat, well-maintained path that circles around the perimeter of Crimson Lake. It passes through a mature forest, past wetlands, and follows closely alongside part of the lakeshore.
Along the route there are benches at viewpoints looking out on the lake and interpretive panels providing information about nature in the area. This trail is also a great place to see birds including loons, mallards, geese, and woodpeckers.
Camping at Crimson Lake Provincial Park
For camping at Crimson Lake Provincial Park there are two campgrounds you can choose from- one at Crimson Lake and one at Twin Lakes.
Crimson Lake Campground
The Crimson Lake campground is the larger camping area with 161 campsites arranged into six loops. There are 11 sites available for winter camping. There also is a group camping area that is separated from the main campground.
All campsites at the Crimson Lake Campground have power hookups, a fire pit, and picnic table. The sites are fairly large and able to accommodate RVs and trailers. Tall spruce and aspen trees frame the sites, offering a decent amount of privacy.
Amenities at the Crimson Lake Campground include a small store, tap water, showers, flush toilets, laundromat, playground, and sewage disposal. Hiking trails leave directly from the campground and a beach and boat launch are nearby at the Crimson Lake day use area. The campground also has a small amphitheatre and offers interpretive programs about nature and recreation.
Twin Lakes Campground
The Twin Lakes Campground has 39 unserviced campsites that are first come, first served. Some of the sites are treed while others are less sheltered. There also is a group camping area.
Amenities at the Twin Lakes Campground include fire pits, water pumps, pit toilets, a boat launch, and fish cleaning stations. Firewood is available for purchase at the Crimson Lake Campground store.
Just past the campsite loop there’s a nice pier with benches at the end where you can sit and enjoy views of the small, tree-framed lake.
Continuing to the end of the road, you’ll come to a day use area with lakeside picnic tables and a hiking trail that leads to Rocky Mountain House.
Wildlife Viewing at Crimson Lake Provincial Park
Crimson Lake Provincial Park is great for birding. Some birds that are known to frequent the park are loons, ducks, sandhill cranes, boreal owls, northern pygmy owls, greater yellowlegs, western tanagers, and solitary sandpipers.
The park is in bear and cougar territory, so be sure to take the necessary precautions when camping and hiking.
Review of Crimson Lake Provincial Park
Crimson Lake Provincial Park is a wonderful location for both day use and longer overnight stays.
The two lakes offer scenic settings for watersports, picnics, and relaxation, while the nature trails provide opportunities for family-friendly hikes and bike rides of various lengths.
The park’s location near Rocky Mountain House makes it convenient to visit as a day trip from several major centres in Alberta including Red Deer, Calgary, and Edmonton.
Tips for Visiting Crimson Lake Provincial Park
Location: Crimson Lake Provincial Park is located 15 km northwest of Rocky Mountain House.
Getting There: From Rocky Mountain House, go north on Highway 22 then keep left onto highway 11. Drive west on Highway 11 until Highway 756 where you will turn right. Go north until Township Road 402A then turn left to enter the main park (the entrance to Twin Lakes will be before this on the right side of Highway 756). Follow the signs to reach the campground and day use area.
Here are the distances and approximate drive times to Crimson Lake Provincial Park from other Alberta cities:
- Red Deer: 97.4 km, 1 hr 6 min drive
- Calgary: 230 km, 2 hr 22 min
- Edmonton: 226 km, 2 hr 22 min
Campground Reservations: Campsite reservations for Crimson Lake Campground can be made by calling Alberta Parks or through their website.