Chain Lakes Provincial Park

Camping in a Prairie oasis

Camp

Beginner-friendly

Overnight

Looking for a quick outdoor getaway not far from Calgary? Chain Lakes Provincial Park makes camping easy in a relaxed atmosphere. You’ll like the beach, open grassy area and rolling foothills, and if you’re camping with kids, they’ll like the playground, concession stand ice cream, and big mix of things to keep busy on and off the water.

Chain Lakes Provincial Park

Chain Lakes Provincial Park, Nanton, AB, Canada

Get Directions

Driving time from Calgary

1.5 hours south

Campsites to choose from

122

Length of the lakes reservoir

10km

Planning your trip

Get ready for fun camping in the foothills

Easy getaway

Summer camping is a blast at Chain Lakes Provincial Park. With willow bushes separating the campsites, you’ll appreciate the privacy and wind protection. The nearest cell phone service area is a 10-minute drive away (there’s a payphone at the campsite for emergencies), so it’s like a mini-vacation from urban living.

There are basic campsites and ones with power, and the campground has potable water, picnic shelters, and toilets. Since this area is quite dry, fires are restricted to communal pits at the centre of each of the four camping loops (as long as no fire bans are in place).

Keep your days full

Chain Lakes Provincial Park attracts stargazers, windsurfers, hikers, canoeists, kayakers and sailors. You’ll likely see people fishing and boaters there too, since the reservoir is great for small watercraft and has a small craft boat launch. Horseshoes and a playground are available at the campground for youngsters.

If you’ve got a pair of binoculars, bring them along to see some of the birds that call the park home, like piping plovers and thousands of migrating waterfowl in the fall.

On the water

The Chain Lakes reservoir was originally created for irrigation purposes. It’s 10km long and has a dam on the southeast end. There’s a 12km/h speed limit and there’s no towing allowed on the reservoir (so no water-skiing, tubing or wakeboarding). This limitation creates the perfect oasis for windsurfers, kiteboarders, canoeists, kayakers and sailors to enjoy the waters without much interruption.

If you don’t have your own kayak or canoe, give the MEC Calgary store a call to ask about gear rentals.

 

Orienteering fun

Want to practice using your GPS? Geocaching at Chain Lakes is a great way to explore and learn at the same time. The geocaches in Alberta Parks are quite extensive, with more than 1000 geocaches in the system. Try the Homes on the Range challenge as part of the larger Alberta Parks challenge.

Just like when you’re hiking or camping, the 7 Leave No Trace tips are important when you’re geocaching, along with following the guidelines the Alberta Parks geocaching site.

Essential gear

Family must-haves for an easy camping experience.

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