Chain Lakes Provincial Park, Nanton, AB, Canada
Driving time from Calgary
1.5 hours south
Campsites to choose from
Length of the lakes reservoir
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.
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.