Home Destinations Camping and Hiking in David Thompson Country (Nordegg Area)

Camping and Hiking in David Thompson Country (Nordegg Area)

by Karen Ung

If you want to get off the beaten path, go camping in David Thompson Country! Only three hours from Calgary, this beautiful area boasts fantastic camping and hiking. From the Icefields Parkway to Rocky Mountain House, you can find a peaceful place to stay. Here is where we like to stay on “the road less travelled”, the David Thompson Highway (Hwy 11).

West Corridor

Thompson Creek (first come first served, 56 unserviced sites) is the closest campground to the Icefields Parkway. Sites are of varying sizes, but all are well shaded. Firewood sales available. We stayed here on a Sunday night in July and found a spot easily as the campground was only half full. The location makes it a great base camp for exploring the Icefields Parkway and West (David Thompson) Corridor, but I recommend Two O’Clock Creek for mountain views!

Two O’Clock Creek (first come first served, 20 unserviced sites + 6 walk-in tent sites) is across the highway from the Siffleur Falls trailhead. Sites are partially shaded or in full sun, but most have beautiful mountain views. The campground can get pretty windy, so peg your tent down well. Firewood sales available. A great base camp for exploring the western corridor.

Nordegg Area (Central)

Fish Lake (100% Reservable, 80 unserviced sites, 24 power sites) is one of the largest campgrounds in the area and has lovely lakeside spots in Loops 1 & 2. Loop 5 has sites backing on to Mud Lake (more of a pond). Purchase snacks, camping gear, firewood, and fishing lures at the Bear Essentials Store in Loop 4. Our favorite things to do here are fishing (the lake is stocked with rainbow trout), paddling, and walking around the lake. Bikes are permitted on the trail, but we found the trail a bit narrow and rooty for the kids. Centrally located about 6 km from Nordegg.

Goldeye Lake (first come first served, 44 unserviced sites) is across the highway from Fish Lake, a short drive from Nordegg. Campsites are smaller with fewer trees in between, but there are a few campsites near the the lake. There is also a lakeshore hiking trail, fishing (the lake is stocked with rainbow trout), and paddling. For canoe rentals, contact Goldeye Centre.

East Corridor

Crimson Lake Provincial Park has two campgrounds: Crimson Lake and Twin Lakes. We love beach time, biking, and paddling at Crimson Lake. With great family and evening programs and the friendliest campground hosts ever, you will want to return year after year! Crimson Lake is a large, full-service campground (reservable, 161 power sites) and Twin Lakes is a basic campground (first come first served, 49 unserviced sites). For more information on camping and recreational opportunities in the park, please see: Fun Times at Crimson Lake Provincial Park.

More Campgrounds in David Thompson Country

For more ideas on where to camp, visit Alberta Parks | David Thompson Country or click the links below to be taken to Alberta Parks Campground pages:

  • Beaverdam Campground: 11 unserviced sites, first come first served
  • Chambers Creek Campground: 25 unserviced sites, first come first served
  • Crescent Falls Campground: 31 unserviced sites (7 tent-only sites, 22 RV sites and 2 equestrian sites with hitching rails), first come first served. Note that you need a high clearance vehicle to access the campground at certain times of year.
  • Dry Haven Campground: 14 unserviced sites, first come first served
  • Harlech Campground: 17 unserviced sites, first come first served
  • Horburg Campground: 3 unserviced sites, 9 walk-in tent sites, first come first served. Good access to North Saskatchewan River.
  • Jackfish Lake Campground: 5 unserviced sites, first come first served
  • Peppers Lake Campground: 16 unserviced sites, first come first served; no fee but no garbage bins onsite and pit toilets do not have toilet paper or hand sanitizer. Pack out all trash and bring your own TP and hand sanitizer.
  • Prairie Creek Campground: 50 unserviced sites, 100% reservable
  • Ram Falls Campground: 54 unserviced sites, 100% reservable
  • Saunders Campground: 7 walk-in tent sites, first come first served. Popular with paddlers/boaters entering/exiting the North Saskatchewan River.

These rustic campgrounds have limited amenities, so bring your own drinking water and firewood.

Random Camping

Allstones Creek, David Thompson Country

Random camping is not permitted in the provincial parks or provincial recreation areas, but is allowed in wildland areas and public land use zones (PLUZ) with some restrictions. For more information, please see Alberta Parks – Random Backcountry Camping.

If you choose to random camp, please practice leave no trace to keep the area beautiful and clean: bury human waste, pack out ALL garbage (even if it’s biodegradable), and dispose of grey water properly. In May 2021, a bear in David Thompson Country was euthanized after repeatedly seeking human food. 🙁 Another was put down in 2020.

It is most important to not go to the washroom or dispose of grey water within 60 metres (200 feet) of the lake or any water source. Human waste and grey water belong in the outhouse and diapers / feminine hygiene products belong in the garbage. If garbage bins are full, please pack out your trash and dispose of it at home.

Finally, bring your own firewood. Did you know it’s a ticketable offense to collect and burn deadfall? Dead trees are a home for small animals and an important source of nutrients to other forest plants as they biodegrade especially in fragile alpine environments. Finally, wherever possible, reuse an existing fire pit before making a new one. Best practice is to dismantle fire pits when they’re no longer needed.

Let’s keep our parks clean and safe for everyone!

Camping and hiking in David Thompson Country
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Unknown April 21, 2019 - 12:56 PM

where abouts is the random camping on Abraham lake? Did you see any spots south of Cline River?

Karen Ung November 10, 2019 - 4:23 PM

Preacher’s Point is a popular spot.. almost too popular.. it has gotten crowded the past several years. I haven’t explored down the Cline River yet but my sister has and said the fishing was fantastic!

Unknown March 30, 2019 - 7:15 PM

What if I pack in my own deadfall and burn that? Is that legal? To burn legally collected deadfall and burn it while random camping?

Playoutsidegal April 1, 2019 - 9:23 PM

Alberta Parks prohibit the burning of deadfall (https://www.albertaparks.ca/albertaparksca/visit-our-parks/regulations/) but it appears to be permitted in wildland areas: "If using deadfall in a Wildland Park, use only sticks that can be broken by hand." More details at: https://www.albertaparks.ca/parks/kananaskis/kananaskis-country/activities-events/permitted-activities-regulations/minimizing-your-impact/ Hope that helps!

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