Alberta-British Columbia Foothills Forests, Part B

This entry describes the northern parts of the Alberta-British Columbia Foothills Forests, drained by the North Saskatchewan, Athabasca, and Peace Rivers. Parks in this ecoregion include waterfalls, canyons, and glacial features. Cultural features include trading post sites and Sudeten heritage.

North Saskatchewan River Area

To the west and north of Rocky Mountain House, public lands in the Alberta-British Columbia foothills forest are along tributaries to the North Saskatchewan River.

Alexo Natural Area (N52⁰28’ W115⁰47’) is 33 ha on Route 11 west of Saunders. It is at the site of a former coal mine.

Aurora Natural Area (N52°40’ W115°45’) is a 923-ha north-facing escarpment with devil’s club, mountain ash, and red elderberry vegetation, located east of Grey Owl Creek.

Aylmer Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰24’ W116⁰4’) is a 7-ha site used for hiking and camping on Route 734 at the North Saskatchewan River. There is a canoe launch at the site. It is part of the Kiska-Wilson Public Land Use Zone.

Beaverdam Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰30’ W116⁰0’) is south of Route 11 near Nordegg. Trails lead to Coliseum Mountain and Fish Lake Provincial Recreation Area.

Bighorn Dam and Lake Abraham (N52⁰19’ W116⁰20’) is a 120-Megawatt hydroelectric facility on the North Saskatchewan River on Route 11 just to the north of Banff National Park. The reservoir is operated by TransAlta.

Blackstone Provincial Recreation Area (N52°37’ W116°20’) is a 3-ha camping park and canoe launch on Chango Road at the Blackstone River, at the northern end of Wapiabi Provincial Park.

Blue Rapids Provincial Recreation Area, managed by the Eagle Point-Blue Rapids Parks Council, is 3,623 ha along the North Saskatchewan River south of Drayton Valley. The park extends into the Canadian aspen forests and parklands ecoregion in the northeastern areas. The north end is at route 22 (N53⁰12’ W115⁰3’) and the south end is west of the Rose Creek confluence (N53⁰3’ W115⁰6’). River terraces and old river channels dominate the river corridor park.

Brazeau Canyon Wildland Provincial Park protects a 25-km reach of the Brazeau River from the Alberta Mountain forests ecoregion to the Alberta-British Columbia foothills forests ecoregion. The park is 5,039 ha in extent. The lower end of the canyon (N52°51’ W116°37’) is in the foothills forests.

Brazeau Reservoir Provincial Recreation Area includes three tracts on the 355-Megawatt Brazeau hydroelectric development of TransAlta Corporation. The utility diverts water into the 16-km Brazeau Canal which then feeds the hydroelectric turbines on the Brazeau River. The utility plans to operate the canal and reservoir as a pumped storage facility in the future by construction of a lower reservoir on the Brazeau River. The park includes a campground on the reservoir near the dam (N52°58’ W115°36’), a group camp facility (N52°57’ W115°36’), and a canal campground (N52°57’ W115°32’). The reservoir is a good bird-watching site for tree swallows, goldeneyes, and ospreys.

Brazeau River Provincial Recreation Area (N52°53’ W116°33’) is 10 ha used for camping and hiking on the Brazeau River downstream from the canyon and wildland park. Access is from Route 40.

Brown Creek Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰46’ W116⁰22’) is an 8-ha camping park on Route 40 in the Brazeau River watershed.

Buck Lake Natural Area is 110 ha in two tracts (N53⁰1’ W114⁰45’; and N52⁰57’ W114⁰45’), featuring willow shrubland, sedge meadows, and black spruce-larch-sphagnum vegetation.

Calhoun Bay Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰59’ W114⁰44’) is 374 ha on Buck Lake, featuring camping and lakeside recreation. The park is off Route 13 on the east side of the lake.

Chambers Creek Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰27’ W115⁰19’) is 39 ha on Route 11 west of Rocky Mountain House, offering camping and hiking.

Crescent Falls Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰23’ W116⁰21’) is a 262-ha park at a two-tiered waterfall on the Bighorn River. A hiking trail leads to Bighorn Gorge lookout.

Crimson Lake Provincial Park (N52⁰27’ W115⁰2’) is 3,209 ha north of Rocky Mountain House, offering camping and water recreation.

Cow Lake Natural Area includes 392 ha in two tracts. The east tract (N52⁰18’ W115⁰1’) is on the north shore of the lake and accessible by Route 752. The west tract (N52⁰18’ W115⁰7’) is on Cow Creek. The lake is stocked with trout. Forests are mature mixed forest; there are sedge meadows and black spruce-larch wetlands.

Dry Haven Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰26’ W116⁰12’) is a 2-ha campground on Route 11.

Eagle Point Provincial Park, managed by the Eagle Point-Blue Rapids Parks Council, is 1,962 ha along the North Saskatchewan River at Drayton Valley. The park extends into the Canadian aspen forests and parkland ecoregion in the north portions. The north end of the river corridor park is near Mishoe Creek (N53⁰20’ W114⁰49’) and the south end is at Route 22 (N53⁰12’ W114⁰56’). The park contains hills, river terraces, and rare plants accessible via 35 km of trails.

Elk Creek Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰3’ W115⁰39’) is 16 ha in two units on Route 734 southwest of Rocky Mountain House.

Elk River Provincial Recreation Area (N52°57’ W116°6’) is 33 ha on the Lodgepole-Lovett Forestry Road used for camping. Elk River is a tributary to Brazeau Reservoir.

Fish Lake Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰28’ W116⁰8’) is 409 ha near Nordegg south of Route 11. Trails lead to Nordegg, Coliseum Mountain, and to Goldeye and Beaverdam Provincial Recreation Areas.

Goldeye Lake Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰27’ W116⁰11’) is 51 ha on Route 11. The Goldeye Conference Center, used for youth and corporate meetings, is within the park. Trails lead to Fish Lake Provincial Recreation Area and Beaverdam Provincial Recreation Area.

Harlech Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰30’ W115⁰55’) is 14 ha on Route 11 west of Rocky Mountain House.

Horburg Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰24’ W115⁰19’) is 13 ha on the North Saskatchewan River west of Rocky Mountain House.

Horseshoe Creek Natural Area (N52⁰52’ W114⁰54’) is on Route 22 south of Alder Flats.

Jackfish Lake Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰30’ W115⁰34’) is 203 ha west of Rocky Mountain House on Route 11.

Lloyd Creek Natural Area (N52⁰56’ W114⁰20’) is 558 ha including two glacial meltwater channels with white spruce and lodgepole pine vegetation. It is southeast of the junction of Routes 20 and 13 at Winfield.

Mill Island Natural Area (N52⁰29’ W114⁰59’) is 80 ha north of Rocky Mountain House off Route 22. The area includes the floodplain of the North Saskatchewan River. Vegetation is aspen and spruce; calcareous marsh is present.

Mitchell Lake Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰12’ W115⁰0’) is 22 ha near Prairie Creek, south of Rocky Mountain House, and west of Route 22 on Township Road 380.

O’Chiese Natural Area (N52°46’ W115°23’) is 376 ha with a diversity of habitats including paper birch, black spruce peatland, and sedge meadows. It is south of Brazeau Reservoir, between the Nordegg and Baptiste Rivers.

Peppers Lake Provincial Recreation Area and Peppers Lake Staging Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰3’ W115⁰42’) are 16 ha and 14 ha, respectively, along Peppers Lake Road off of Route 734 near the Clearwater River.

Phyllis Lake Provincial Recreation Area (N52°6’ W114°58’) is 109 ha on Route 591 west of Caroline and Route 22.

Prairie Creek Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰15’ W115⁰19’) is 38 ha southwest of Rocky Mountain House on Route 752.

Ram Falls Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰5’ W115⁰50’) is 410 ha surrounding a scenic waterfall and a viewing platform for the Ram River valley. The park is on Route 734. Trails lead upstream on the Ram River to the Hummingbird area.

North Ram River Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰17’ W116⁰0’) is 14 ha on Route 734 at the confluence of the North Ram River and Joyce River.

Rocky Rapids Natural Area (N53⁰16’ W114⁰59’) is a 65-ha tract on Route 22 north of Drayton Valley. The area features aspen and white spruce in undulating terrain.

Round Valley Natural Area (N53⁰21’ W115⁰3’) is a 130-ha area in two tracts west of Rocky Rapids Natural Area. The aspen and white spruce forests are accessible by Range Road 80A at Township Road 505. Both tracts are west of Route 22, north of Drayton Valley.

Saunders Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰27’ W115⁰46’) is 9 ha on the North Saskatchewan River west of Rocky Mountain House.

Seven Mile Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰0’ W115⁰21’) is 37 ha on Route 734 south of Nordegg between the Clearwater River and Corkscrew Mountain. The area is used for camping and hiking.

Shunda Viewpoint Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰29’ W115⁰45’) is 16 ha on Shunda Road north of Route 11, between Nordegg and Rocky Mountain House.

Snow Creek Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰26’ W116⁰15’) is a 64-ha site near Gonika Creek used for hiking. It is in the Kiska-Wilson Public Land Use Zone. It is off Route 11 between Nordegg and Lake Abraham.

Strachan Provincial Recreation Area (N52⁰16’ W115⁰10’) is 32 ha on Route 752 and Prairie Creek, southwest of Rocky Mountain House.

Swan Lake Provincial Recreation Area (N52°7’ W115°11’), is 249 ha south of Rocky Mountain House on Swan Lake Road. The turnoff is from Route 591 west of the Tay River crossing.

Tay River Provincial Recreation Area (N52°3’ W115°6’) is 2 ha at the confluence of the Tay River and Clearwater River, providing a campground on Route 591 west of Route 22 at Caroline.

Wapiabi Provincial Recreation Area is northwest of Nordegg and includes in a 4,033-ha tract the valley of the Wapiabi Creek from the Wapiabi Gap (N52°30’ W116°24) to the Blackstone River (N52°37’ W116°20’). It is a wildlife corridor used by moose, elk, wolves, and grizzly bear. The park also includes the Sturrock Creek valley (N52°29’ W116°17’).

Washout Creek Natural Area (N53⁰1’ W114⁰58’) is 129 ha in two tracts west of Buck Lake off Township Road 470 west of Route 22. Forests are mature mixed aspen-white spruce-balsam poplar.

Athabasca River Area

To the east of Jasper National Park, public lands in the Alberta-British Columbia Foothills forests are along tributaries to the Athabasca River.

Big Berland Provincial Recreation Area (N53°46’ W118°22’) is 173 ha on Route 40 at the Berland River. The site is a staging area for Willmore Wilderness Park.

Bighorn Recreation Trail (N53°18’ W117°29’) follows High Divide Ridge for 20 km between Gregg Road (N53°15’ W117°22’) and Cold Creek Road (N53°22’ W117°34’) near Hinton. The trail is maintained by the Foothills Recreation Management Association.

Bigoray Natural Area (N53⁰24’ W115⁰4’) is 65 ha north of Rocky Rapids and west of Route 22. The rolling hills contain aspen-balsam poplar forests.

Carson-Pegasus Provincial Park (N54°18’ W115°39’) is 1,210 ha on Route 32 north of Whitecourt. A trail system leads through mixed woods, bogs, and marshes and to a beach on McLeod Lake.

Chrystina Lake Provincial Recreation Area (N54⁰47’ W115⁰11’) is a 27-ha camping area on Windy Lake and the Coutts River, operated by the Town of Swan Hills. It is off Route 33 northeast of Swan Hills.

Easyford Natural Area (N53⁰15’ W115⁰5’) is 113 ha west of Drayton Valley. Habitats are black spruce-larch muskeg and paper birch forests.

Easyford Creek Natural Area (N53⁰16’ W115⁰5’) is 113 ha of pine-aspen-white spruce forests and a black spruce/sphagnum bog.

Edith Lake Provincial Recreation Area (N54⁰48’ W115⁰23’) is 58 ha off Route 33 north of Swan Hills. It is operated by the Town of Swan Hills.

Fairfax Lake Provincial Recreation Area (N52°58’ W116°35’), is a 130-ha hiking and camping area on Route 40 on a tributary to the Pembina River.

Fickle Lake Provincial Recreation Area (N53°27’ W116°47’) is 1,152 ha southwest of Edson off Route 47. Included are an interpretive trail, camping and fishing. Vegetation is lodgepole pine, aspen, and white spruce.

Freeman River Provincial Recreation Area (54⁰34’ W115⁰24’) is a 10-ha tract on the Freeman River at the Route 32 crossing south of Swan Hills. It is operated by the Town of Swan Hills.

Goose Mountain Ecological Reserve (N54⁰45’ W115⁰57’) is 1,247 ha in the Swan Hills, which rise 600 m above the surrounding terrain. Vegetation is balsam-subalpine fir. Access is via the Swan Hills fire tower road.

Grizzly Ridge Wildland Provincial Park (north end N55⁰14’W114⁰56’; south end N55⁰1’W115⁰8’) includes 10,706 ha of remote ridgetop forests of white spruce, balsam fir, and jack pine south of Lesser Slave Lake in the Swan Hills. There are also mineral springs and wetlands. Some western Rocky Mountain plants like Devil’s club and mountain ash are also noted as present.

Hard Luck Canyon (N54⁰0’ W115⁰47’) is a Woodland County Park with a waterfall and scenic canyon near the McLeod River. It is on Range Road 125 south of Whitecourt.

Highway Natural Area (N53°48’ W115°27’) is 360 ha with two ridges dissected by streams and including vegetation communities of aspen, spruce, and sedge meadow. The site is north of Chip Lake.

Hornbeck Creek Provincial Recreation Area (N53°34’ W116°41’) is a 5-ha camping and fishing park on Route 16 at Sundance Creek west of Edson.

Eric S. Huestis Demonstration Forest (N54°15’ W115°41’), Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, is 1,000 ha located 13 km north of Whitecourt on Route 32 in the Swan Hills. The site contains a hiking trail and arboretum.

Lovett River Provincial Recreation Area (N53°4’ W116°49’) is 38 ha on Route 40 at the Lovett River used for camping and hiking.

McLeod River Provincial Recreation Area (N53°18’ W117°17’) is 32 ha at the confluence of the Gregg and McLeod Rivers. The camping park is 25 km southeast of Hinton on Robb-Hinton Road.

Minnow Lake Provincial Recreation Area (N53°22’ W116°3’) is 360 ha used for camping and boating. It is southeast of Edson on Range Road 150a south of Route 16.

Nojack Provincial Recreation Area (N53°37’ W115°35’) is a 3-ha camping and day-use area at the junction of Routes 16 and 751 operated by Yellowhead County municipal district.

Obed Lake Provincial Park (N53°33’ W117°7’) is 3,401 ha on Route 16 about 30 km northeast of Hinton. The fishing and camping park contains wetland and uplands, with black spruce-larch fens and lodgepole pine forests. Trumpeter swans are known to nest near the park.

Paddle River Natural Area (N53°49’ W115°18’) is a 64-ha tract of rolling upland aspen forest accessed from Township Road 562 southwest of Mayerthorpe.

Pembina Forks Provincial Recreation Area (N52°56’ W116°34’) is a 111-ha camping park on the Pembina River on Route 40.

Pembina River-Moon Lake Natural Area is 98 ha in two tracts on both sides of Route 22 south of Evansburg on Route 16. The northeast tract (N53⁰30’ W114⁰57’) is in an upland area and the southwest tract (N53⁰27’ W115⁰2’) is on the Pembina River. The natural area includes river terraces and rolling uplands with aspen-balsam poplar, wetlands, and sedge meadows.

Pinto Creek Canyon Natural Area (N53°47’ W117°50’) is 1,233 ha in the Pinto, Hightower, and Wroe Creek Valleys, tributaries to the Wildhay River. Cliffs and hoodoos line the stream corridor. The natural area protects the only population of mountain goats outside of the Rocky Mountains.

Sundance Provincial Park is a linear park protecting the Sundance Creek stream corridor from Route 16 west of Edson north to its headwaters. The two tracts of the park encompass 3,712 ha. The park has sandstone cliffs and old-growth spruce-fir forest. The Wild Sculpture Trail winds among sandstone hoodoos. Marl Bog contains 12 orchid species and carnivorous plants. The south end of the Sundance Creek section is at Route 16 (N53°34’ W116°45’) and the north end is at Emerson Creek Road (N53°45’ W117°1’). The Emerson Lakes section is to the west along the Athabasca River at the Emerson Creek Road crossing (N53°43’ W117°8’).

Little Sundance Creek Provincial Recreation Area (N53°41’ W116°48’) is a 24-ha group camping area west of Edson reached from Route 16 via Swanson Road.

William A. Switzer Provincial Park (N53°29’ W117°49’) is 6,123 ha and includes a chain of 5 lakes in meadow and wetlands complexes. Access is 21 km northwest of Hinton on Highway 40. A park visitor center provides information on an interpretive canoe route and three nature trails as well as a trail to a lookout. From south to north, the lakes are Jarvis, Blue, Cache, Graveyard, and Greggs.

Weald Provincial Recreation Area (N53°23’ W116°47’) is 30 ha on Route 47 at the McLeod River south of Edson, used for group camping.

Whitecourt Mountain Natural Area (N54°2’ W115°43’) is a 544-ha site on isolated 1,170-m House Mountain south of Whitecourt. There are stony terraces, slumps and seeps, and white birch and aspen vegetation.

Wildhay Glacial Cascades Natural Area (N53°41’ W117°43’) is 1,233 ha north of Hinton, 8 km northeast of William A. Switzer Provincial Park via Hay River Road. The park includes diverse upland and wetland habitats in the Wildhay River corridor.

Wildhorse Lake Provincial Recreation Area (N53°16’ W117°47’) includes 85 ha in two sections where lakeside recreation is offered. The southernmost section is at Wildhorse Lake and the northern area is at Kinky Lake. Both areas are off Route 16 between Hinton and Jasper.

Wolf Lake West Provincial Recreation Area (N53°13’ W116°4’) is 37 ha on the Minnow Lake Forestry Road south of Edson used for camping and boating.

Yates Natural Area (N53°36’ W116°17’) is 191 ha in three tracts east of Edson on Wolf Creek. The black spruce-larch muskeg habitat is noted for orchid species.

Peace River Area

To the north of Jasper National Park, public lands in the Alberta-British Columbia foothills forests are along tributaries to the Peace River.

Chinchaga Wildland Provincial Park is an 80,270-ha area of boreal forest and extensive marshlands not accessible by road. The foothills wetlands complexes are considered unique and provide habitat for woodland caribou, grizzly, and nesting trumpeter swans. The northern boundary is the Chinchaga River (N57⁰19’ W119⁰24’) and the southern boundary is near Mearon Creek (N56⁰58’ W119⁰32’).

Pierre Grey’s Lakes Provincial Park (N53°54’ W118°36’) is a 633-ha site on Route 40 east of Grande Cache on a tributary to the Muskeg River. It was the site of an 1880s fur trading post and includes McDonald Lake, Moberly Lake, and Desjalais Lakes for trophy fishing, as well as camping and hiking.

Kakwa River Provincial Recreation Area (N54⁰26’ W118⁰33’) is a 7-ha camping site on Route 40 at the Kakwa River north of Grande Cache.

Milligan Hills Provincial Park (N57⁰29’ W120⁰13’) is 7,226 ha, 150 km northeast of Fort St. John, in British Columbia, providing habitat for a woodland caribou herd. There is no road access.

Musreau Lake Provincial Recreation Area (N54⁰33’ W118⁰38’) is a camping and hiking park of 1,804 ha located south of Grande Prairie between the Cutbank and Kakwa Rivers, 5 km east of Route 40.

One Island Lake Provincial Park (N55⁰18’ W120⁰17’) is 61 ha, 60 km southwest of Dawson Creek off Route 52. The lakeside recreation park is forested with white and black spruce and lodgepole pine.

Running Lake Provincial Recreation Area (N56⁰40’ W119⁰2’) is a 107-ha camping area in the Clear Hills reached by Range Road 72 north of Worsley, operated by the Eureka River Agricultural Society, providing lakeside recreation opportunities.

Smoke Lake Provincial Recreation Area (N54°22’ W116°55’) is a 103-ha tract with a campground operated by the Town of Fox Creek. It is reached from Route 43 west of Whitecourt.

Southview Provincial Recreation Area (N54⁰11’ W118⁰41’) is a 3-ha day use area on Route 40 south of Grande Prairie overlooking the Smoky River gorge.

Stoney Lake Provincial Recreation Area (N56⁰30’ W118⁰28’) is a 174-ha camping area northeast of the settlement of Eureka River near the Montagneuse River, providing lakeside recreation opportunities.

Sudeten Heritage Provincial Park (N55⁰32’ W120⁰4’) is 5 ha, 31 km southeast of Dawson Creek on Route 2 in British Columbia. The park commemorates the Sudeten people who migrated here from the Czech Republic in 1938.

Sulphur Lake Provincial Recreation Area (N56⁰42’ W118⁰19’) is 151 ha north of Peace River on Route 689 west of Route 35 at Dixonville.

Swan Lake Provincial Park (N55⁰32’ W120⁰2’) is 82 ha on Route 2, 35 km south of Dawson Creek, British Columbia, used for lakeside recreation. The park contains a noted archaeological site and is a good bird watching site. Forests are of aspen, balsam poplar, and white spruce.

Twin Lakes Provincial Recreation Area (N57⁰27’ W117⁰32’) is a 5-ha park with a loop trail between two lakes. It is 65 km north of Manning on Route 35 in the Hawk Hills.