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Elk Island National Park

Oster Lake Backcountry Tenting

A scenic lakeside camping experience awaits at the Oster Lake Backcountry tenting area
© Parks Canada

The moon shimmers on the lake nearby your tent. You hear the evening songs of birds and the triumphant calls of coyotes welcoming the falling night. With no city lights and no vehicle noise, this hike in campground is perfect for your individual or group needs. Oster Lake offers a truly unique and wild camping experience.

Located on the west shore of Oster Lake in one of the most picturesque and serene areas of the park, this tenting only site provides a truly unique and wild camping experience. Oster Lake is a waterfowl sanctuary offering a place to catch a glimpse of plains bison, coyotes and many of the 250 species of birds found in the park. The site can accommodate up to 75 people but also offers a more intimate nature experience and can be reserved just for you!

Call the Visitor Centre to make a reservation.

Oster Lake Backcountry Tenting area features,

  • Group camping site can accommodate up to 75 people.
  • 2 single tent campsites
  • 100% reservable, call the Visitor Centre to make a reservation.
  • Pit toilets
  • Shared picnic tables and fire pits
  • Firewood (permit can be purchased at the campground kiosk)

Important Notice: No Water is available at the Oster Lake backcountry tenting area. Visitors must bring their own water for drinking and washing.

Access: The site can be accessed by hiking the Shirley Lake Trail (6km) or by hiking the Oster access road (6km) starting at the Tawayik Lake picnic area. The gated entrance to the area is locked; in the summer, a combination to unlock this gate may be provided to the registered camping group leader, to allow groups to drive in their equipment. If there are latecomers the contact person must remain at the gate to ensure that it is closed behind the group. The speed limit is 50 km/h or lower, depending on conditions, along the Oster access road. Please watch for wildlife, hikers, cyclists and park staff.

Parking: A maximum of 2 NON-CAMPERIZED vehicles, which may remain at the site for personal safety. Vehicles are not permitted beyond the bollards delineating the parking areas. Additional vehicles must park at the parking lot of the Tawayik Lake picnic area and display a valid park pass and a valid camping permit.

Campground Check In / Check Out

  • Check in at the Elk Island National Park Visitor Centre upon arrival.
  • Check in time is 2:00 pm.
  • Check out time is 11:00 am.

If you will be arriving after the Elk Island National Park Visitor Centre is closed please call the visitor centre in advance during regular business hours to make arrangements for late arrival.

Additional information:


  • Dial 911 for emergencies
  • One vehicle should remain on-site at all times to provide emergency transportation.
  • Hospitals are located in Lamont and Fort Saskatchewan. Please note that the Lamont Hospital closes at 20:00; emergencies must be taken to Fort Saskatchewan.
  • Payphones are available at the Sandy Beach Campground kiosk and near the washrooms by the beach parking lot.
  • Cell phone service may be unreliable depending on your service provider.
  • 24-hour emergency number is 1-877-852-3100. Response times may be up to an hour.