Best Times to visit Elk Island National Park

The park is experiencing high visitation. Parking lots fill up early each day. To avoid disappointment, plan in advance and consider visiting during a less busy time.

Parking lots fill up early each day. Once parking lots are full, additional vehicles will not be permitted into the park. 

Want to avoid disappointment on a busy Saturday at Elk Island?

Skip the drive and let Parkbus do the driving.

Book a ride on the Parkbus to avoid the hassle of driving and finding a parking spot on a busy Saturday! The bus departs at 8:30 a.m. from MEC in downtown Edmonton, and 8:45 a.m. from the Royal Alberta Museum. The bus stops first at the Visitor Centre area where riders can take part in a bison backstage tour. (This tour is confirmed for July 23, 30, August 20, September 10 and 17.) Spend the rest of your visit enjoying the scenic views and trails of Astotin Lake. Pack a picnic for the beach or set up beside the playground for hours of fun. The Parkbus departs the park at 3:30 p.m. to return to the city. There is a $15 reservation deposit, which includes park entrance fees. Please visit TD Elk Island Express for more details and to make a reservation.

What is the best time to visit?

Consider visiting the park during the week, in the early spring or during late fall. During these times visitors can still enjoy the park while avoiding the larger crowds. If you are planning a weekend trip, enjoy popular areas early in the day or in the evening.

Elk Island National Park is a great place to have an afternoon picnic, enjoy an evening campfire or see the Aurora Borealis in the dark of the night. Open and accessible to visitors 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Elk Island is a must-see for anyone visiting the Edmonton area.

Although the park is open around the clock, some services and facilities are only open in the summer season during typical business hours.

Visitor Information Centre and Gift Shop

Elk Island National Park is open year-round. Located off Highway 16, the Wahkotowin Visitor Information Centre offers in-person shopping Monday to Sunday.

Until May 19, 2022
Open daily 9:30 am to 4:30 pm

May 20 to September 5, 2022
Monday to Thursday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Friday to Sunday 9:00 am to 8:00 pm

December 25, 2022 and January 1, 2023

Hours subject to change. Please contact us for more information.

Phone number: 780-922-5790
Email address:

Astotin Theatre Interpretive Centre

Open daily 10:30 am to 5:30 pm

Astotin Lake Campground Kiosk

Located in the Astotin Lake Recreation area

March 1 to April 30, 2022
Monday to Friday 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
Saturday to Sunday 10:30 am to 5:30 pm

Campground is closed for maintenance from May 1 to May 19, 2022

May 20 to September 5, 2022
Open daily from 10: 00 am to 10:00 pm

December 25, 2022 and January 1, 2023

Administration Office
Temporarily closed