Public Lands Camping Pass required

A Public Lands Camping Pass is required to random camp on public land along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

Due to extreme flooding in the region, travellers in the Bighorn Backcountry Public Land Use Zones should exercise caution. See:


Alberta's Bighorn Backcountry is an area including more than 5,000 square kilometres (1.2 million acres) of public lands east of the Banff and Jasper National Parks.

There are many recreational opportunities offered in the Bighorn Backcountry area, including:

  • camping
  • cycling
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • sportfishing
  • off highway vehicle (OHV) use
  • equestrian use

For more information on motorized and non-motorized travel, please see:

Public Land Use Zones (PLUZs)

To facilitate area management, the Bighorn Backcountry is subdivided into 6 PLUZs, land areas subject to legislative controls under the authority of Alberta’s Forests Act and Public Lands Administration Regulation. Recreational activities allowed in each PLUZ can vary greatly depending on local conditions.

Current management of the Bighorn Backcountry will continue while government consults on the Bighorn Country proposal.

Bighorn Backcountry brochure and maps

For details about the Bighorn Backcountry and PLUZs, including maps, access and contact information, permitted recreational activities and types of services offered review the Bighorn Backcountry brochure.

This Open Government record includes individual information for the following Bighorn Backcountry PLUZs:

  • Blackstone Wapiabi
  • Dormer Sheep
  • Job/Cline
  • Kiska/Willson
  • Panther Corners
  • Upper Clearwater/Ram

Area and trail brochures and maps

  • Bighorn Backcountry public land use zones area and trail brochures

    Visit this record in the Open Publications portal to access the latest set of brochures and trail maps for the following locations in the Bighorn Backcountry PLUZs:

    • Allstones Area
    • Bighorn Dam Area
    • Cline River Corridor
    • Cutoff Creek Area
    • Hummingbird Area
    • Nordegg Area
    • Shunda/Goldeye Area

Wapiabi Cave in the Blackstone/Wapiabi Public Land Use Zone is closed as of July 19, 2010. For details, see:

Digital mapping options

For the Georeferenced maps referenced in the Bighorn Backcountry PLUZ brochure, see:

Disclaimer: The above georeferenced maps contain interactive information that can only be accessed through specific reader apps.

In order to access the georeferenced information the following app can be used:

This app is only compatible with Apple iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, as well as Windows Phones. It cannot be used on desktops and laptops.

Please note that these maps can still be viewed with a standard PDF viewer, but the additional enhancements will not be functional.

Protecting the Bighorn Backcountry through responsible recreation

The Alberta government is responsible for managing the Bighorn Backcountry. Area management helps ensure environmental protection while allowing responsible and sustainable recreational use.

If you are planning a visit to the Bighorn Backcountry, remember that it is your responsibility to become familiar with recreational activities allowed in the area. Visitors who do not follow the rules could be fined or charged under provincial legislation.

Learn more about about responsible recreation in the Bighorn Dam brochure.


Connect with the nearest Clearwater Area Provincial Office to obtain a paper copy of the Bighorn Backcountry brochure, or for additional information about the area:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)

Rocky Mountain House

Phone: 403-845-8250
Toll free: 310-LAND (5263) (in Alberta)

Drayton Valley

Phone: 780-542-6616
Toll free: 310-LAND (5263) (in Alberta)

Call 310-LAND anytime to report illegal activity, public safety issues, and enforcement concerns on Crown land (public land, provincial parks and protected areas).

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