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.

Important notices

Hwy 11 Corridor:  Multi-site construction Aug 25, 2022 until July 25, 2023

Parking area, random camping road, structural and trail enhancements will be taking place at various sites along the Hwy 11 corridor west of Nordegg. Areas with active construction may be temporarily closed, without notice, for the duration of the work. There are no set dates for each site as it is time and weather dependent. Overall commencement is set to start August 25, 2022 until snowfall, recommencing spring 2023 until July 25, 2023.

Panther Road: Change of OHV usage designation

Due to numerous complaints and instances of misuse, the pilot project to allow OHV use on the Panther Road has been cancelled for this year. We will be scouting possible trail connections to rectify the concerns. Signs and notices in the area will reflect this change, the Bighorn Backcountry brochure will be amended for 2023.

Abraham Lake vehicle restriction: April 1 to December 1

No motorized vehicles April 1 to December 1, 2022, below high water mark or on lake bottom.

Abraham Lake is a reservoir formed by the Bighorn Dam – water levels in the area fluctuate dramatically throughout the year as the dam helps regulate flows in the North Saskatchewan River.

It is dangerous to drive onto the lake bottom as water levels can change quickly, leading to vehicles getting stuck, being trapped and flooded over. Fluids and contaminants from abandoned vehicles, as well as garbage and human waste from camping, can impact water quality when lake levels rise, which is a concern for downstream drinking water and fish habitat.

  • Stay above the high water mark (where the vegetation starts and stops growing on the bank) to avoid facing a fine ($300) and getting stuck (tow bills average $1,500).

Pilot Project – Designated sections of Highway 734 (Forestry Trunk Road) permitting OHV usage

Through a collaboration with Alberta Transportation, portions of Highway 734 deemed appropriate for OHV trail connectivity have been designated to allow for OHV use. These portions are reflected on the 2022 Bighorn Backcountry brochure along the road in yellow.

  • Operation is for recreational purposes only and must take place during daylight hours.
  • Maximum speed limit is 50 km/hour.
  • OHV shall be operated as close as practicable to the right edge of the roadway, unless passing another OHV travelling in the same direction or preparing for a left turn.
  • Except when passing, OHVs may not be operated adjacent to one another. They must be operated directly in line when travelling in the same direction.

Change to trail usage timing – Tershishner Trail Highway 11 – T1 – T3 Only

Due to severe damage to portions of this section of trail, it has been temporarily designated with a new timing restriction for OHV use and snow vehicle use until a reroute can be assessed and implemented. This trail from Highway 11 through T1-T3 is only open to OHV use December 1 to April 30, as reflected in the color magenta on the 2022 Bighorn Backcountry brochure.

Other notices related to Bighorn Backcountry

Many areas within the Bighorn Backcountry do not have cell phone service. During an emergency the ability to reach and receive a response by emergency services may be delayed. Be prepared to adequately respond to situations that arise, regardless of your activity or location.

Be aware of your surroundings. There may be unmarked trail damage and stream crossings that have been compromised.

Exercise caution and be equipped for excursions to take longer than anticipated. Whether recreating over land or by water, know before you go, be responsible and encourage others to do the same.

Regular timing restrictions for trails can be found below and on the 2022 Bighorn Backcountry PLUZ brochure located at:

For other trail or area closures located outside of the Bighorn Backcountry PLUZ, visit:

Trail and area updates

Effective October 1, 2022
Trail or area Public Land Use Zone Details
  • Allstones Lake Trail
  • Waterfalls Creek Trail
  • Trails to Landslide Lake and Lake of the Falls
  • Kiska/Willson
  • Job/Cline
Trails open for equestrian use. These trails will remain open for equestrian use until May 31, 2023.
Effective July 1, 2022
Trail or area Public Land Use Zone Details
  • Tershishner Area Trails T4-T9. No summer usage from Hwy 11/T1 to T3
  • Bighorn Dam Area
  • Eagle Lake Trail
  • Kiska/Willson
  • Upper Clearwater/Ram
Trails denoted in light purple on the brochure are open to off-highway vehicle (OHV) use until February 1, 2023 and snow vehicle use until April 30, 2023.
  • Brazeau River Trail
  • Hummingbird Creek Trail
  • Onion Creek Trail
  • Job/Cline
  • Kiska/Willson
  • Upper Clearwater/Ram
Trails denoted in orange on the brochure are open to OHV use until February 1, 2023 and snow vehicle use until April 30, 2023.
  • Whitegoat Trail
  • Joyce Creek
  • Clearwater Trail/Skeleton Creek Trail
  • Canary Creek Trail
  • Ranger Creek Trail
  • Job/Cline
  • Kiska/Willson
  • Upper Clearwater/Ram
Trails denoted in dark green are closed to OHV use and snow vehicle use until December 1, 2022.
  • Tershishner Hwy11-T1-T3
  • Peppers Lake Trails
  • Kiska/Willson
Trails denoted in magenta are closed to OHV use and snow vehicle use until December 1, 2022.
  • Sugarbowl Random Sledding Area
  • Onion Lake Random Sledding Area
  • Ranger Creek Random Sledding Area
  • Scalp Creek Random Sledding Area
  • Job/Cline
  • Upper Clearwater/Ram
Random sledding areas are closed to snow vehicle use until December 1, 2022.
Effective July 19, 2010
Trail or area Public Land Use Zone Details
  • Wapiabi Cave
  • Blackstone/Wapiabi
Wapiabi Cave is CLOSED to prevent the spread of White-nose Syndrome to bats. Ensure you take the necessary steps to prevent the spread of White-nose Syndrome to local bat populations.

Area information

Find general information, maps and brochures for Alberta’s Public Land Use Zones both within and beyond the Bighorn Backcountry.

Bighorn Backcountry information kiosks

The Bighorn Backcountry map and brochure are available at information kiosks located in the following areas:

  • Allstones Lake Staging Area (north of creek)
  • Allstones Random Camping (south of creek)
  • Bighorn Dam
  • Coliseum Trail Staging Area
  • Coral Creek Staging Area
  • Crescent Falls Provincial Recreation Area
  • Cutoff Creek Staging Area
  • Eagle Creek Public Land Recreation Area
  • Eagle Lake Trail / Scalp Creek Trail
  • Hummingbird Staging Area (Canary Creek and Ranger Creek)
  • Landslide Lake Staging Area
  • Nordegg Rail Trail Connector Staging Area
  • Nordegg Ranger Station Staging Area
  • North Ram River
  • Panther Corners Public Land Recreation Area
  • Panther River Trail near Panther Patrol Cabin
  • Pinto Lake Staging Area
  • Preachers Point River Access
  • Wapiabi Trail Staging Area

Contact

Connect with Alberta Environment and Parks Resource and Approvals staff for any questions about safety and enjoyment or management of the area:

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

Laura Raivio
Email: [email protected]

Blake Christianson
Email: [email protected]

Don Livingston
Email: [email protected]

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