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

  • Fire restriction in effect

  • Crescent Falls – Construction closure

  • Bighorn Dam OHV usage: May 1, 2023 to June 30, 2023

    Trails at the Bighorn Dam and Tershishner areas are closed to off highway vehicles (OHV) usage May 1 to June 30 each year to allow for spring runoff to occur, trails to re-harden and wildlife to have their young. Camping is still permitted but while OHV usage closures are in place around the Bighorn Dam, OHVs should remain loaded.  You are able to haul your OHVs with you for use on other designated trails that are open during that time. For alternative areas, visit Public Land Use Zones.

  • Abraham Lake vehicle restriction: April 30 to December 1, 2022

    No motorized vehicles April 30 to December 1 below the 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/stops growing on the bank) to avoid facing a fine ($300) and getting stuck (tow bills average $1,500).

  • Bighorn Dam: Construction advisory

    Construction will be occurring at the Bighorn Dam to make improvements to the rustic camping areas starting in spring 2023 and will continue until fall 2023. This will be a phased construction process so refer to on-site signage to direct you to areas open for camping. Visitors are advised to obey all signage and stay out of the construction areas.

  • Highway 11 Corridor: Multi-site construction advisory: August 25, 2022 until August 5, 2023

    Parking area, random camping road, structural and trail enhancements will be taking place at various sites along the Highway 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 August 5, 2023.

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

    Through a collaboration with Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors, portions of Highway 734 deemed appropriate for OHV trail connectivity have been designated to allow for OHV use. These portions are reflected on the 2023 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.
  • 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 2023 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 June 1, 2023
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 closed for equestrian use. These trails will remain closed for equestrian use until October 1, 2023.
Effective May 1, 2023
Trail or area Public Land Use Zone Details
  • Tershishner Area Trails T1-T3-T9
  • Bighorn Dam Area
  • Eagle Lake Trail
  • Kiska/Willson
  • Upper Clearwater/Ram
Trails denoted in light purple on the brochure are closed to off-highway vehicle (OHV) use and snow vehicle use until July 1, 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 closed to OHV and snow vehicle use until July 1, 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 and snow vehicle use until December 1, 2023.
  • Tershishner Hwy T1-T2-T3
  • Peppers Lake Trails
  • Kiska/Willson
Trails denoted in magenta are closed to OHV and snow vehicle use until December 1, 2023.
  • 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, 2023.
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:

  • Kiosk Locations

    • 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
    • Hoodoo Creek Staging Area
    • Hummingbird Staging Area (Canary Creek and Ranger Creek)
    • Kinglet Lake Staging Area
    • Landslide Lake Staging Area
    • Nordegg Rail Trail Connector Staging Area
    • Nordegg Ranger Station Staging Area
    • North Ram River
    • Owen Creek Staging Area
    • 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


Connect with Alberta government and Lands 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]

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