Plan your next adventure: Download Alberta’s Public Land Trail Guide.
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.
Maps of this area
Download current maps of the Ghost PLUZ at:
- Ghost PLUZ Map
- Ghost PLUZ Map: designated trails and roads (georeferenced, use with Avenza Mobile App)
See below for directions to Ghost PLUZ.
To access from the south, from Cochrane, Alberta
- Go west on Highway 1A.
- Turn north on Highway 40.
- Go 27 km to the Forest Reserve boundary.
To access from the east, from Cochrane, Alberta
- Go north on Highway 22.
- Turn west on Highway 579.
- Follow this road 30 km to the Forest Reserve boundary.
To access from the north, from Sundre, Alberta
- Go west on Highway 584.
- Turn south on Range Road 63.
- Turn south on Range Rd 64 (which turns into Range Road 64A and eventually into Range Rd 65A).
- Continue along this road until it turns into Township Road 314A and then into Township Road 312A.
- Continue to the Highway 40 intersection.
- Keep going west until you come to the blue bridge and Mountain Aire lodge.
- Turn south at the bridge to enter the Ghost PLUZ.
Ghost PLUZ gallery
Know before you go
- Know the skill and abilities of your group. Know the terrain and plan for natural hazards and potential emergencies.
- Know and follow the rules of the area and for your planned activities.
- Most areas of the Ghost PLUZ do not have cell coverage. Carry a satellite communication device (if you have one) and a current map.
- Check the forecast and go prepared for all weather conditions.
- Assign someone to be your emergency contact. Let them know where you are going and when you will return. Let your emergency contact know to contact the RCMP if you miss your return check-in.
- Respect the land by leaving it in a better condition than you found it.
- Respect other users and share the trail. Motorized users should yield to non-motorized users and all users should yield to equestrian users.
- Avoid travel through wet or sensitive areas whenever possible.
- Leave all gates and fences as you found them, open or closed.
- Washroom facilities are not available, outside of designated campgrounds.
- For short-term washroom needs, dig a hole at least 15 cm deep and bury your waste with dirt or other organic matter. Select a site that is at least 70 m (230 feet) from a water source and away from trails. Pack out any toilet paper and hygiene products.
- For longer or repeated needs, bring a portable toilet. Pack out and properly dispose of sewage.
Area and trail information
Many of the designated trails in public land use zones are now provincial trails designated under the Trails Act. Provincial trails have rules to improve the safety of trail users and prevent loss or damage to public land. Learn more: Provincial trails.
- Only participate in allowed activities.
- Motorized users must stay on the trail tread (the travel surface of the trail).
- Keep pets under control. Some provincial trails may prohibit pets or have leash requirements.
- Do not leave any vehicles, motorized or human powered (including bicycles, motor vehicles, camping units, etc.) unattended on the tread of a provincial trail.
- Do not discharge a firearm (recreational target shooting) within 400 m of a provincial trail, unless hunting as defined under the Wildlife Act.
PLUZs are not controlled for avalanches, be prepared to properly manage avalanche-related risk when travelling through this area. For more information on avalanche safety and to check avalanche hazards and terrain ratings visit Avalanche Canada.
View information for provincial parks, protected areas and Provincial Recreation Areas in the region:
You’re in bear country
This area is home to wildlife including grizzly bears, black bears, cougars, coyotes and wolves. Take precautions to reduce the likelihood of a dangerous wildlife encounter.
- Travel in groups, stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.
- Carry bear spray year-round. Make sure you know how to use it and that it is within reach.
- Never feed or approach wildlife. Stay least 100 m from bears and 30 m from elk.
- Find day use and camp sites in open areas away from game trails and wildlife food sources.
- Use odour-proof containers to store anything that may attract a bear for day or overnight use. This includes food, garbage, toiletries and pet food. If camping, never take these items into your sleeping area.
- Store all food, pet food and garbage in a bear proof container, such as a vehicle, bearproof locker or bear hang for day and overnight stays.
- Cook food and dispose of dishwater at least 100 m (330 feet) from your sleeping area.
- Unleashed dogs may try to play with wildlife and provoke an unwanted encounter.
Area rules – Know the law
Visitors are responsible for knowing and following the rules for recreation in the Ghost PLUZ. The Public Lands Act and Public Lands Administration Regulation guide safe and responsible use of the area.
- Follow all posted signs, notices, publications and direction from an Enforcement Officer.
- Pack out what you pack in. Take all garbage and waste home with you.
- Pets are allowed to visit the Ghost PLUZ. Do not allow them to chase wildlife or other people.
- Do not remove or damage vegetation or artifacts.
- Do not harass wildlife.
- Do not dump harmful materials such as sediment, pollution, gray water or sewage into any water or onto ice.
See below for activity specific rules.
See below for details on permitted and restricted recreational activities for this area.
There are 8 established campgrounds in Provincial Recreation Areas (PRAs) that offer amenities and facilities for campers. Visitors to the PLUZ are strongly encouraged to use these established campgrounds to reduce the risk of environmental impact to the area.
Do not remove firewood from PRAs.
There are also opportunities for random camping outside of designated campgrounds. Random camping areas are often remote, with access from rural, gravel roads or motorized recreation trails, and offer no services for campers. All random camping is first come, first served.
- Follow signs for designated areas where camping is allowed within the PLUZ.
- Camping is not permitted within 1 km of a public land recreation area or PRA.
- Find a camping spot that has a durable surface and is at least 100 m from oil and gas facilities.
- It is recommended that campers have their own potable water source for drinking and cooking.
Random camping nodes along Stud Creek Road span from the entrance to the PLUZ for the next 16 km. Random unserviced camping is only allowed in the designated nodes in this area of the PLUZ to reduce recreational pressure on the surrounding landscape and ensure campers are avoiding nearby oil and gas facilities. See insert on map side of brochure for the camping node (Burnt Timber Gas Plant) area.
Review the regulations and best practices for camping on public land.
- Campers 18+ require a Public Lands Camping Pass for overnight stays. Have proof of purchase available to show an enforcement officer upon request. Campers within the 8 PRA campgrounds do not require a Public Lands Camping Pass for their visit.
- Campers can stay in the same spot for a maximum of 14 days. After 14 days, you must move your camping unit by 1 km for at least 72 hours.
- Keep your campsite clean. Take all garbage and waste home with you.
- Do not camp in areas that restrict access to trails.
- Campfires are allowed so long as there are no fire bans or restrictions in place. Check active fire hazard and bans at Alberta Fire Bans or call 1-866-394-3473.
- Campfires must be supervised at all times and extinguished until ashes are cool to the touch before leaving your site.
Off-highway vehicles (OHV), highway licensed vehicles and snowmobiles are permitted only on trails explicitly designated for them. Specific trails are designated for specific vehicle types and sizes.
Some seasonal closures apply.
For more information, see:
Hiking and cross-country skiing are permitted, unless otherwise indicated by signs.
Horses are permitted unless otherwise indicated by signs. Avoid grazing horses whenever possible. When accessing water, use hard ground surfaces and avoid soft ground conditions to prevent bank erosion.
- Do not tie horses to trees.
- All sites must be cleaned of manure and excess feed before leaving.
- Use weed-free feed and hay. Pack out all remaining feed.
For regulations and best practices for non-motorized recreation on public land, see:
For relevant clubs, trails and other information, visit:
Alberta hunting regulations apply. Hunting is not permitted at PRAs within the Ghost PLUZ.
For current hunting regulations, visit the My Wild Alberta website at:
Harold Creek Road (Highway 579) is a road corridor wildlife sanctuary.
- No hunting is allowed within 365 m (400 yards) of the centreline of the road.
- You are not allowed to possess a weapon in a wildlife sanctuary. If you are in possession of a weapon while travelling through the sanctuary, it must be unloaded and either dismantled, encased or completely enclosed.
Alberta fishing regulations apply. For current fishing regulations, visit the My Wild Alberta website at:
Some of the rivers and streams in the area are critical habitat for Alberta’s westslope cutthroat trout, which is listed as threated under the provincial Wildlife Act and the federal Species at Risk Act. Westslope cutthroat trout populations are threatened by habitat degradation, accidental harvest and competition and hybridization with non-native trout species. Learn about the Native Trout Recovery Program.
About the area
The Ghost PLUZ is public land West of Cochrane and east of Banff National Park and the Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park. The area is used for forestry, agriculture, oil and gas and recreation.
|Mandate:||To address the growing demand for outdoor recreation and potential conflicts with resource values and stakeholders in the Ghost-Waiparous area.|
|Size:||1,500 square kilometres (579.2 square miles).|
|Legislation, management and planning:||Familiarize yourself with current legislation and regulations:|
Check out other PLUZs in Alberta.
Was this page helpful?
Your submissions are monitored by our web team and are used to help improve the experience on Alberta.ca.