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AlbertaWow FAQ´s

How do I reserve a campsite?

Reserve campsites through the National Parks and Alberta Parks reserve system

Hiking Level Descriptions – Level: Easy, Moderate or Difficult

Easy hike may be considered more of a long hard walk on gentle hills along a hard packed trail over a short distance. 2 to 3 hours or less.

Moderate hike may cover steep terrain, muddy sections, scree, loose gravel with lots of elevation gain and distance. Generally can be completed in under 3 to 4 hours.

Difficult hike may require route finding skills, use of hands, be technically challenging over steep terrain with considerable elevation gain and distance. A difficult level certainly requires proper footwear, clothing, water, etc. and would likely not be completed unless one is in good physical condition. 6+ hours.

Levels on AlbertaWow are based on a person in good shape who exercises regularly on long distance outings. If you can hike 20 kilometer’s return with an elevation gain of 800 meters you’ll will find this rating system accurate. Everyone’s level of fitness and suffering varies considerably. Never be afraid to turn around or head back if you think you’re in over your head.

There a several scrambles and alpine climbs shown on AlbertaWow. These are all indicated within their descriptions. Both these activities require alpine mountaineering experience.

Can I run a small generator on my RV in Provincial and National Parks?

Yes, but there is proper etiquette not to disturb others. Do not run your generator before 10AM and after 7PM. If your generator is a loud older model, expect to have your day ruined. Inside the National Parks generator use is now limited to between 9AM -10:30AM and 5PM to 7PM daily.

Can I pitch a tent anywhere in the National Parks backcountry?

No, backcountry permits are required for designated backcountry campgrounds. There are a few areas that allow random camping. Search the National Parks web sites for details. Banff National Park or Jasper National Park.


Can you send us some maps and guides for the local area along with motels, B&B’s and other accommodations?

Try contacting local government agencies such as Travel Alberta.

Do you have a camping check list?

Yes, there is extensive camping checklist here


Who took all the pictures found on

Mark Townsend took all the photographs found on this site in their natural location. None of the pictures have been staged or propped.

How much does a National Park Pass cost?
Current National Park Pass costs can be found here.
Is that mushroom I viewed on your web site edible?

I’m never sure which ones are edible, but I do know for sure that several of them are poisonous and if eaten or even handled can lead to a gruesome death. See the NAMA web site for poisoning details. I did complete a short mushroom picking & identification course. This certainly made me realize that eating wild mushrooms is a risky endeavor. Wondering if I was going to get sick or die after eating what I had picked took the fun out of it. I could never enjoy a meal with wild mushrooms especially if wine is served considering react badly to alcohol. Although mushrooms are very interesting to look at, the microscopic spores found on the gills can contain serious toxins. Wash your hands well after handling wild mushrooms. I quote a mycologist who said the following “Fungal species are too numerous to identify and no one can claim to be an expert. There are several deadly look-alikes and some have not even been documented”. The deadly look-alikes could be your last meal.


When do you start camping?

Early April to Late October. You could start earlier and go later but the night time temperature will drop below zero. This of course is not a problem when tenting but can freeze RV pipes. I winterize our trailer at the end of October and de-winterize in April. Most of the National Park campgrounds close in mid-September. If you’re planning a trip to Alberta I would come between June15th and September 30th. Early spring and late fall can be colder but considerably less crowded.


What do you camp in?

We camp in an 8.5 meter (28 foot) holiday trailer. Any RV over 8.5 meters (28 feet) will severely limit it’s use. Most campgrounds will fit an 8.5 meter (28 foot) trailer comfortably. For over 20 years we camped in a tent and in some areas we miss it. Backcountry tenting in the National Parks can be a rewarding experience to say the least. We have found over the years, that we enjoy ourselves much more with a few comfortable amenities. There is a lot to be said about a heated recreational vehicle after spending a long day out in the rain. When backpacking I use a good quality 3-4 season tent.


Where can I get a fishing license?

The National Parks and the province of Alberta require a separate fishing license. If you want to go fishing outside of the National Parks you will need an Alberta Fishing License. This license can be obtained online or at most sporting goods stores. Larger store chains such as Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire also sell provincial fishing licenses. If you want to go fishing in the National Parks you will require a National Parks Fishing Permit. This license can be obtained inside the National Parks at information centers, ranger stations, hot  pools, larger campground kiosks as well as some local retail outlets.


Are you afraid of Bears?

No. Fatal bear encounters are extremely rare and I don’t let the fear of bears ruin an outing. However I’m certainly aware of the dangers and do all I can to avoid one. See Hiking and venturing into bear country.

When Do Bears hibernate?

Bears hibernate for approximately 7-8 months of the year. October to May. They  dig deep dens with the smallest entrance possible so it will cover quickly by snowfall.

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