Winter camping

Elk Island National Park

Stars glisten overhead and the campfire crackles slowly in the solitude of nature. Snowflakes begin to fall from the sky and slumber strikes almost instantly, thanks to a full day of adventure. When the sun rises, step outside to hear the crunch of fresh snow underfoot, crisp and untouched.

Create unforgettable winter camping memories for those who conquer cool snowy conditions. Gather winter gear and head to Elk Island National Park to take on the challenge. 

* Review all camping safety, regulations and etiquette before departure. 

Come prepared:

When visiting Elk Island National Park during the winter be aware of the extra hazards such as cold temperatures, storms, challenging travel conditions, and short daylight hours. Safety is a shared responsibility. To make each winter visit safe be sure to:

  • Visit Elk Island National Park’s visitor winter safety webpage
  • Assess the local weather forecast before departure
  • Pay special attention to wind chill. Though the thermometer shows -20°C, the temperature may feel like -30°C with wind chill
  • File a trip plan with a trusted adult
  • Bring essential items, like food, water and a head lamp. There are no indoor facilities open during the winter. Heated washrooms are available at the Astotin Lake Recreation Area. No showers are available during the winter
  • Know the dangers of ice. Assess all ice before using it and never go onto ice alone. Do not skate on snow-covered ice or at night. Visit the Canadian Red Cross to learn more about ice safety
  • Children must be supervised at all times, especially around snow and ice
  • Hypothermia can occur without exposure to cold water. Dress for the weather
  • In case of emergency call 911 or Parks Canada Dispatch 1-877-852-3100
  • Cellular telephone coverage varies and may not be available in all areas of Elk Island National Park. Be prepared for any emergency or delays that may arise as help may not be immediately available

Frontcountry camping

Astotin Lake Campground – Available beginning after Thanksgiving day until the end of April


  • Unserviced sites for tents or RVs
  • Astotin Lake campground kiosk, open 7 days a week
  • Self-registration station (after-hours)

What’s at each campsite:

  • Picnic table
  • Fire pit


  • Outhouse washroom and beach washrooms with running water. No shower facilities open during the winter
  • Shared kitchen shelter
  • Firewood is sold in bundles at the Astotin Lake Campground Kiosk

Review the hours of operation or call the Visitor Information Centre for more information.

Backcountry Camping

Oster Lake Campground – Available beginning after Thanksgiving day until the end of April

Register at the Elk Island National Park Visitor Information Centre or the Astotin Lake Campground Kiosk during hours of operation.


  • Five campsites available

What’s at each campsite:

  • Pit toilets
  • Picnic table and fire pit
  • Fire permits can be purchased at the Visitor Centre and the Astotin Campground Kiosk. Firewood is available at the campground

*Potable water is not available at the Oster Lake Backcountry Campground.

In-person registrations are required. Review the hours of operation or call the Visitor Information Centre for more information.

Winter camping fees:

Campground check-in / check-out

  • Check-in at the Astotin Lake campground kiosk, or at the self-registration station (located at the campground kiosk. Fees payable after-hours by cash or credit card)
  • Check-in time is 2:00 pm.
  • Check-out time is 11:00 am.
  • Review the campground hours of operation for more information on the operating season dates

Additional information:

It is illegal to feed, entice or disturb any wildlife in a national park. Violators may be charged, be required to appear in court, and could pay fines up to $25 000.
To report offenses call Parks Canada Dispatch: 1-877-852-3100.

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