Oster Lake Backcountry Campground

Elk Island National Park

The moonlight shimmers off the lake onto a row of tents. The evening songs of birds and the triumphant calls of coyotes welcoming the night fill the air. With no city lights and no vehicle noise, this hike-in campground is perfect for individual or group camping needs. Oster Lake Backcountry Campground offers a truly unique and wild camping experience.

Located on the west shore of Oster Lake in one of the most picturesque and serene areas of the park, this tenting-only site provides a truly unique and wild camping experience. Oster Lake is a waterfowl sanctuary offering a place to catch a glimpse of plains bison, coyotes and many of the 250 species of birds found in the park.

  • Five campsites available for reservation on the Parks Canada Reservation Service
  • Reservations are mandatory
  • Pit toilets available
  • Picnic table and fire pit provided at each site
  • Fire permits can be purchased at the Visitor Centre. Firewood is available at the campground

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

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

Trip preparation:
  • Visitors must bring their own water for drinking and washing.
  • Be aware of bison. Bison are free roaming and frequently visit this area of the park. Learn more about being bison wise.
  • File a trip plan with a trusted adult and prepare to be self-sufficient for a minimum of 24 hours in all weather conditions and emergency situations as help may not be immediately available.
  • Cellular telephone coverage varies by carrier and may not be available in all areas of Elk Island National Park.
  • There is no gas station at Elk Island National Park. Visit with a full tank of gas to make the most out of each visit.
  • For more information on how to stay safe and a list of the 10 essential items you should bring when enjoying the outdoors visit adventuresmart.ca.

For access to Oster Lake Backcountry Campground sites park vehicles at the Tawayik parking lot and hike in using Shirley Lake Trail (6 km). All trails in Elk Island National Park are multi-use. Be prepared for encounters with hikers, cyclists, trail runner, horses and wildlife on all trails.

Reservations are recommended. In-person registrations are required. Review the campground hours of operation for more information on the operating season dates.

Reserve by phone or online:

Call 1-877-RESERVE (1-877-737-3783). Available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. local park time

Outside of North America: (519) 826-5391

For more information call the Parks Canada national information line at 1-888-773-8888.

Campground Check In / Check Out

  • Check in at the Elk Island National Park Visitor Information Centre upon arrival
  • Check in time is 2:00 pm.
  • Check out time is 11:00 am.
Additional information:


  • For incidents involving wildlife call Parks Canada Dispatch 1-877-852-3100. Response times may vary
  • In case of an emergency dial 911
  • Hospitals are located in Lamont and Fort Saskatchewan. The Lamont Hospital closes at 8:00 pm; after-hours emergencies must be taken to Fort Saskatchewan

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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