Located an hour’s drive east of Edmonton, Elk Island is Canada’s only entirely fenced national park and a haven for free-roaming bison, not to mention elk, deer, moose, and more than 250 species of birds. Here, Canada’s largest mammal shares its habitat with Canada’s smallest — the pygmy shrew. The park contains both Wood Bison and Plains Bison, separated on either side of the Yellowhead Highway. Leave the car to hike, ski, bike or snowshoe in this sanctuary for Canadian wildlife.
Cost : As with all National Parks, there is a nominal park fee to enter ($7.80 for adults, $19.60 for families).
Best time to go : Open year round, although services and facilities are limited in winter.
Wheelchair friendly : Wildlife can be viewed from the comfort of vehicles
Family friendly : Yes
Official Site : Elk Island at Parks Canada
Where to Stay : Camping is available in the park at the Sandy Beach campground, May to September.
Getting There : Elk Island National Park is located about an one hour’s drive from downtown Edmonton on the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16) East.
Note from Robin : Hiking is mostly on grassy trails and relatively flat. As with all wildlife viewing, there’s never a guarantee you’ll see anything at all. Although, according to some senses, after the Serengeti, Elk Island has the highest population density of grazing animals in the world.