Eastern Alberta Information
The eastern and north-eastern areas of Alberta draw outdoor enthusiasts from birders to hunters and fishermen (and women!) Families enjoy weekend picnics, outdoor fun and RV-ing or camping in the many natural areas to be discovered here. Known to some as Kalyna Country, the region is a mix of open fields and boreal forest combining farming communities with remotely settled aspen parkland. A day-trip or weekend here will have a small-town country or outdoor theme. The winding Saskatchewan River valley is called an "ecomuseum" because of its historic and ecological importance. To the north, pristine lakes offer a remote wilderness experience on the far western edge of the Canadian Shield.
Eastern Alberta has a multicultural and layered story starting with the millennia-old Cree aboriginal culture. Then comes a history of fur trading forts followed by the settlement of (amongst others) French, Metis, English, German, Scandinavian and Slavic cultures. Particularly noticeable in the form of the over 100 onion-domed churches thoughout the region is the Ukrainian presence, the largest in Canada. "Kalyna" refers to the high-bush cranberry, a favourite of early Ukrainian settlers.
Many of the towns, farming communities and remote areas to the north-east that make up this vast region are separated by at least an hour’s driving so are best explored by car or motorhome. Remember, this is Big Sky Country! Check distances on the Distance Calculator before departing.Things to Do
Camping, RV-ing and Scenic Drives
Driving along the roomy secondary highways is a great way of seeing this area and at the end of the day you'll find plenty of RV parks and campgrounds to stay in. They range from very basic to fully serviced. Since you can choose from range of settings – lakeside to right in town – you can design your own trip and activities.
Hiking and Biking – Provincial parks offer hundreds of miles of trail networks for hiking, biking and even horseback riding. Elk Island National Park is a short drive east of Edmonton and was Canada’s first wildlife sanctuary. Conservation efforts were so successful that today you’ll see a variety of species from bison to trumpeter swans. It's a favourite spot for wildlife and bird watchers, campers and in winter, cross-country skiers. The Birkebeiner ski race and festival are very popular. Geocaching is another growing activity in Eastern Alberta. "Treasure hunt" with a GPS at over 1000 caches.
Fishing – There are over a 100 other lakes and rivers in Eastern Alberta. The largest, Cold Lake, may be a little chilly for humans but it’s great for fish. There are up to six different sport fish, from lake trout to walleye are found here, all only a 3-hour drive northeast of Edmonton. Cold Lake has the largest inland marina in western Canada and the city of Cold Lake has accommodations and other amenities.
Canoeing and Boating – Jet-boat down the Saskatchewan River or canoe on a peaceful lake -- both are available to visitors; so jump in and explore boating and canoeing options and rentals in Eastern Alberta.
Snowmobiling and ATVing – There is plenty of real estate in Eastern Alberta for all-terrain vehicles (ATV's) and snowmobiles to let loose. These include the Iron Horse Trail, which winds along 278 km (172 mi) of abandoned railway line, through wilderness and sand dune fields near Redwater. There are also many options for snowmobile and ATV rental.
Agricultural Tourism – Rural fairs and farmer’s markets are just some of the activities that you’ll find when you stop off in towns in northeastern Alberta.Culture and Museums
The folks in this area are proud of their rural and cultural heritage, preserving it through many small interpretive centres and museums. Some of these provincially designated historic sites have volunteers interacting with visitors and demonstrating pioneer ways. Others may celebrate First Nations cultural activities in open-air settings. From the past to the present, the little ghost town of Heinsburg has lively music jamborees. Eastern Alberta is also Western Canada’s roadside attractions capital. Check out these fun roadside attractions and points of interest.
Return to the Alberta Regional Overview page.
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Fishing in the Rockies
Native Art Gallery
Banff townsite at Night
Calgary Stampede (photo credit...
Chateau Lake Louise
"When you come to a fork in the road, take it" - Yogi Berra