Every year we like to do a “dry run” camping trip. It’s when we go somewhere, not too far away to make sure that all our camping gear is ready for the season. Being our first year in Alberta we were forced to try somewhere new. I did a quick search of the internet and read good things about Aspen Beach at Gull Lake.
The provincial park is about an hour and a half away from Edmonton – the perfect distance just in case the trip was a total flop and we need to drive home. The forecast called for thundershowers and there was a funnel cloud warning – that being said, we didn’t know if a funnel cloud warning is like a rainfall warning in Vancouver – it sounds scary to everyone who doesn’t live in Vancouver but really, it just means rain. We hummed and hawed but finally decided at the last minute to pack up and go.
And we are so glad we did – it ended up being totally fine. Not a drop of rain nor sighting of any funnel clouds. Don’t get me wrong, it was cold alright but we made it through and of course the morning sunshine and hot cup of camp coffee redeems any frostbite acquired during the night.
Now, down to the nitty gritty. Thinking about staying at Aspen Beach? Here is what you need to know:
General thoughts on the campground:
It is a nice park. There are all the amenities you could need and Red Deer is about 20 minutes away for everything else. There are plenty of playgrounds and of course, there is the beach. While we didn’t go swimming ourselves, we hear it is one of the better lakes in Alberta plus there is a big playground right by the beach. It was quite quiet given the weather warnings but I can imagine that it gets ridiculously busy in the height of summer.
We stayed in D-150 at the Brewer’s Campground (there is Lakeview and Brewer’s – Brewers is closer to the main beach, so that is why I picked it). To me, it seemed more beneficial to be right beside a playground than to be by the bathrooms. I would do this again in the future. That being said it was a bit of a walk to the main beach and playground area. This could be seen as a good thing or a bad thing – good because you don’t get the traffic or noise from the main beach, bad for obvious reasons. I also chose this campsite because it seemed more wooded and secluded than the campsites closer to the main beach area. Trees are essential in my books. The campsite was plenty big enough for our 8-man tent but probably a little tight for a full sized camper – which is what everyone in Alberta seems to have. That being said, most campsites are big enough for said campers. The campsite had a picnic table and fire pit and a gravel floor. The surrounding area was quite marshy, but this could have just been because of all the rain that we have had.
Will we go again?
Yes, I think we will. As mentioned it is quite close so is a good destination for just a night or two. I would be interested to see just how busy it gets during the summer. It’s also a decent price point at $26 a night and a $12 reservation fee if you choose to do that.
In the meantime however, the next stop is Tofino.