Pembina River Provincial Park was created in 1953 and covers an area of 189 hectares (467 acres). It is located in the largest natural region in Alberta, namely the Boreal Forest ecosystem.
The river flows roughly through the centre of the park and provides a richly diverse riparian habitat for the 13 species of mammals, six fish species, and nearly 200 types of plants which call the park home.
The park contains a spectacular gorge created by meltwaters from the retreat of glaciers during the Wisconsin Ice Age with cliffs as high as 62 metres in the southeast corner of the park. The steep cliffs provide a scenic natural setting and an interpretive viewpoint exists to offer park visitors an impressive view.
The park has a history almost as rich and diverse as its ecosystem. The Woodland Cree native peoples were the first known inhabitants of the Pembina River area. Local bands of the tribe flourished in the valley by harvesting a stable supply of fish from the river, hunting the moose that drank from the shores, and trapping the beaver which lived on her banks. Trails later used by the settlers were originally made by the Cree people. The original Yellowhead Trail was created in this way, and its historic course runs directly through the present-day park.
European explorers and fur traders from the North West Company heard about the river from natives who told of the mighty river that ran from the mountains down to the Athabasca River. Famous explorers such as David Thompson and John Palliser surveyed the area in hopes of finding a route to the Pacific Ocean.
The river became an important link to Fort Assiniboine located 128 km northwest of Edmonton on the Athabasca. By 1809 more than 50 canoes per year were using the Pembina, and dog teams ran on the surface in winter months.
Today the park is host to approximately 55,000 visitors annually and offers a variety of features and attractions to make sure your stay is a pleasurable one. There are 132 individual campsites in the campground and a large group-use area that is available on a reservation basis. A selection of 32 electrical hookup sites are available and a modern shower house is located within easy walking distance of any of the sites.
The day-use facility is open to the public from 8:00 A.M. to 11:00 P.M. and is located very near the river itself for your enjoyment. Approximately six kilometres of hiking and interpretive trails wind through the park and can offer a scenic and informative afternoon away from it all. Adventure packs are available at the registration booth to make a nature hike even more enjoyable.
If you have any questions about the park or its facilities, please ask park staff at the registration booth or park office. You may also call the park office at (780) 727-3643.
For reservations, please go to https://reserve.albertaparks.ca
A map of the Pembina Provincial Park camp sites is available here for your reference.
Enjoy your stay at the park, and make sure you tour Evansburg and Entwistle while you’re in the area.