Exploring Alberta’s Provincial Parks: Moonshine Lake

Saddle Hills County, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

About Moonshine Lake

Moonshine Lake Provincial Park is a medium sized provincial park located northeast of Grande Prairie. Unlike most lakes in Alberta, Moonshine Lake is known for its warm waters because it is shallow (only 12 feet deep at its deepest). It was originally a beaver pond that was converted to a lake in 1959. The lake got its name from two men – Jack Campbell and Harry Hanrahan – who spilled their home brewed moonshine in the 1920s.

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Summer at Moonshine Lake

With its serene lake, pristine forests, and abundant wildlife – Moonshine Lake Provincial Park offers a range of activities for visitors of all ages and interests.

Moonshine Lake is the main attraction of the park and a perfect place to cool off on a hot summer day. The lake is ideal for swimming and sunbathing. The sandy beach, equipped with change rooms, picnic tables, and washrooms, provides an ideal spot to relax, enjoy a picnic or read a book.

Boating enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the lake in a canoe, kayak, or electric boat (gas engines aren’t allowed here). The lake is also ideal for fishing, and visitors can expect to catch a variety of fish species. Don’t forget to obtain a fishing license before casting a line.

Moonshine Lake Provincial Park offers an extensive network of hiking and biking trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging treks. The trails meander through the boreal forests and around the lake, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as moose, deer, and black bears.

The park has several picnic areas equipped with tables, fire pits, and shelters. Visitors can enjoy a family picnic or host a barbeque with friends. For those who wish to stay overnight, the park offers several camping options, including powered sites and group camping.

Moonshine Lake Provincial Park offers a range of interpretive programs, including guided hikes, wildlife watching, and educational talks. These programs are designed to enhance visitors’ understanding of the park’s natural history, flora, and fauna. A guided program can be booked through the Alberta Parks website.

The park has a large playground area for kids to enjoy, equipped with swings, slides, and climbing structures. Additionally, visitors can engage in various sports activities such as baseball, and horseshoes.

In conclusion, Moonshine Lake Provincial Park is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts during the summertime. With its abundant recreational opportunities, stunning natural beauty, and rich wildlife, the park provides a perfect escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Whether you’re a family looking for a weekend getaway, a group of friends seeking adventure, or a solo traveler in search of solitude, Moonshine Lake Provincial Park has something to offer everyone.

Winter at Moonshine Lake

Moonshine Lake Provincial Park is a beautiful winter destination as well, offering a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy during the colder months. Moonshine Lake is an excellent location for ice fishing during the winter months. Visitors can rent ice fishing equipment and set up a shelter on the frozen lake to catch fish. The park’s outdoor skating rink is a perfect spot for visitors to have some fun on the ice.

The park has a well-maintained trail system (~15km groomed) that provides an ideal location for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Visitors can explore the park’s winter landscape, enjoying the beauty of the snow-covered forests and hills.

In conclusion, Moonshine Lake Provincial Park offers a range of winter activities for visitors to enjoy, including ice fishing, ice skating, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Whether you’re an avid fisherman, a skating enthusiast, or someone who loves to explore the winter wilderness, Moonshine Lake Provincial Park is an excellent place to visit during the winter months.

Camping at Moonshine Lake

There is a campground at Moonshine Lake Provincial Park as well as a group campsite. Both are entirely powered sites.

CampgroundAmenitiesType of SiteAmount AvailableCost/Night
Moonshine Lake Campground
(May 18 – October 9)
Boat launch, firepits, firewood, fish cleaning stations, horseshoes, lifejacket loaner station, pay phone, picnic shelters, pier, playground, power hookups, sewage dump, showers, warmup shelter, water taps, playground, outhouses, wheelchair accessibilityPower (15/30 amp)110$38.00
Group Camping
Moonshine Lake Group Use
(May 18 – September 5)
Firepits, firewood, horseshoes, picnic shelter, pier, outhouses, power hookups, sewage dumps, water tapsPower (15/30 amp)30 units$230/5 units + $34/extra unit
This data is accurate as of 2023

Day Use at Moonshine Lake

There are three day use areas at Moonshine Lake Provincial Park: South day use, Jack Bird day use, and Beach day use.

  1. South Day Use – This day use area is good for picnics. There are firepits, firewood, horseshoes, pay phones, picnic shelters, outhouses, water taps, and playgrounds. This day use area is open year-round.
  2. Jack Bird Day Use – This day use area has outhouses and provides access to the trails around the Wildlife pond in the newer areas of the park. This is a good hiking and bird watching area. This day use area is open year-round.
  3. Beach Day Use – This day use area provides access to sandy beaches along Moonshine Lake. There is a playground, showers, flush toilets, a pier, and a picnic shelter. This area is open year-round.

Distances to Alberta Cities

Distance to Calgary: 813km

Distance to Edmonton: 544km

Distance to Red Deer: 665km

Distance to Lethbridge: 1016km

Distance to Grande Prairie: 111km

Coordinates: 55°53’25.2″N 119°13’50.1″W

Alberta Parks Website