Within an hour’s drive of Alberta’s bustling capital of Edmonton lies a place of quiet, where no city lights dilute the starry sky on a crisp winter evening, where bison graze placidly along the roadside and elk appear among shadows of an aspen forest.

This gentle wilderness of Aspen woodlands, prairie meadows and pockets of wetland is home to bugling elk, howling coyotes, and more than 250 bird species. It is here that the storied plains bison was brought back from near extinction, and visitors today are privy to the behind-the-scenes story of how this icon of the Wild West was saved and continues to thrive.

A refuge for wildlife and people alike, Elk Island National Park is an oasis of calm. For generations, people have come here for a day picnic or an overnight camping expedition to escape the city’s distractions and explore by foot, canoe, bike or vehicle.