Kananaskis Country sees heavy traffic, full parking lots for August long weekend

Visitors arriving to a Barrier Lake parking area late Monday morning were met by "lot full" signs. Tim Webber, Global News

A refreshing dip in a cool mountain lake was a draw many Calgarians couldn’t resist holiday Monday.

Just a 45-minute drive from Calgary, Kananaskis’ Barrier Lake is a not-so-far off destination for those looking for a reprieve from the continued heat. The scenic backdrop doesn’t hurt either.

But the go-to spot seemed a little more far-flung for many adventure-seekers, Monday.

“I mean it is pretty close to Calgary so I would say it would be worth it…. it’s a short drive and it’s a cute spot,” said Mariela Montoya, as a vehicle dropped her and her inflatable things lakeside, before continuing the loop in search of a parking spot.

“We wanted to come early because we heard it got busy so we got here about 8:45 a.m. and it was nicely empty. There was probably about a dozen cars in the parking lot,” said kayaker Sharon Loose. “We asked the parking attendant what time it got busy she said ’11 o’clock it will be full. No parking.'”

Story continues below advertisement

Drivers were left jockeying for position for any open parking stalls. The province warned it would monitor parking areas and along highways for those getting creative in their hunt for a nearby spot. ‘No parking’ signs were visible along the highway surrounding a number of parking lots.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

Over a year ago, the province introduced the controversial Kananaskis Park Pass after pandemic crowds made access to trailheads something of a sport. Enforcement at parking areas, like Barrier Lake, began just over a month ago.

If the arrival isn’t challenging enough, there’s also — for some — unexpected challenges along the way. Some headed west were surprised to find the usual meeting place for on-the-way gas — Petro-Canada at Highway 22 — closed.

“Yay I made it! I still have enough gas!” said Edmonton traveler Lito Aperci, as he filled up at nearby Chiniki Gas Bar in Morley.

Construction also slows traffic to 60 km/h both ways on escape and entry to Calgary’s western limits, causing traffic tie-ups for those braving the usual long-weekend migration.

Story continues below advertisement


Sponsored content