Tillicum Beach Park at Dried Meat Lake
Location: About 1 km east of Camrose and 14 km south of Hwy 13. Exit Camrose on Hwy 13 (east) and turn right on Dried Meat Lake Road. Follow the signs. Travelling south from Edmonton on Hwy 2, merge onto Hwy 2A south, turn left at Township Road 464, take a slight left at Hwy 13, and turn right at Hwy 13A.
Info: Open May to September. 780-672-4446.
A long, narrow lake encompassing 16.5 square kilometres, Dried Meat Lake formed above a natural constriction of the Battle River in a glacial meltwater channel that cuts 40 metres into the surrounding prairie. Dried Meat Lake and Dried Meat Hill, just east of the lake’s centre, take their names from the Cree, who dried bison meat and mixed it with saskatoon berries to make pemmican. Members of the Cree Nation traditionally lived east of the Battle River, while the Blackfoot remained west of the river. The river defined their territories and was the location of many clashes between the tribes, giving rise to the waterway’s name.
The stunning lake view from the top of the valley makes it easy to imagine the lake’s role as an important transportation route, especially when the roads turned to mud every spring. In the early 1900s, settlers who came to farm the area’s rich soil were ferried across the lake on a 9-metre boat with a wood-burning steam engine.
Stabilized by a weir, the lake has a maximum depth of 3.7 metres and offers canoeing, kayaking, motor boating, fishing, wildlife viewing, and swimming. Located on the lake’s eastern shore, Tillicum Beach Park has a day-use area, a beach, a playground, ball diamonds, firepits, a fishcleaning stand, a picnic shelter, flush toilets, a concession, and a boat launch. You can also launch small boats on the lake’s south end, near the weir, where Highway 56 crosses the Battle River.