Just a short drive southwest of Bragg Creek, along Highway #66, the scenic highway that follows the Elbow River West into Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, Paddy’s Flat campground is the perfect base from which campers can explore this remarkable section of Kananaskis Country at their leisure
This first come first served campground is extremely well maintained and is set high above the banks of the Elbow River which can be heard from most of its 98 well treed campsites which are spread out in 5 camping loops, providing sufficient space for campers to enjoy the tranquility the area is known for.
With only basic services avaialble, pump water, vault toilets, fire pits and a playground for the kids, this is very much a rustic campground. Cellphone coverage is available from many of the campsites, which provides me with peace of mind, when my wife and kids spend part of their summer vacation out here without me. Firewood is available for a fee.
A short drive back toward Bragg Creek at the Mclean Creek Camper’s Center there are groceries, fishing/camping gear, propane and shower facilities available.
From Paddy’s Flat campground, one can easily enjoy the Elbow River for hours. Numerous stretches along the river provide slow water for the youngsters to wade in, while others offer long stretches of rapids perfect for tubing down.
During the first few months of Summer runoff, the river can provide excellent stretches of whitewater for kayakers and rafters and Paddy’s Flat campground is a great place for them to exit the river to warm up and fill their bellies.
The trails meandering through the trees on the slopes between the campground and the river provide hours of enjoyment. While the flood of 2013 didn’t affect the campground much, the trail directly adjacent to the river became part of the river for a time and is currently in the process of being rehabilitated.
Hiking in the area is popular with Calgary residents and during the weekends the areas is inundated with hundreds if not thousands of hikers and bikers. Many of the hikes can take days to complete, others are appropriate for the entire family and take mere hours to complete.
If dinner out is to your liking there are several restaurants in the town of Bragg Creek, 15 minutes away, that are sure to please every palette.
This is only one of several campgrounds along this stretch of highway 66. If the opportunity arises I would suggest trying them all.
This is truly a pristine wilderness area within a short commute to Calgary. If you’re travelling to Calgary for the Calgary Stampede, this campground would make an excellent choice. Enjoy!