At long last the lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer are over and its once again time to winterize the trailer, dust off the cross country skis and head to the mountains for some Alberta winter camping at McLean Creek campground, located about 30 minutes SW of Calgary, Alberta
While this isn’t my favourite campground during the Summer, due to its inclusion in Alberta’s campground reservation system the province started using a couple of years back, which often makes it nearly difficult to camp there on a weekend unless you book far in advance, winter camping at McLean Creek is one of our favourites since it is close to home (Calgary,Alberta), available on a first come first serve basis, and minutes from spectacular, skiing, tobogganing, hiking, (yes even in winter) caving, rock climbing and snowshoeing.
For those not familiar with the area, McLean Creek Campground is right on the edge of the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in the Elbow River Valley just SW of a small town called Bragg Creek,Alberta. It’s located on highway #66 just off highway #22 that runs parallel to the Alberta Rockies. And you know what that means?
That’s right! The eastern slopes of the Rockies are blessed with a weather pattern called the “Chinook winds”. These winds blow through McLean Creek area and make winter camping in a T-shirt possible. At times the temperature can fluctuate as much as 30 degrees Celsius overnight. One moment we’re freezing our butts off at -20 C (-4 F), the next we’re basking in the Sun at +10 C (50 F). It’s a sight to behold.
As I mentioned the area is a Mecca for sporting enthusiasts and many of them would not be as thrilled about the Chinook winds as McLean Creek Campers are since the warm weather makes the snow disappear amazingly fast. The ski and cross country trails in the area are incredible to explore and they are a lot more fun when they are snow covered.
That being said, Mclean Creek campground is well laid out, with ample room between sites, well plowed of snow as required and most importantly provides electrical hook-ups allowing you to keep your trailer nice and toasty on those cold winter nights.
My wife and I particularly like to head out that way when we hear a winter storm is coming. Since most of the 1 million plus residents of the area don’t seem to like camping when the weather is fierce we like the privacy a storm provides. We also like to strap on the skis first thing in the morning after a fresh snowfall and explore the trails right outside the door.
If you get a chance this winter and the weather suits you, be it warm or cold, take a few days to explore the area from the comfort of winter camping at McLean Creek Campground, you’ll be glad you did!