With many of Alberta’s campgrounds still closed for the season the choice for Winter camping is extremely limited. Since most Alberta campers hang up their lawn chairs for the Winter it just doesn’t pay for campground operators to stay open. Three campgrounds that do stay open during the Winter camping season are listed below.
For many Winters we have stayed at the Tunnel Mountain Campground located in Alberta’s Banff National Park.
Most of the “loops” are closed for the Winter but the main loop known as Tunnel Mountain II is open year round. It’s not much more than a parking lot but sports 188 sites and since it is located on top of Tunnel Mountain has amazing views of the surrounding snow-capped peaks.
There are a number of cookhouses located within Tunnel Mountain II in which we have cooked many meals over a roaring fire and visited with fellow campers. Even on very cold evenings these cookhouses provide a wonderful opportunity to leave the RV and can be quite cosy. Parks Canada has also recently added fire pits to a number of the sites.
Shower facilities as well as some well maintained and heated washroom facilities are also available.
We’ve spent many nights at the Tunnel Mountain Campground and love being so close to Banff’s many attractions. The Sulphur Mountain Hotsprings, shopping, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise and Mount Norquay ski hills and even some hiking can be very enjoyable no matter what time of year.
You can reserve your site by calling 1-877-reserve or they are available on a first come first serve basis. I’ve never seen this facility full during the Winter but in the Summer its wise to make a reservation.
Two additional loops are opened in early May.
Mclean Creek Campground, located near Bragg Creek, Alberta has some very nice sites as well. This campground is tucked nicely into the trees and is well maintained and clean.
There’s not as much to do at Mclean Creek and the Elbow River Valley as there is in Banff, but it is a restful place and beautiful. There are some nice hikes in the area that can be relatively free of snow during the winter or you can pop into Bragg Creek (the nearest town), which is only 10 minutes away for a bite to eat or some shopping. Bragg Creek is known for its many artisans.
Dinosaur Provincial Park located about 30 minutes NE of Brooks, Alberta. Its sites are also available on a first come first serve basis during the Winter, reservations only in the Summer.
This is a great park! The hoodoos, or windblown rock formations are popular with the kids and make for some great photos. There is an interpretive centre and some exhibits in amongst the hoodoos highlighting this area’s claim to fame, its rich deposits of Dinosaur bones.
Of course each of these campgrounds provides electricity. We carry an extra electric heater or two to supplement the furnace. Even when we had a soft-sided pop up trailer we camped in the Winter. With the right equipment and right mindset, Winter camping can be very enjoyable.
If you have a favourite Winter campground let us know.