Camping has an extreme taboo associated with it. The
first notion that comes to the less-experienced camper is bears, bugs, being dirty and going to the bathroom
in a bush, just to name a few.
These, however, are all far from the truth. In reality, camping has become a rather luxurious experience with the option of roughing it up to any degree you desire. Instead of taking a summer trip to Europe or somewhere south, camping has now become the destination for a fun-filled family experience. With state-of-the-art camping gear and wonderful facilities like heated pools, tennis courts and sandy beaches, campgrounds offer a complete and varied camping experience.
The weather throughout most of Canada, according to the 2010 Old Farmer’s Almanac, will be a warmer and drier summer than in 2009. So, whether you’re camping in a tent or a full-sized recreational vehicle, pack up your gear — because besides this summer’s expected weather report, Lifestyle provides you with the top three campgrounds in Canada that boast rich history and abundant wildlife, while showing campers why this country is so breathtaking.
Uncovering firewood and dino bones
Forty-eight kilometres northeast of Brooks, Alta., the prairies plunge into the badlands of the Red Deer River Valley area. You’ll know you’ve entered these eerie surroundings by the rock pinnacles called hoodoos looming above you in peculiar shapes.
Dinosaur Provincial Park is world-renowned for allowing its campers to explore these badlands to reveal evidence of the lives of dinosaurs in the late Cretaceous Period — 75 million years ago. It is known for its plentiful fossils, riverside cottonwood groves, stunning badlands, extensive wildlife and warm waters from the Bearspaw Sea… and did we also mention camping?
They have a year-round campground with 126 sites split over the north and south campgrounds. Both are equipped with facilities like flush-toilets, showers and laundry, firewood station, playgrounds and amphitheatre, and interpretive programs like bus tours, guided hikes and dinosaur digs. Also, the park has activities like boat launches, bike trails, self-guided walking trails that allow visitors to explore the badlands, grasslands and cottonwood environments, and two outdoor fossil exhibits.
Don’t miss out on feeling like a time traveller,
adventurer and scientist on this 81-square-kilometre park that is just as spooky at times as it is packed
with things to do on a daily basis.
A howl of a time
Algonquin Provincial Park is a provincial park located between Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River in CentralOntario. Established in 1893, it is the oldest park and the most popular in the province and in Canada.
There are more than 1,200 campsites in the eight designated campgrounds along Highway 60 in the south end of the park, with almost 100 others in three other campgrounds across the northern and eastern edges. One of the eight campgrounds is Lake of Two Rivers, which is the oldest and best known of the Algonquin Park campgrounds. It is located on the west shore of Lake of Two Rivers just south of Highway 60.
The campground is situated in a beautiful White Pine forest and features an excellent beach. There are two modern handicapped-accessible comfort stations with flush-toilets, showers and laundry facilities on the campground, and out of the total 241 campsites, 160 have electrical hook ups. It is open from the May long weekend until Thanksgiving.
Algonquin has vast activities to fit any individual desire like fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and day hiking. The park has 19 interpretive trails, ranging in length from 0.8 km to 13 km. And with more than 2,400 lakes, 1,200 kilometres of streams and rivers, maple hills and rocky ridges located within the park, exploring on foot, by bike or by boat are unique and popular options as well.
Being a historically significant national park, Algonquin is home to a Natural Heritage Education program that is widely recognized. The most popular aspect of the program is the weekly wolf howls which occur every Thursday in the month of August and the first week of September. Park staff attempt to locate a pack of wolves Wednesday evening and if successful, they take campers the next night to their location. You can lie on top of your car, gaze above at the starry night and listen for the wolves to howl in response.
Gazing at glaciers
British Columbia’s landscape is breathtaking and Kootenay National Park, located 888 kilometres east of Vancouver, is not shy about displaying the beauty that defines our Canadian wilderness.
The facilities at Kootenay’s campgrounds are top-notch with showers, toilets, unserviced campsites and fire pits, and they all boast environmental wonders like hanging glaciers, breathtaking summits and the limestone Marble Canyon.
There are four seasonal campgrounds located in Kootenay National Park: Redstreak (50 sites), McLeod (98 sites), Marble Canyon (66 sites) and Crook's Meadow Group Camp (61 sites). While wildlife like mountain goats and deer constantly roam through these campgrounds, it is only at the Redstreak campsite that campers can enjoy a natural luxury of mineral pools at Radium Hot Springs, which is only a walk away.
To get to other environmental wonders, Kootenay has an extensive trail system that leads campers to scenic viewpoints, glaciers and lakes. The Floe Lake Trail, for example, leads to the mountain lake where pieces of a glacier float near the stunning backdrop of a sheer rock wall. Meanwhile, a different two-hour hike leads to Stanley Glacier and its hanging valley.•