CLERK 1: Do you want firewood.
ME: Sure, please.
CLERK 1: Oh good, how many luggage?
ME: Umm. Nicely, how a lot is it?
CLERK 1: $10 per bag.
ME: Hmm. Two luggage, I assume.
CLERK 1: It’s presupposed to rain tonight. Are you positive you don’t want three?
CLERK 1: [smile]
CLERK 1: [smile]
ME: Why would I would like more wooden if it’s going to rain?
CLERK 1: [smile]
CLERK 1: [smile]
CLERK 2: Some individuals wish to put up a tarp and watch the hearth within the rain.
CLERK 2: [smile]
CLERK 1: [smile]
CLERK 2: [smile]
ME: Two luggage might be wonderful.
This was the inauspicious beginning to our 2019 camping season. A beginning that was three weeks late, because of baseball conflicts and terrible climate. We have been desperate to finally go tenting come hell or three-bags-of-firewood rain forecasts. And it did rain. Several occasions throughout the evenings and nights of our stay, though not long enough to wreck our journey.
McLean Creek Campground was another first for us which is a little bit of a shock contemplating how close it is to our residence. At less than one hour’s drive from storage to campsite, such proximity ought to make McLean Creek a simple last-minute getaway for Calgarians. It’s, in fact, however so are a dozen different comparable spots which speaks to the posh of dwelling on the doorstep of the Rocky Mountains.
This was additionally our first stay in a Provincial Recreation Space (PRA). The world of government jargon is a tortuous one and I truthfully don’t know what the difference is between a ‘public recreation area’ and a ‘provincial park’ however I trust a Google search will inform you fast sufficient. I can’t be bothered because, by and enormous, our camping experience at McLean Creek Campground in McLean Creek Provincial Recreation Area was similar to what we’ve experienced at each Provincial Park we’ve ever visited, save for the off-road automobiles.
Getting into the McLean Creek PRA by way of highway 66, a number of brief minutes west of Bragg Creek, you first come to the Mclean Campers Retailer, a one stop shop for campers utilizing this east-central a part of Kananaskis Country. The camper registration office is situated inside, so all tenting journeys begin right here.
The store is crammed filled with meals, supplies, and paraphernalia. Campers of every kind will discover every thing they need here which, I need to say, shocked me. The offerings listed here are in contrast to any I’ve seen at campground shops in a long time. Contemplating how shut they’re to the providers of Bragg Creek, to not point out being only half an hour from the western edges of Calgary, I by no means expected to seek out such a totally stocked store. You should purchase axes!
Laundry, shower, and flush rest room amenities are also obtainable right here making it floor zero for cleansing up throughout a busy weekend in Kananaskis. The showers and washrooms are very good and look like comparatively new and properly stored. There are a number of showers for each gender, all requiring tokens to make use of that may be bought on the adjoining store. I didn’t bathe so I can’t inform you how properly the bathe heads perform or whether the recent water is dependable.
The laundry room contains a handful of the standard pay-per-use white washers and dryers. Once more, we didn’t use this facility however it’s an awesome amenity to have in a recreation area featuring off roading and dirt activities.
I did discover that with all these amenities housed in a single constructing, there was an off-putting odour once I first entered the store to register. It wasn’t a gag-worthy sewage odor, but definitely noticeable. I’m unsure why this was occurring, however it have to be disagreeable to work in all day.
Firewood is $10 per plastic-wrapped package deal containing a pair massive pieces and some skinny pieces. It’s overpriced, plain and simple. And a few of these huge pieces are inconceivable to cut smaller on account of giant knots within. I wasn’t impressed. Nor have been others judging by the variety of sites with big piles of self-brought firewood stacked. It’s disappointing that McLean Creek PRA gouges for firewood, especially contemplating all the PRA appears to be dying.
The lodgepole pine that dominates the campground is suffering from mountain pine beetle. Lifeless or dying timber are in all places. It’s such shame. Not to point out a fireplace hazard in the making. One suspects luck will either run out on Kananaskis or authorities will prescribe a managed burn to cope with this unhappy blight on an otherwise fairly panorama.
And it’s fairly. Situated in the rolling, forested foothills with the mountains as a backdrop, McLean Creek Campground has four tenting loops offering what we now have come to anticipate in mountain parks. However there is a twist.
Loops A and B are typical campground loops with giant, personal sites shrouded in lodgepole pine. There are both back-in and drive-through fashion websites that may accommodate all sizes of RVs. All these sites have 15/30 amp power however no water or sewer service.
Loops C and D, nevertheless, are designated for campers with OHVs. That may be off-highway automobiles. Assume filth bikes and all-terrain automobiles. What normal functioning people seek advice from as off-road automobiles. Whomever got here up with ‘off-highway’ had an excessive amount of time on their arms.
Websites 105 via 130 are present in pairs (double sites) alongside the east aspect of Loop C. These all have 15/30 amp energy but no water or sewer. Comparable paired websites are discovered on the west aspect of Loop D (131 by means of 146) besides these haven’t any energy (or water/sewer).
The remaining sites in both loops C & D are configured in distinctive four-site circles. Each circle has its personal brief “driveway” from the primary loop street and appears like its personal little group website, if you will. I’ve by no means seen this anyplace else and it’s a testament to the comradery and social nature of the OHV crowd.
Speaking of the OHVs, they are definitely noisy and you’ll hear them. Even with the separation between A/B loop and C/D loop you’ll hear them. Our website, 60 in B loop, was not resistant to the roar of returning OHVs within the evening. This wasn’t a continuous, aggravating nuisance by any means and we have been properly aware these machines can be current. I’m not judging, just stating a proven fact that you’ll hear them, even if briefly, sooner or later throughout your keep.
We also heard a helicopter passing overhead a couple occasions every day, so what are you able to do. This is tenting on the outskirts of city sprawl. Simply avoid Loops C and D in the event you aren’t collaborating in the off-road actions and understand this place shouldn’t be for these hoping to only be interrupted by chirping birds.
Together with the spacious campsites, McLean Creek Campground has playground and amphitheater situated within the wooded space between loops B and C.
The playground was a disappointment. It’s a modernish, metallic contraption that has respectable areal protection but the excitement and challenge of it’s restricted. My older youngsters (10 and 12) have been instantly bored and the entire thing seems extra like a strolling course than an precise playground. Considering there are 170 complete websites here attracting households, most of whom enjoy the thrill of motorized journey, this was a weak playground providing. And it’s the only playground in the campground.
The amphitheater, too, is a modest affair with only a small stage and a few rows of straightforward benches. In contrast to some other amphitheaters we’ve come across during our travels, this one gets used. Every Saturday night time, two PRA guides present a free, family-friendly program on bear safety. And belief me, this isn’t your average informational presentation!
Performed in costume, together with puppets, to the well-known songs from the famous play/movie, albeit with altered lyrics, this present will entertain and embarrass younger and previous. Viewers participation is welcome and when all of the silliness concludes, you’ll have discovered some fascinating issues about black and grizzly bears.
In our notably case, we also discovered a nugget about wild horses as nicely. They reside here. Who knew? We definitely didn’t. We assumed the horse dung we stored encountering alongside campground trails and roads have been from ill-mannered horseback riders staying at close by equestrian campgrounds. It wasn’t till we arrived at the amphitheater for the eight:00pm present, which ended up being delayed half an hour thanks to two male horses preventing and stopping the guides from establishing, that we discovered who the actual manure culprits have been.
A large parking zone between the amphitheater and the playground allows campers to drive slightly than make the longish stroll type the additional reaches of the campground. Further packages are added to the schedule through the peak summer time season. I’m admittedly not an enormous fan of the track and dance shtick, nevertheless it was pleasant, and I appreciated the amphitheater being used at McLean Creek PRA, one thing we sometimes solely see at National Parks or the odd, bigger Provincial Park.
And not using a lake and accompanying seashore, there isn’t much to do at McLean Creek PRA aside from hike or bike the trails. Assuming, in fact, you aren’t there with OHVs. There are several trails all through the campground that may take you between loops, to the playground and amphitheater, and even to the camper retailer.
These trails are clean with either packed filth or remnants of earlier gravel bedding. The current rains left some spots muddy with the odd puddle to bypass, but principally we had no hassle navigating them.
Instantly north of the campground, the paths be a part of up with the McLean Creek Interpretive Path. This looping trail is pleasant with several signposts denoting stops of curiosity. A description for each of these spots is obtainable to print/view online but a number of the posts have lost their plastic numerical notation. Similarly, the top of this interpretive trail has seen higher days.
It’s a pleasant walk via the pine and spruce forest out to some ponds and bog-like areas. We met a ground squirrel and a curious gray jay. It’s only a shame that upkeep hasn’t stored up. If solely individuals weren’t so damn low cost with their tax dollars. Oh, and we did discover a geocache.
Across the freeway from the McLean Creek Campground is McLean Creek Pond, a small, man-made fishing hole and picnic area. Many more trails exist here, and we found many giant gatherings of family and associates having BBQs within the numerous picnic spots beside the pond. The pond is recurrently stocked with trout and we noticed a number of fisherfolk casting strains into the muddy waters. This can be a good day use space for non-campers.
Be wary, though. The world surrounding McLean Creek Pond is the beginning of the in depth OHV path system. In case you determine to wander away along these giant, rutted, undulating trails it is advisable be vigilant to keep away from accidents with dust bikes or ATVs. We went attempting to find some further geocaches in this area and though we didn’t encounter any OHVs it simply didn’t really feel protected for wandering families around these trails.
With the moisture and timber, it’s not shocking that mosquitoes have been out during our keep. Not so much at our campsite, but undoubtedly by the playground and alongside the trails. Slightly repellent did the trick and we have been nonetheless capable of absolutely benefit from the woods but do come ready.
Cell service could be very poor, a minimum of with Rogers and Telus. Neither of us had service in or across the campground, although when the skies cleared up and I left my telephone sitting on a selected shelf in our trailer it will definitely related lengthy enough to obtain and send text messages. This is not what I might classify as dependable. Your mileage might differ as as to if this can be a good thing or a nasty factor, I merely discovered it shocking considering how near Calgary we’re here. With all the rich acreages surrounding Bragg Creek and Priddis, I expected cell service to be distinctive. There’s a lesson in stereotyping there I feel.
Neither is there WiFi service in the campground or on the store. Once more, your mileage might range on this.
Aside from the bathe facility on the camper’s retailer, McLean Creek Campground solely gives pit bogs. The pit bogs are clean and the odour was minimal during our mid-June go to. I can’t proclaim this most popular state of affairs persists all summer time lengthy. August heatwaves might make for lower than pleasant circumstances. Still, they are removed from a trainwreck and have been usable without having to test my breath-holding talents.
A dump station is centrally situated close to the campground entrance. There are solely three stations for the whole campground, so anticipate lineups. We needed to look forward to a pair models to finish once we left on a Sunday at 2:00 so I think the lineups might get long when the mad dash to exit occurs. At the least it’s free.
Recent water is accessible on the dump station to refill your RV tank and extra recent water faucets are found throughout the campground loops. The water is super chilly and recent. Yum.
I recommend McLean Creek Campground at McLean Creek Provincial Recreation Area and provides it three.5 Baby Dill Pickles out of 5. It’s a advantageous place to camp very close to the town of Calgary. OHV individuals obviously adore it and would possible fee it larger. Then once more, it caters to them.
For regular campers, like us, it was alright for a spring outing near house. A good way to stretch our tenting legs. The very fact there are some reservable websites is a plus. I assumed the playground was underwhelming and the upkeep of some path décor has slipped. Not a huge deal, but noticeable. Kananaskis should have been beautiful when it first opened.
I’d definitely come back but not for an prolonged family vacation. You already know, until I someway got here into possession of a quad or befriended someone with such technique of leisure. I like the friendliness the OHV campground configuration helps. It contradicts my pre-conceived notions of the OHV crowd. You don’t see such mini-group website designs in any campground for non-OHV campers. I’m wondering why that is? It might not attraction to everyone, and certain not even me, however I’m positive there are some common campers that may love this neighbourly setup.