Thursday, September 29, 2016

Camping in the David Thompson Corridor

If you want to get off the beaten path, go camping in the David Thompson! Only three hours from Calgary, this beautiful area boasts quiet campgrounds and great hiking. From the Icefields Parkway to Rocky Mountain House, you can find a peaceful place to stay. Here is where we like to stay on "the road less travelled", the David Thompson Highway (Hwy 11).



WEST CORRIDOR

Thompson Creek is the closest campground to the Icefields Parkway. Sites are of varying sizes, but all are well shaded. Non potable water and free firewood are available. First come, first served. We stayed here on a Sunday night in July and found a spot easily as the campground was only half full. The location makes it a great base camp for exploring the Icefields Parkway and West (David Thompson) Corridor, but I recommend Two O'Clock Creek for mountain views!

Thompson Creek Campground
Crescent Falls
Two O'Clock Creek is across the highway from the Siffleur Falls trailhead. Sites are partially shaded or in full sun, but (most) have beautiful mountain views. The campground can get pretty windy, so peg your tent down well. Non potable water and free firewood (1 wheelbarrow full) available. First come, first served. A great base camp for exploring the western corridor.

Two O'Clock Creek Campground
Trail to Siffleur Falls
NORDEGG AREA (Central)

Fish Lake is one of the largest campgrounds in the area and has lovely, coveted lakeside spots in Loops 1 & 2. Loop 4 is reservable and Loop 5 has sites backing on to Mud Lake (not a swimming or fishing lake, but you get a nice view). Purchase snacks, camping gear, and fishing lures at the Bear Essentials Store in Loop 4. 

Our favorite things to do here are fishing (the lake is stocked with rainbow trout), paddling, and walking around the lake. Bikes are permitted on the trail, but we found the trail a bit narrow and rooty for the kids. Centrally located about 6 km from Nordegg.



  • Nearby attraction: Brazeau Collieries (National Historic Site)
Fish Lake
Windy Point Ridge Lookout
Goldeye Lake is across the highway from Fish Lake, a short drive from Nordegg. Campsites are smaller with fewer trees in between, but there are a few campsites near the the lake. There is also a lakeshore hiking trail, fishing (the lake is stocked with rainbow trout), and paddling. For canoe rentals, contact Goldeye Centre.



  • Nearby attraction: Brazeau Collieries (National Historic Site)
Goldeye Lake, Nordegg

Hoodoo Creek Trail
Image Credit: Philip Lund, All Out Kids Gear

EAST CORRIDOR

Crimson Lake Provincial Park has two campgrounds: Crimson Lake and Twin Lakes. We love beach time, biking, and paddling at Crimson Lake. With great family and evening programs and the friendliest campground hosts ever, you will want to return year after year!

Crimson Lake is a large, full-service campground and Twin Lakes is a basic campground. For more information on camping and recreational opportunities in the park, please see: Fun Times at Crimson Lake Provincial Park.

  • Nearby hiking/biking trails: Amerada Trail, Beaver Pond, Twin Lakes Boardwalk


  • Nearby attractions: Wilderness Village petting zoo (free), Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site
Crimson Lake Provincial Park
Twin Lakes Day Use Area, Crimson Lake Provincial Park

RANDOM CAMPING

Random camping is not permitted in the provincial parks or provincial recreation areas, but is allowed in wildland areas and public land use zones (PLUZ) with some restrictions. For more information, please see Alberta Parks - Random Backcountry Camping. Some popular spots to random camp in the David Thompson are along Abraham Lake.

If you choose to random camp, please practice leave no trace to keep the area beautiful and clean: bury human waste, pack out ALL garbage (even if it's biodegradable), and dispose of grey water properly. It is most important to not go to the washroom or dispose of grey water within 60 metres (200 feet) of the lake or any water source. Also, bring your own firewood. Did you know it's a ticketable offense to collect and burn deadfall? Dead trees are a home for small animals and an important source of nutrients to other forest plants as they biodegrade especially in fragile alpine environments. Finally, wherever possible, reuse an existing fire pit before making a new one. Best practice is to dismantle fire pits when they're no longer needed.

Abraham Lake
Have you ever visited this part of Alberta? Where do you like to stay?

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