Patchy mountain views are available throughout Calgary, but true natural splendour is only a short ride away. Where to go camping this summer.
Green River, Blue Birds: River Bend Campground (pictured above)
Nestled in a marshy crook in the Sheep River, near the town of Okotoks, River Bend is the antidote to urban ennui. Offering an ATV-free profusion of flora, fauna and terrain, it’s surrounded by rolling ranchlands and mountain views. Its aspen bluffs are lousy with beavers, blue birds and bunnies. 403-938-2017.
Sheltered Seclusion: Nature’s Hideaway Campground
Boasting a swimmin’ hole with a rustic general store and free hot showers, this hidden getaway is only 15 minutes south of Calgary on the Highwood River. High banks lend seclusion to the pebbled river flat and adjacent grassy area. They also make for great cliff diving. 403-938-8185.
Water World: Ghost Reservoir Provincial Recreation Area
Twenty two kilometres west of Cochrane, the Ghost Reservoir offers lakeside camping and long days of swimming, wind-surfing and angling. Boat rentals are available at a small concession stand. 403-851-0766.
A Humbling Hike: Ribbon Falls, Kananaskis
This total wilderness camp-out is an hour from Calgary on the Trans Canada. From the Ribbon Creek day-parking area, hike an easy three hours creek-side through meadows, past an old sawmill and through waterfall-studded Dipper Canyon. Close your gaping maw, and pitch your tent near the falls between Mounts Kidd and Bogart. No reservations.
Image courtesy of Splinter Group.