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Where to spend the night?

murphy bottom road
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Where to spend the night?

Need help / advice. Please advise me where we could camp for a night in late July. My wife and 3 older sons & myself are landing in Calgary and renting a car mid afternoon and will be on our way south to Waterton Lakes area. Would like to camp or stay in a cottage for the night in Peter Lougheed Park or similar area.

We don't mind camping for the night, but would need to shower in the a.m.

How much of a drive is it to this Provincial Park from Calgary airport?

Should we consider staying closer to Calgary in order to not be rushed after a long flight & day full of travel?

How long of a drive is it from Calgary to Waterton Lakes?

Thanks for any anticipated help on this most EXCELLENT forum site.

TT

Canada
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1. Re: Where to spend the night?

It is roughly 1.5 - 2 hours drive from Calgary to Waterton - that heading straight down Hwy 2 ( the most direct route)

When you say "Camp" do you mean tent camping...? and if so are you bringing all the equipment with you. I would be inclined to spend the night in a hotel to get a good rest.

Calgary, Alberta...
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2. Re: Where to spend the night?

In my experience it takes about 3 hours to drive from Calgary to Waterton on Hwy #2. By way of comparison, it takes over 2 hours for us to drive from Calgary to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Interpretive Centre, which is west of Fort Macleod.

I agree with AfricanDaisy that you would be better off staying in a hotel on the night of your arrival.

It will take you about an hour to clear immigration and customs at Calgary Airport. Then it would take you about 2 hours to drive from Calgary Airport to Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Even supposing you had a tent, it would take you time to set it up. Then what would you eat for dinner and for breakfast the next morning? You'd have to stop at a supermarket and buy groceries on your way out of Calgary. Then you'd have to cook the food at your campsite.

Also, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park would take you well to the west of Calgary, which would be the "wrong" direction if you generally wanted to be heading towards Waterton.

If you do drive anywhere after your arrival, there might be merit in driving a short distance south of Calgary, for example, to the satellite town of Okotoks. Then you would be well placed to set out on your journey to Waterton the next morning. In off-peak hours, it takes about 45 miutes to drive from Calgary Airport to Okotoks. If you hit afternoon rush hour traffic, it would take longer, perhaps as long as 1.5 hours.

If you stayed in Okotoks, you'd have the option of using Hwy #2 or Hwy #22 to reach Waterton. If you used Hwy #2, you'd travel on a 4-lane, divided highway for most of the distance. You'd drive over flat prairies till you got closer to Waterton, but the Rocky Moutains would be clearly visible on the western horizon.

If you drove on Hwy #22 (also known as the Cowboy Trail), you would be driving through the eastern foothills of the Rockies, and there would be places where the Rockies would look so close you'd have the illusion that you could almost reach out and touch them. Hwy #22 is a 2-lane, undivided road, but traffic on it is not busy.

I don't know where you'll be going after Waterton. If you'll be going to Banff afterwards, there might be merit in using Hwy #2 on your way down to Waterton and Hwy #22 on your way back up to Banff.

To get from Waterton to Banff on Hwy #22, you would take Hwy #22 as far as Longview. Then you would turn west on Route #541. It will take you through the beautiful Highwood Pass, and the road will turn north, becoming Hwy #40 that takes you through Kananaskis Country. When Hwy #40 intersects with the TransCanada Highway (Hwy #1), turn west to Banff. By using two different routes, you would see the maximum variety of scenery.

I don't know if your searches through the TripAdvisor forum have unearthed Camping_Girl's excellent website on Waterton Lakes National Park:

members.virtualtourist.com/m/adecc/dc729/

Here is a website called Alberta Webride that describes the part of Alberta that is south of Calgary:

http://www.albertawebride.com/

Another informative website is the one about the Cowboy Trail (Hwy #22). It has a very good map (but you have to click on the map repeatedly till it expands).

http://www.thecowboytrail.com/index.html

If you have not discovered the Inside Calgary section at TripAdvisor, it contains a lot of good information (even if all you are doing is arriving in or departing from Calgary):

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g154913-s1/Calgary:Al…

The Inside Banff National Park section contains a lot of information that is relevant not only to Banff NP but also to the entire Canadian Rockies:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g154910-s1/Banff-Nati…

If you are not used to mountains and the quirky weather they create, you should read Inside Banff National Park : Clothing:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g154910-c13644/Banff-…

Calgary, Canada
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3. Re: Where to spend the night?

TT,

While I was napping, Judy gave you a ton of excellent advice; I'll just add that I'm pretty sure it's closer to 3 hours driving time from Calgary to Waterton, 3 1/2 hours if you start at the airport.

If you are going on a camping holiday, and you want to stop halfway, then I'd recommend Chain Lakes Provincial Park, on the Cowboy Trail (Hwy 22) west of Nanton. It's at the junction of Hwy 533 and Hwy 22. Here's the website info: …gov.ab.ca/enjoying_alberta/…

Chain Lakes is cradled between the Porcupine Hills on the east, and the foothills of the Rockies on the west.

I don't know of any place on the Hwy 2 south, aside from perhaps Fort Macleod or Lethbridge (which are not too far from Waterton), that I would like to camp at.

If you are planning on camping in Waterton for any length of time, consider an RV rather than a tent. The Waterton area is notorious for its frequent high winds. As I speak, they have a wind warning for gusts up to 110 km/h (that's 68 mph), and that is not at all unusual. (It's also quite possible that your visit will take place during a nice calm period.) If you're staying in a hotel during windy weather, you probably will hardly even notice it. But if you're in a tent, you'll find it very hard to sleep. I stayed there in an RV for a week, and it was quite interesting the way the gusts would sometimes rock the RV.

murphy bottom road
6 posts
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4. Re: Where to spend the night?

Thanks for all replies.

I think, based on all feedback from my post that we'll try to find a quick hotel room somewhere SW of Calgary for our 1st night. That way we'll be fresh for our 2nd day / drive south to waterton.

We're spending 17 days touring around Waterton Lakes, Glacer NP, Fernie area and Kootenay and eventually circling back to Calgary via Columbia River and then Lake Louise / Banff. We're prepared for some tent camping (5 or 6 nights).

Thanks again.

Calgary, Canada
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5. Re: Where to spend the night?

TT , another option for you would be Crowsnest pass. It is about 2.5-3 hours out from Calgary (South West, right on the Alberta B.C. border), but puts you in great position to head down to Waterton, and is a great historical community.

Very inexpensive hotels, and the Frank Slide is something everybody should see once, if for no other reason than the sheer destruction of the mining accident. The interperative center is a fun couple of hours, and offers a magnificent view of the slide remains.

Calgary, Canada
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6. Re: Where to spend the night?

TT,

If you're planning to stop just south of Calgary, consider staying in Okotoks (rhymes with "toe dough folks") or High River, two towns which serve as Calgary's bedroom communities and are just off of Hwy 2 South.

High River has a Heritage Inn, which is a small local chain; they're not fancy, but shouldn't be frightening either. There is a Best Western in Okotoks; Best Western is a huge North American chain.

murphy bottom road
6 posts
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7. Re: Where to spend the night?

OK. Here's what we've decided so far, I think. We're spending the 1st night in Calgary somewhere. Not sure where, yet. Would like to get free shuttle from the airport. Would like to rent our vehicle starting day 2 (saves us $70). Also, we would want to stay at same locale on our last night before flying back to the burgh. Found the Holiday Inn Hotel Calgary Airport.... and the Sheraton Cavalier Hotel. Any thoughts???

We're spending night #2 in Lougheed Prov. Park (camping in tents).

Then, its south to Waterton and Glacier for 4 days.

Then to Fernie for 8 days and 7 nights.

Then up the Columbia Valley to Radium for a few nights and then to Banff.

Would welcome any feedback.

Thanks,

TT

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
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8. Re: Where to spend the night?

>We're spending night #2 in Lougheed Prov. Park (camping in tents).

I think you'll like it. I've only stayed there once, but the campground facilities were pretty nice, as I recall. And the park is good too. Yu'll enjoy the drive south over the Highwood Pass on Hwy 40; the mountains in that area are my favourites, they are totally unusual shapes. If time permits, take the short boardwalk loop at the top of the pass. If you can allocate a half day, the 4.5 km hike on the opposite side of the road from the boardwalk loop can have some totally awesome wildflowers. It's called Ptarmigan Cirque.

9. Re: Where to spend the night?

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