Ok - I wanted to share the family friendly campgrounds we visit this summer, so this will be a new feature around here. Might not appear every week, but there will be a few of them throughout the summer..
This week, I'd like to tell you about Tunnel Mountain Campground in Banff
Campground: Tunnel Mountain I
Location: Banff, Alberta
Driving Directions: Take Highway 1 to the Banff townsite turnoff and drive toward town. There is a large sign telling you where to turn to reach the campground
Pre-Registration Available? YES. Available on the Parks Canada website.
Amenities: Flush toilets, Hot/Cold Running Water, Free showers
Proximity to Kid-Friendly Attractions: Very close to Banff townsite. The campsite is just a short walk to the Hoodoos interpretive trail and connects from there to other trails. A trail map is available at the check in office.
Pet friendly? Yes. Just make sure they are tethered at all times.
We have stayed here twice - once before kids and once after (so far) and it is a nice, though very busy, campground. It is a few minutes drive into the townsite but once there, it is easy to access any of the townsite amenities.
We were very lucky to be able to book a site right beside the washrooms and just across the road from the potable water tap which also had a large sink that made it easy to fill a jug or dish basin. The downside to being really close to amenities is that your campground ultimately becomes the transit route for adjoining campgrounds to quickly get to them. Luckily our dog is big enough that it would discourage too many trespassers (of course, if they'd get close enough, they might see that his only weapon is his tongue - though he MIGHT lick you to death)
The campsite itself was big enough for a tent or a small trailer. Larger RV units would be better off booking in the Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court. The tent sites are fairly private and have plenty of trees to tie a tarp or clothesline to (though tarps were discouraged on our most recent trip)
Totally failed to get a pic of where our tent was...but it was off to the right side of this picture. The green building is the washrooms. Pardon the stunned look on Hubby's face. I am terrible at giving people warning :P
Quiet hours are enforced between 11pm and 7am, which is excellent for families who want their little ones to rest up so they can explore the area. We found it was super quiet the Friday night that we were there, despite many large groups camping together. On the second night - some different campers had moved in who didn't seem to think much of the rules. We were told that if anyone near us was not complying, we could call the Conservation Officers and someone with a gun would come warn them to shut up. It made me wish I'd had both the number and my phone in the tent that night.
The trailhead to the Hoodoos interpretive trail is just over a km away and you can easily walk to it, but if you don't think your little one can make that long of a trek - there is a large parking lot there as well. The interpretive trail is wide and very stroller friendly, though the trail has no rails along areas with a steep dropoff so make sure you keep a close hand on your littler ones.
The scenery is simply some of the most breathtaking in the world. There is a reason people travel here from around the globe.
As for wildlife - the first time we stayed there there was a coyote roaming around the site. This most recent time, there was a bear sighted nearby so we had to keep an extremely clean campsite. I saw elk and deer in the area. And loads of chipmunks over by the hoodoos The deer are very friendly, but the elk have been known to defend their young so are best avoided in the spring and early summer.