Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

The interesting thing about the Canadian National Parks is that many of them have these “townsites” that are within the boundaries of the park. The Waterton Lakes Townsite has lots of little stores; about two-thirds food (restaurants, ice cream, dessert shoppes) and the rest touristy shops. There are a few small hotels/motels, inns, etc…. . You can easily bike around town. There is a laundromat, small grocery store, one gas station (with propane), and recycling. The neat thing about the townsite is that deer roam freely.

There are two campgrounds in Waterton Lakes: the Townsite Campground and Crandall Campground. The Townsite Campground is right in the townsite, which is nice because you can walk or bike right to the town. They do take reservations, which we recommend because we couldn’t stay as long as we had wanted. There are some fully-serviced sites as well. One nice thing about the Canadian National Parks is free hot showers!! There are bathrooms of course, and outdoor shelters with wood stoves and picnic tables to use – free to anyone who wants to use. There are deer roaming in the campground as well, and tons and tons of ground squirrels. It’s a very open campground and can be quite windy.

We stayed at Crandall Campground when we visited in 2007, and it’s away from the townsite, but much more treed and cooler since it’s at a higher elevation. There is a lot of opportunity to see wildlife, although no hot showers and space is somewhat limited for larger rigs. It’s good if you want to be more secluded. There are no reservations here; it’s first come-first served.

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