Located about 15 minutes south of Saskatchewan Crossing, this large, un-serviced campground is located on the west side of highway 93 between two small lakes connected by the Mistaya River. The southern-most lake is labeled Waterfowl Lakes on the map. There are over 100 sites here, and by evening when we were there, they filled up. Some of the sites will easily accommodate the larger RVs and trailers, up to the bus-sized monsters that sail the highways. How some of them get into these sites amazed us. See our waypoint for location.
The setting is idyllic with tall trees throughout the campground, trails along the river and to the lakes. The tall trees made charging our solar system difficult as the light did not effectively penetrate the trees for much of the day. We found that the denser forest also held fire smoke, which is less desirable when the firewood is wet. That aside it is a beautiful pine forest setting and most of the sites we saw had a modicum of privacy. There is reasonable space between most sites.
The sites appear to be made for tents and trailers as ther are generally posts separating parking from camping. this makes connecting the boogie van and drive-away difficult or impossible in many sites. We still have the option of using the drive-away as a stand-alone tent, although for our setup that is not ideal.
There are out houses in most areas of the campground, however, we did find one building with flush toilets and running water in the north section of the campground closer to the lake. There are fresh water points in the campground and sinks for washing dishes. We scoped out the campground with our bikes the evening we were there.
We enjoyed the area along the river and northern lake, taking our coffee down to the river and enjoying the sun there in the morning. Unlike our actual camp site we found sun at the river morning and evening.
Morning coffee below.
You can hike to the other lake as well as Chephren Lake right out of the campground. We did not do these trails this time but the map shows them as relatively easy hikes. The views of the nearby mountains are incredible, and the one lake along the highway is the usual turquoise colour you would expect in the mountains.
The sites along the lake and river are prime real-estate and were snapped up quickly, you will have to get up early to get these first-come spots. This is where the multi-day campers were parked, with the inner spots more transient. If you want to find a spot, come early in the day, then go on your day hike plan.
Key words: campgrounds, Banff, campgrounds in Banff, Icefield Parkway.