Thursday, July 03, 2014

The Best Family Campground in Kananaskis

What do you look for in a family-friendly campground?  Myself, I look for large campsites that border on a wide open meadow where children can run around and play.  I love it when we can camp right beside a playground and I especially love it when we're camped in a quiet loop that kids can bike around - if they are in sight the whole time it's a real bonus! 

Add a hiking trail that's right in the campground (in our loop even,) and bike trails that start right from camp so that we don't have to drive to find adventure - and that's my definition of a GREAT family campground.

Playing in the canyon below the Canyon Campground 

Let me introduce you to the Canyon Campground in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.  Chances are you've never heard of it because everybody seems to favour the much bigger Boulton Creek and Elkwood Campgrounds. 

Canyon Campground, Kananaskis

If you camp in the B Loop at Canyon, you will be camped around the edges of a large open meadow.  The kids can bike through the meadow, play soccer, have water fights, or just run around and PLAY.  Oh yeah, and there's a playground in the middle of the meadow!! With a climbing rock.  Did I miss anything for the perfect campsite?

Trying to catch ground squirrels in the meadow
The playground and climbing rock in Loop B at Canyon
The giant meadow in Loop B at Canyon

The kids LOVED biking around the B Loop at the Canyon Campground which was quiet and safe for the most part.  We could see them almost the entire time they were biking the loop and the only thing we had to watch out for was bear traffic. 

And yes, this could be a major downfall for this campground if you're terrified of bears, but it does sit in the middle of a pretty popular animal corridor. We carried bear spray at all times and kept close tabs on the kids.

Biking around the Canyon Campground in Loop B

The other thing the kids loved about this campground was the Kananaskis Canyon Interpretive Trail that starts from just outside the B Loop. At 0.8km, it's a short easy hike and great for young children.


Playing by the pond on the Kananaskis Canyon Trail
Descending stairs on the Canyon Trail
Bridges and ponds on the Canyon Hiking Trail

The Kananaskis Canyon Trail
When do you want to camp at Canyon? 

Anytime is great, but take note that it does open later than some of the other campgrounds in Kananaskis.  It didn't open until June 13th this year and then it closes again on September 1st which is earlier than many campgrounds.  Mid-June is a great time to camp here as soon as it opens because Loop B is very sunny and warm for those cooler days in early summer.

What else should you know?

This campground does not accept reservations in advance.  It is therefore recommended that you arrive early if you want to find a spot.  Guaranteed after writing this story, I have just made it even harder. 

This campground is also small in size and only has 50 campsites, all of which are unserviced with no power.

What else can you do from this campground?


We LOVE biking so we drove up to the Boulton Creek Campground and biked one-way to Canyon Campground in the (mostly) down-hill direction. 

It was a super easy bike ride of approximately 9km on a paved forest trail and we parked beside the Boulton Creek Trading Post to start. 

Then we sent somebody back for the truck at the end.  Families with older children could easily bike to Boulton Creek and back but with a 5 year old, it was nice to do the ride with a shuttle.

Biking the paved Wheeler Trail in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park

There are 12km of paved  bike trails that connect the campgrounds of Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and if you bike from Boulton Creek to Canyon, you will be doing a section of the High Rockies Trail. 

Biking the Lodgepole Trail in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park


The other big activity that you can do right from the Canyon Campground is paddling on the Lower Kananaskis Lake from the boat launch beside the campground. Being avid paddlers, we had to take our boats out for a couple tours on the lake while camping at Canyon.

Canoeing on the Lower Kananaskis Lake
Stand up paddleboarding on the Lower Kananaskis Lake

If you want to paddle but don't have a boat, you can contact Boulton Creek Rentals located beside the Boulton Creek Trading Post.  They rent out canoes and kayaks lakeside at the Lower Lake. Note, they also rent out bikes if you want to check out the paved paths or mountain bike trails nearby and aren't able to bring your bike with you.

Kayaking on the Lower Kananaskis Lake

We had a great time camping at Canyon late June and I highly recommend this campground to all families!  Just make sure you get a site in the wide open B Loop and go with friends for maximum FUN!


  1. We had a great time at Canyon this weekend. Yes, you are right, Loop B rocks. Our kids had a fabulous time. We had 5 trailers in total spread around the loop. The difficult part is getting a spot. We went out Wednesday evening and got the last 5 spots for the weekend.

    1. So glad you liked it there. And yes, it is hard to get spots there indeed! Why we went in June this year before things got busy. I imagine September would be nice too.

  2. Where in loop B do you recommend getting a spot to keep best eye on your kids and the playground?

    1. Anywhere is fine.
      We camped just above it.
      It's all first come first serve so you can choose the best site when you get there next season.
      Right now it's closed for the season.
      Rockies Family Adventures

  3. My family and I were looking for the bridges and pond, but we couldn't find it. Do you know exactly where to turn when we are on Loop B?

    1. the hike is the Canyon interpretive trail but it's currently closed for repairs.

  4. We have not camped before and would like to try. So this might be a funny question for experienced campers... When you say go on Wednesday to get spots for the weekend, what does that mean? Do you set up the tent? Or does that mean we go to pay the fees for wed-sun? :) Thanks!

    1. Often people will go out mid week, set up a tent or park their trailer, and then go back to the city. Yes, you have to pay for all of the nights even if you aren't there. Note this summer I'm not sure how it works with first come first serve campsites with COVID. I know some campgrounds were going to take reservations.