Centennial Campground: "Build it and They will Camp" Claresholm Hotel Tip by richiecdisc
Claresholm Hotels: 1 reviews and 1 photos
It had been a long day. We'd spent every minute of our paid admittance to Banff National Park in the park since it's on a pay-per-day format, right up to the hour no less so it had been a bit of a late departure. We drove straight through Calgary. It was a Sunday, incredibly dead and to be honest, we had no desire to explore it after spending time in Seattle and Victoria. We were looking forward to getting back to the US National Parks, camping, and hopefully a lot of backpacking. But we still had some driving to do.
Glacier was another 5 hours away and we were running out of light. The problem was finding a place to camp. The weather was fine and there didn't seem any reason to get a room aside from pure convenience and we had not passed many of them either on the empty stretch of Highway 2 heading south from Calgary. The second problem was lack of cash. As is typical for me, I had made it a point to spend just about every Canadian dollar I had so all that remained was a 10-er. It wasn't likely enough to pay for a campground so I was hoping to find one that took credit cards. Actually, at this point, I was hoping to find any campground.
We finally found one but it was in a county park, self-pay, and a few dollars more than we had. The showers were coin-operated, obviously took only Canadian coins of which we had none. The place was totally empty and had an eerie feeling to it so we decided to press on. Besides, we both needed a shower. Questioning our sanity an hour later, we finally saw another sign heralding a campground.
This was more of an RV place but we were desperate, it looked nice and at least there were people around. The owner was an old woman who smoked incessantly and her flat smelled of nicotine but she explained much to my relief that she would take whatever cash I had, American or Canadian, even a combination of the two. So, for $10 Canadian and $2 American we were in.
Unique Qualities: The restrooms were nice enough, heated, and hot water felt great flowing over our bodies but the best part was where our tent was to set up. Since it was mostly set up for RV's she told us to set up our tent over by the baseball diamond that was part of the park. She said we would have more privacy there.
I have to tell you that after five months of camping all around the United States and now Canada, in all the National Parks we visited, even in all the backcountry areas we backpacked into, this had to be the craziest spot we ever pitched our tent. It was pretty windy so we set next to the concession behind home plate, eating our very late dinner and drinking a beer. You could almost hear the players mingling in the dugout. The crowd shouting at the umpire. Play Ball, indeed. Build it and they will camp.
Address: 46 Ave W, Claresholm, AB, Canada
Comparison: least expensive
Directions: 250 kilometers or 3 hours from Banff National Park. 140 miles or 4 hours from Glacier National Park.
Price: less than US$20