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Tunnel Mountain Campground
Banff National Park
Banff, Alberta, Canada
by
Norman W. Hildrum

Entrance to Tunnel Mountain Campground with Mount Rundell in background - Photo by Norman HildrumWe left Calgary and followed the Trans Canada highway west to Canmore and Banff. There were storm clouds in the mountains and we expected some rain and sure enough, we ran through a few light showers as we drove into the mountains. Because Sharon and I intend to stay in the area for the entire month of June, we new we would experience almost every type of weather.

We arrived at Banff National Park around 4:30 PM and easily found Tunnel Mountain Campground. Banff National Park was formally established in 1885. It has an area of 2564 sq. miles. The park is famous for its spectacular mountain scenery. It is Canada's oldest national park and is both a summer and a winter resort.

Tunnel Mountain Campground (The RV Section) has 322 full hook-up pull-through campsites (We were given site 723). There are snowcapped mountains in every direction. Vegetation in the campground varies from aspen to pines and firs. Our site was close to one of the parks well maintained washrooms. We had 30 amp electrical service and had no Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, Alberta, Canada - Photo by Norman Hildrumproblem leveling the camper in the generous camp spurs. Stays are limited to 14 days and our cost was $15.60 (06/00) for full hook-ups.

Hiking, sightseeing, and shopping are primary activities in the area. A great place to visit is the Banff Springs Hotel. We followed Tunnel Mountain Drive and stopped at several great overlooks including one that gives the visitor a great view of the hotel. We parked the truck on the street and walked several blocks to the hotel. We walked through the public areas, checked out the menus of the restaurants, and did a bit of shopping. We then stopped at the Rundle Lounge which overlooks one of the beautiful valleys. We found a window seat and ordered local beer, chicken strips, split pea and ham soup, and French fries. As we ate, we enjoyed watching the rain clouds sweep through the valley.

We are continually amazed at the beauty of this area. Just a short walk from the campground, a large portion of the Bow River valley spreads out before you. Mount Rundle looms in the background and numerousBanff Elk - Photo by Norman Hildrum pines and firs frame the view. The scene is truly breathtaking.

Elk are everywhere in the area. One night, eight elk casually moved along row 8 (we are in row 7) and quietly grazed on grass and tender dandelion shoots. One elk passed very near the picnic table I was sitting on and carefully munched on grass and dandelions. I had the video camera and got some great footage of them.

Another activity that is a must is to ride the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain. The ride is about a mile long and you rise several thousand feet. It takes about 10 minutes to reach the observation center. From here the views are exceptional. The panoramic vistas are beyond description. Be sure to bring film and fresh batteries. When you have finished View from Sulphur Mountain - Photo by Norman Hildrumwith the pictures, you can have a bite to eat in one of several mountain-top restaurants. We had soup and sandwiches and everything tasted great.

We can't emphasize enough how much we love the Canadian Rockies and especially the spectacular scenery in Banff National Park. We highly recommend this as a vacation destination for all SavvyCampers.


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