Monday, January 7, 2013

Review: Tunnel Mountain Village I, Banff National Park

Tunnel Mountain Campground I
Location: 5 minutes outside of the Town of Banff
Website:  Parks Canada
Map: Campground or Google
Camping Facilities: Car Camping Only
Grade: D
Stargazing: Meh
Summary: The densest camping you'll ever see.
 Thoughts: Just outside the town of Banff, in what seems to be a suburban residential area, you'll find Tunnel Mountain Village I and II campgrounds.  The reason for their existence is singular - a place to park your car and pitch your tent when exploring other parts of the park.  There couldn't be any other purpose, since this is about as utilitarian as a campground gets.  Dense plots (618 of them!), with a sky shrouded by trees (and drowned out by Banff's street lighting), placed amongst a tightly woven grid of campsite access roads.  As a result, privacy is not a consideration.  (You'll get a good feel of it just by looking at the map.)  So you'll see and hear everything your neighbours do and they'll find the same.  One positive point is that the facilities were clean.  But why would they create campsites without firepits?  Western Canada is not short of firewood.  Did they run of out iron spark guards and shovels?

No matter what scenery you'll find by gazing from the periphery of the park (don't let the park website above fool you), it cannot redeem the lost opportunity that is this campground.  It's just there so that you pitch your tent while you see some real beauty elsewhere in the park.  I'll let the photos do the talking.

How many campsites can you spot?

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