Are you planning a trip but can't decide what you're looking for? Whether it's mountains, rivers or open prairies, Maycroft Provincial Recreation Area has ready access to it all. Less than a two hour drive south of Calgary, it's the ultimate place to spend a weekend out in the wilderness.
Nestled along the Oldman River, you'll have opportunities to fish, geocache, and canoe along the river. The Oldman River is one of the most popular places to fish along in southwest Alberta, and it flows downstream starting from the Rocky Mountains and joins the Bow River to drain in Hudson Bay. Maycroft's location makes it the perfect place to set up base camp for your fishing trips.
If you look a little further west, however, you'll have the remote and wild backcountry of the Bob Creek Wildlands to explore, as well as the glacial ridges of the Rocky Mountains. So whether you're planning a quick weekend getaway or a week-long stay, you'll never run out of things to do at Maycroft PRA!
Maycroft PRA is a 28.3 km (17.6 mi) drive north of Lundbreck, its closest city. From Lundbreck, head north on Hwy 22 for about 25 km (15.5 mi) until you reach Township Road 101A. Turn left at this intersection onto a gravel road, and keep left at the fork to head towards the campground. From the fork, its less than 500 meters (about 1500 ft) to get to the campsites.
Maycroft campground is situated right off of Hwy 22, also known as Cowboy Trail, and along the banks of Old Man River. The sites are both RV and tent-friendly, and while you're camping, you'll be out in the prairie with views of the Rocky Mountains to the west.
This campground has ten unserviced sites, with only firepits, vault toilets, and a non-potable water pump. You must bring your own water for drinking, cooking, and washing dishes - the water provided through the pump may only be used for putting out fires.
Like all parks in Alberta, pets are allowed, but they must be leashed at all times and cleaned up after. Don't forget to bring your scooper and dog waste bags if you're bringing a furry friend! Additionally, the campground is self-registration, so don't forget cash or a check to pay the campsite fee.
The Oldman River is one of the major fly-fishing destinations in southwest Alberta. This river starts in the western Rockies, flows through the prairies, and drains in the Bow River. In the section of the river that passes through Maycroft PRA, you'll be able to find rainbow and cut-bow trout. During the summer, while the river is higher, it's recommended that you take a boat onto the river to fish. However, after summer progresses and the water level lowers, you can simply wade into the river.
Maycroft PRA has a hand launching area where you can bring your canoes or kayaks onto the river. Depending on the time of year you go, the water levels might be drastically different. If you're planning on doing paddling trips along the Oldman River, call the parks office ahead of time to check the river conditions and prepare accordingly.
The surrounding area at Maycroft PRA is also home to some fun geocaching opportunities. If you've got your GPS handy, head west of the park to hunt for geocaches along the Rocky Mountain ridges. Who knows, you might find some fun clues and treasures while also getting to hike and explore the beautiful terrain.
Remember that fork in the road that you passed on your way in? If you take a right onto Range Road 22A, it'll take you into the Bob Creek Wildlands along a gravel road, where you'll have access to both developed trails and primitive, sub-alpine wilderness. Depending on how adventurous you're feeling, you could either hike the flat, 12.8 km (8 mi) Camp Ridge Route, or head further along the road to a trailhead that will take you up onto the ridge with a few trail options of various lengths. If you are well-versed on wilderness survival skills and want a more daring adventure, grab your backpacking gear and spend some time hiking in the backcountry. If you decide to do this, be warned - although there are some designated trails, they are not well marked.
Tubing doesn't only take place on water. If you're up in snowy Canada, bring your tube and get ready to tackle some hills! Winsport in Calgary has the largest tube park in Western Canada, and if you're okay with traveling further West, head into Banff to go down some tube trails in the Rocky Mountains.
Calgary is home to over 850 km (528 mi) of pathways, along with 95 km (59 mi) of trails, that you can explore on your fat bike. Bring your fat bike, or rent one at several locations in the city, and take it out onto the trails to cycle during Canada's colder months.