RVezy Guest Writers: Irwan Marroc's Guide to Chinook Provincial, Alberta

Feb 28th 2020

Irwan Marroc is an RV owner, an avid traveler, and our newest blog contributor. Like any good RV owner, he knows all of the best spots to take his family for an amazing RV adventure. Stay tuned for more guides and articles from Irwan!

Before I tell you about our experience with this location allow me to introduce myself. My name is Irwan and I was born and raised in the South of France, just a short drive away from the French Riviera. I moved to Canada in 1987 where I spent my teenage years in Ontario.

I moved to Alberta in the fall of 2008 in order for me to be closer to the woman who would eventually become my wife. It took about three seconds for me to fall in love with the province that would become my home. We live in Turner Valley, a stone's throw from Kananaskis Country where we love to spend a lot of time. We had always thought about getting a camper at some point and four and half years ago, we finally did just that.

Photo courtesy of Irwan Marroc

It gave us the freedom to travel across the country at our leisure. It was amazing the things we discovered. Yoho National Park and Waterton National Park to name a few. We also do a lot of back country camping which we enjoy just as much. However, I will focus on the places that are must see throughout Alberta and I will start with a nice area not far from the border with British Columbia, in the Crowsnest Pass.

Chinook Provincial Recreation Area - Alberta.

Chinook Provincial Recreation Area is the place in question. We discovered it when a renter had asked us to bring our trailer down to this campground. After we had dropped off the camper and set it up for them, we had taken a quick drive across the area to see it for ourselves. Immediately, we knew we would have to come back and spend more time there. A week later, when their rental had come to an end, we found a site very quickly that would suit our needs. We had to race into Coleman to the Husky gas station on the main drag where we were able to use their dumping station to reset the camper for our use. If I remember correctly, we paid $10 to use those facilities. It is incredibly convenient and the people who work there were very helpful.

Photo courtesy of Irwan Marroc

To find the campground, if you arrive from Calgary, remain on Highway 3 and drive on until you reach Allison Creek Road. Hang a right and follow the road. You will come to a V-shaped intersection after a few kilometres. It is important to take the road going left. Otherwise, you will end up in Dutch Creek which is located in the Livingstone Range.

Once you take that left, within minutes, you will come to the Allison Creek Brood Trout Hatchery Station. Drive past this location and continue until you reach the campground, a couple of minutes further up the road. It is a good idea to come in around the time of checkout. It will provide you with your choice of sites you can call home for a couple of days as this is a first come first serve facility. Thankfully, we happened to find a site overlooking the Chinook Lake, Crowsnest Mountain and the Seven Sisters. Within an hour, we were set-up and ready to enjoy ourselves.

Photo courtesy of Irwan Marroc

As this was our first time at this campground, we took inventory of the things we could enjoy by going to the tourism office located off highway 3 to the west of Coleman. They gave us a number of things we could do and after discussing, we decided we would try a short hike to Star Creek Falls. However, you don't need to go too far to enjoy yourself. The lake can accommodate kayakers, swimmers and as long as you have a license, you can fish.

On the first night, we were treated to an incredible show from mother nature. A beautiful buck walked past our campground while eating. The girls were overjoyed to be able to see him strut past our campsite. Later that afternoon, I spotted a gorgeous Bald Eagle resting in a Spruce just above me. In the evening, as things were quieting down, two loons began calling out to each other. Let me say that it doesn't get more Canadian than that. I didn't notice any evidence of bear activity but that isn't to say there were none in the area. Having bear spray is highly recommended.

Photo courtesy of Irwan Marroc

Day two took us to Star Creek Falls. This was recommended to us by an employee at the information booth just west of the campground on highway 3. This does take a little work to find but the map that was supplied to us made short work of it. This is a short hike into a beautiful little canyon that leads to the falls. The girls loved it. The trail is easy to negotiate even with children. However, I would not recommend having a heavy backpack while crawling through the area and shoes with good tread will be a must.

Photo courtesy of Irwan Marroc

I do have to admit that after the falls, we spent most of our time at camp relaxing and enjoying the views. We are planning another trip to the area to explore a little more. As a fan of aviation and history, there is a hike you can do that will take you to the remains of an aircraft that crashed into the area in 1946. Look up the North York Cirque hike. There is also the Frank Slide well worth looking into. The story behind it can be quite sobering but again, it is things like this that make this area of the province such an incredible place to live in and to enjoy.

Photo courtesy of Irwan Marroc

I plan on visiting all of these places and I will make further entries over time.

Here is a link to the campground for more information:

https://www.albertaparks.ca/parks/south/chinook-pra/

Happy Camping!

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