Days after being in Alberta, I’m back out exploring and we’re heading on a day trip into McLean Creek. It’s still early winter (I’m writing this on November 30th) and there isn’t a lot of snow in this part of the province yet. There are some cold temperatures and, of course, the usual “winds of winter” howling through the foothills.
I’m staying in Calgary this time around, and it is a beautiful location within the province of Alberta. A forty-five minute drive can get you into the mountains (west), or into the badlands (east). A slightly longer drive of about three hours to the south can get you into Montana and Glacier National Park.
On this day, however, I choose to head west, back into the mountain regions and took a brief drive into the Kananaskis Country – specifically McLean Creek “Public Use Land Zone” (or PLUZ). This is a popular off-roading and hunting area for people in this part of the province and I expected it to be in pretty rough shape as far as a clean and quiet camping area would go.
A few minutes down the trail and I was actually fairly surprised. A small amount of “trail trash” was spotted along with the carcass of an Elk from a recent hunters kill. I would have thought that most would take the entire carcass with them to butcher at home, but I suppose that the “field stripping” of valuable meat is fine too. I just don’t agree with it being left so close to the trail and camp locations as the wild animals will be all over the carcass looking to pick the bones clean.
It turns out that “big game” hunting is over as of December 1st (I’m writing this on November 30th), so at least I shouldn’t have to worry about being shot while camping out here in the future. Unfortunately, the area is closed to wheeled vehicle traffic over the bulk of winter and into the spring thaw so I’ll be putting any winter camping adventures here on hold.
All-in-all, the area looks like it should be a good spot to visit once in a while and numerous off-road groups will also venture into here regularly. I’ll more than likely be meeting up with local offroad groups for some “wheeling” adventures here so be sure to watch our YouTube channel for those adventures. Sadly, it’s likely an area best avoided in the heart of the summer with the party goers out tearing up the place. Maybe someone in the area can prove me wrong, but I’ve heard a few stories!
That all being said, I’ll still be roaming throughout the area, exploring the region for some new adventures.
If you’re a local to the Calgary area, what are some of your favourite places for adventure?
For those of you travelling through the area, you can get maps and other important details of the McLean Creek area on the Kananaskis Country website here.