Back during our first full summer when we were camping neophytes and made lots of mistakes, we spent a couple of nights in the Peter Lougheed area. There are multiple campgrounds and one we visited was Elkwood. Elkwood had actual showers (in one location for the entire campground), an ampitheatre that held concerts and park ranger informative talks, and a ton of bike trails. We swore we'd come back one day and thankfully, Schnerp.com let us do exactly that!
[side note: schnerp is a site that alerts users to cancelled reservations to their chosen campgrounds so they can try to snag the newly opened spot. The window is only open for 10 minutes and the first 2-3 times we tried someone else got the spot before us.]
We ended up never using the showers nor did we attend the concert but the campground was as nice as we had hoped. We arrived Friday after work and a fast food dinner, the nearly eternal summer daylight allowed us to still get the tent and gear all set up before s'mores and getting ready for bed. I was also thrilled and surprised to sleep as late as 7am and only woke a little cold in the night.
After a more or less leisurely breakfast we headed out to the Blackshale Suspension Bridge, which I would not say would be worth the trip from Calgary but being about 20 minutes from camp made a ton of sense. The bridge itself is cool, as a suspension bridge, but there isn't much else to it. The loop is only about 1km long, taking us up to and over the bridge, then looping into the forest before spitting us back out by the car.
I had heard quite a bit about renting kayaks and canoes from a nearby campground (our PL #3 if all goes well - next year) and wanted to check it out. Boulton Creek Campground has all the Elkwood does PLUS a general store, ice cream shop, and aforesaid rentals. It's also where we buy the token to use for showers if we so indulged. We went for the ice cream and decided the watercraft rentals were a bit rich for our blood. It's a cool system though, you handle the paperwork for the rental and get the oars/lifevests at the shop, but the craft themselves are at the waterside about 10 minutes' drive away.
Instead we decided to check out a different waterside day use area and had a great time there, although the kids would probably deny it now. We scrambled around the rocks, the kid got their feet wet (and their shoes, socks and to some extent pants/shorts) and we watched a bald eagle grab a fish out of the water, then - after its lunch - come hang out in a tree near us. Upon return to the campground Terry and I took a little bike ride and caught some stunning mountain views as well as admiring the wildflowers beginning to poke their heads up.
Sunday morning there was rain in the forecast so after pancakes we got everything packed up in the cars and got ready to go. On the way home we stopped at several day use areas to check them out. I deeply regretted not pulling off at Grizzly Peak because the views were clear to the wall of mountains across the way. At the Opal day use area there was an entire city of Columbian Ground Squirrels (exactly the small mammal I have been thinking are prairie dogs all these years and just learned this minute that I was wrong) scampering around worried about birds but paying us no mind. And many weren't all that concerned about the birds either, lounging fully stretched out on rocks or among the grass. I could happily watch those adorable rodents all day but we did need to eventually get home. We discovered that there's trout fishing at Mt. Lorette Ponds and Terry happily scoped that out for future reference. There's also a pulloff I noticed every time we were on Route 40 that has an old fashioned well and stairs beside it leading up into .... who knows what? A couple of miles after I was sure I had just missed it Terry saw it and pulled off. It was a sweet a spot as I thought it would be, but the trail just led along the little creek and we didn't follow it very long.
Due to various logistics this is the only camping trip of summer 2022 and it was definitely one for the books!