Grande Cache is a hamlet within the Rocky Mountains surrounded by three river valleys. We sat down with Jenny Daubert, Tourism supervisor for the Municipality of Greenview, to ask her about camping in the region.
Tell us a little about yourself and the area.
My name’s Jenny. I moved here five years ago with my family and I work at the Tourism Center as a supervisor.
My family and I have a passion for camping. Grande Cache is so unique because of the many outdoor activities it has to offer, especially if you’re an outdoor enthusiast like myself. There’s camping, there’s hiking, there’s a lot of stuff for the outdoor enthusiast, so it’s definitely a great place to be. It’s very different living in Grande Cache with the wilderness at our doorstep.
We don’t have to travel far to see so many unique, beautiful natural landmarks. There is never anything that’s stagnant. It’s always continuously changing, and it’s great to explore your own backyard.
What’s the weather like in Grande Cache? And are there different things to do during the different seasons?
The weather and Grande Cache is fairly unpredictable. One moment it can be raining, the next moment windy. We do have a lot of Chinook winds that roll through, so it does bring different seasons and different climates for the region on a regular basis. So, yeah, definitely dress for any type of weather, if you’re looking at enjoying any of our outdoor activities.
What I like about the seasons in Grande Cache is that every season has something different to offer. The winter offers great snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. The spring is a moment of rebirth. You see a lot of the budding trees, a lot of the animals that are newly parents, which is great.
We’ve seen a few deer in town, brand new with their spots still on. It’s just really neat and it’s a moment of growth, for sure. It’s a rebirth of the area.
And the summer is fantastic. We have local beaches and a lot of waterways. We’ve got an amazing rafting company in town, and there’s just so much to do in the summer.
And the fall is almost bittersweet. It is so beautiful with the changing colours, but just over the horizon is going to be our winter. So, the fall is beautiful, but it also is a sign that winter’s on its way.
You mentioned wildlife. Do you see a lot of wildlife in the town itself, or mainly when you’re out camping?
As a visitor to Grande Cache, you can expect to see some wildlife, if you’re lucky. We do have a lot of deer in and around town. We were fortunate enough to see a mother deer with her baby fawns this spring. It was beautiful, with their spot still on. It was great.
2019 seems to be the year of the bear. We’ve had quite a few bears in and around town. Fish and wildlife have been really good at keeping tabs on them, and the bears themselves have been pretty well behaved. So, if you’re lucky, you will see all sorts of different wildlife in and around Grande Cache.
Are there a lot of places to camp near Grande Cache?
As a visitor coming to Grande Cache, there are a few different options for you when you’re looking for somewhere to camp for the weekend or even longer.
The first is the Grande Cache Municipal Campground in the Municipal District of Greenview. Here we have 77 sites, fully serviced. We even have pull-through sites for the bigger units. We have laundry facilities that are coin-operated, bathroom facilities, there’s a playground for the children, so there’s a little bit of something for everybody here. The nice thing about staying in the municipal campground is that you are located within town limits, so you have the amenities close by, like the grocery store.
We do have a beautiful provincial campground just outside of town, about 30 kilometres south towards Hinton. It’s called Pierre Grey’s and they do have four loops of campsites. Some are fully serviced, others are made just for tents. And there is a children’s campground there as well.
Depending on how long you’re planning on staying, how little your kids are, there are definitely options for the young family as well. If you’re coming to Grande Cache with your family looking for a great spot to camp, I suggest the municipal campground or Pierre Grey’s locations.
If you’re looking for something a little bit off the beaten path and not necessarily in a provincial park or municipal campground, there are other places in and around town that you’re welcome to camp. The Willmore Wilderness has a lot of people backpacking in and camping for the night.
There are several places that you can find a spot within the woods to just camp. As long as you take away everything that you’ve brought, and leave it just the way that you found it.
Do you have any tips for visitors coming to Grande Cache to camp? Particularly any advice for less experienced campers?
If you’re coming to Grande Cache to camp, regardless of your skill level, one thing I would be advising people to be cautious of is making sure that you’re properly prepared for all types of weather. Weather can change pretty drastically, pretty quickly.
For someone starting out, especially camping in Grande Cache, the advice I would give you is to really prepare yourself. There aren’t a whole lot of amenities in town for stocking up on camping gear, so make sure that you bring all the basic camping necessities with you when you come into town.
For somebody new to camping, especially in the Grande Cache area, my suggestion would be to bring enough bear repellent, bear bangers, bells, even bear spray. This is bear country and it’s something we need to be cautious of being in the area. Another thing is to remember your sunscreen and bug spray. You’ll find mosquitoes, especially if you are camping closer to water.
For those who are a bit more advanced, I would suggest checking out some of the areas that are a little bit off-road if you appreciate an adventure. There are waterfalls that you can hike to and pitch a tent to stay the night. There is the Willmore Wilderness that’s vast and mainly untouched, that you are welcome to pack in your tent and your camping gear and stay a couple of nights. So, if you are more advanced, there is definitely something for you here in town as well.
Another thing is to make sure that you’re fully stocked up on your supplies, especially when it comes to outdoor activities. If you like to go canoeing, bring your canoe. Unfortunately, there aren’t any places to rent or purchase sporting goods equipment, so plan your vacation. Think about what you would like to do and bring the necessary equipment so that you can really utilize the space to the best of its potential.
And if you are in the area, you are welcome to come to the Grande Cache Tourism and Interpretive Centre, where we also have full guides on all of our local camping opportunities.
So people should bring everything they need. Are there any grocery stores nearby?
If you’re looking for some supplies here in Grande Cache, although we don’t have a sporting goods store, we do have a local grocery store, as well as a few other stores for some basic necessities, such as your food supply and the necessary bear spray for the area. Definitely come prepared, but if you’ve forgotten one or two items you are most likely able to find them here in town.
Do visitors need to book with campgrounds in advance?
Most of them do offer registration. You are welcome to register online as well as at the front booth upon entering the campground. They do fill up fairly quickly, so if you’re looking for a long weekend reservation we do suggest that you book well enough in advance. Most of the rules and regulations can be found on that website as well.
What would be your perfect day in Grande Cache?
The perfect day for me when camping would be a nice sleep in the morning, coffee, and beautiful weather. The weather definitely makes or breaks a camping trip, especially when you have little kids.
While we can’t predict the future of the weather, it is nice to be prepared and have a nice roaring fire to stay warm when the wind does decide to kick up or the rain starts to fall.
When camping, my favourite thing to eat in Grande Cache is obviously smokies and smores over the fire. Those are an all-time favourite and I’m pretty sure you’d like them too.
Where’s your favourite camp spot in Grande Cache? And do you recommend any other spots to visitors?
My favourite spot to camp in and around Grande Cache is the municipal campground.
I have a younger family so it is nice to be so close to town as well as have the amenities available. If we’re feeling adventurous, we will pack a tent.
We have packed a tent up to Eaton Falls and stayed the night. However, with small kids, it is tough to predict what might happen. Somebody’s shoes might get wet, and if you’re backpacking in you might not have an extra pair. So just make sure that you are prepared for whichever adventure you decide to take.
For favourite spots, one of my favourite stories about Grande Cache would be the story of Pierre Grey himself. Out at Pierre Grey’s Lakes, there is an old historical site where the fur trapper’s cabin was located. The ruins are still there and you are welcome to venture out, it’s probably about a 10-minute walk. If you are looking for more information on that particular site, you can find it at the Tourism Information Center.
Where should visitors go if they want to experience Grande Cache’s local hospitality?
If you’re coming to Grande Cache and would enjoy a nice drink with the locals, there are great local bars and restaurants available in town. The local Legion has karaoke on Friday nights, which is a great place to meet some locals and sing a song or two.
Or if you’re camping, one option is to just invite some local campers back to your own site, or join them at theirs.
Where’s the best place to cool off when you’re camping on a hot day?
The best place to cool off in Grande Cache in the summer would be Grande Cache Lake. Take a dip off the dock or wade in from the beach area.
If it is raining or you want to stay in tow, we have a beautiful aquatic center that is available for the public and it is top of the line.
Do you find visitors have any misconceptions about Grande Cache? Are they surprised by what they find when they get here?
One of the biggest misconceptions about Grande Cache is that there’s nothing to do here in town. As you can see there is plenty to do.
There’s a lot of camping and outdoor activities. If you’re looking for indoor use, there’s a lot of things to do, and I think that we haven’t been given the credit when it comes to outdoor activities and the variety of things to do.
If you’re familiar with Banff and Jasper, I’m sure you’ve seen the amazing, beautiful areas that they encompass. Grande Cache is very similar, as we’re also located in the Rocky Mountains.
However, if you’re looking for a place, a hidden little gem away from the rest of the busy tourist activity, please come to Grande Cache. I guarantee and I promise you, that you won’t be disappointed.
There is something for everybody here, and I think you should just give it a chance. So, come in, check it out, and see for yourself.