Whether you’re looking to pitch your tent or park a trailer, these front- and backcountry campgrounds deserve a spot at the top of your list.
With a plethora of provincial and national parks across BC and Alberta, camping allows outdoor adventurers the perfect base for experiencing the natural beauty these provinces have to offer. Scenic landscapes make the simple pleasure of falling asleep beneath a twinkling night sky and reveling in solitude more impactful. Due to the extreme popularity of camping in the summertime, reservations for campsites are often required.
This year, Parks Canada is moving their reservation system to a new platform. To make a camping reservation for 2023, you will need to create a new account in early March. More details can be found here.
Start planning for summer camping adventures in BC and AB today:
Garibaldi Provincial Park
Wake up to towering mountain peaks and turquoise glacial water when you spend the night here, with Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake being two of the park’s most popular backcountry campgrounds. As its name suggests, the 40 campsites at Taylor Meadows are surrounded by verdant fields in the summer months, while the 50 tent sites at the Garibaldi Lake campground afford direct access to the alpine lake for a refreshing dip. From the lake, you’ll be about a six-kilometre hike away from Panorama Ridge, boasting dramatic views of Garibaldi Lake backed by Mount Price, Mount Garibaldi and Black Tusk.
Reservations: Reservations are required year-round and can be made up to four months in advance of your arrival date.
West Coast Trail
Old-growth forests, secluded tidepools and notoriously rugged terrain make up the 75-kilometre-long West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island. This coastal trek meanders through First Nations reserves, past sandy beaches and cascading waterfalls in Pacific Rim National Park. It is one of BC’s most iconic multi-day hikes. Some of the most difficult sections require backpackers to climb ladders and trudge through mud, making this a serious workout. Thankfully, there are 13 official campgrounds along the scenic beaches where you can unfurl your sleeping bag for a restful night’s sleep. Campgrounds are equipped with composting toilets and bear caches, and operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
Reservations: Reservations launch Saturday, March 25, 2023 at 8 a.m. PT. Click here for more.
Banff National Park
The 13 campgrounds scattered across Banff National Park offer nearly 2,500 sites for campers to experience its stunning natural beauty. Campgrounds closest to the towns of Banff and Lake Louise require reservations, while others, like the tent-only Columbia Icefields Campground, which overlooks Athabasca Glacier, operate on a first-come, first-served basis. For sweeping waterfront views, reserve a spot at Lake Louise or Two Jack Lakeside Campground. But if you’re after easy access to hiking trails, then consider Johnston Canyon or Rampart Creek Campgrounds. To stay close to the town of Banff, go to Tunnel Mountain Campground.
Reservations: Reservations for front-country sites launch Thursday, March 23, 2023 at 8 a.m. MT. Click here for more.
Jasper National Park
The largest national park in the Canadian Rockies is home to 11 campgrounds with over 1,800 sites, accommodating every type of camper looking to set up solo tents to multi-room motorhomes. A range of campsites can be found, from the primitive Miette (Pocahontas) Campground to the full-service Whistlers site. For hot showers and well-maintained washrooms, as well as easy access to the town of Jasper and the Jasper Skytram, book ahead at Whistlers Campground, Jasper’s largest with 781 sites.
Reservations: Front-country campground reservations open Thursday, March 16, 2023 at 8 a.m. MT. Click here for more.
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park
Also known by its Blackfoot name of Áísínai'pi, this park in the southeast corner of Alberta is home to a collection of ancient rock carvings that date back two thousand years. Spend your afternoons exploring the thought-provoking pictographs and curious hoodoos or take a refreshing dip in the Milk River before retreating to your tent beneath the shade of the cottonwood trees. Among the 61 campsites, some are situated right off the beach for waterfront views.
Reservations: The operating season runs from May 19 to September 4, and campsites can be reserved 90 days in advance. A select few sites are available until the end of September.
Yoho National Park
Camping is the perfect way to explore the natural surroundings of Yoho National Park. Offering 88 riverside and secluded treed sites that boast views of Cathedral Mountain, Kicking Horse Campground is the largest campground in the park. It’s near Emerald Lake, Takakkaw Falls, Spiral Tunnels and the town of Field. Situated along the Kicking Horse River, this front-country campground is easy to access and comes equipped with flush toilets and hot showers. Forty-four of those sites are reservable, while the rest are first-come, first-served.
Reservations: You can reserve your site at Kicking Horse Campground starting Wednesday, March 29, 2023 at 8 a.m. MT. Click here for more.
For more Parks Canada reservation dates, click here.