Camping in Banff National ParkParks Canada runs all 13 serviced campgrounds within Banff National Park. Many of these campsites are easily accessible from the Icefields Parkway and close to major sites of interest including Lake Minnewanka, Lake Louise and Johnston Canyon.
There are close to 2,500 sites available within Banff National Park with fees ranging from $16 for the more remote and basic sites up to $39 for the larger, full-service sites close to Banff.
Most campgrounds are open from May through to September and one campground at Tunnel Mountain near Banff and the Lake Louise trailer site are open for winter camping.
The busiest campgrounds can be booked in advance from the beginning of April at Parks Canada. But several sites within the park operate on a first-come, first serve basis.
Campsites around Banff
There are three separate campgrounds at Tunnel Mountain just a few kilometers from Banff townsite. With over a thousand pitches across the three sites you'll find it hard to enjoy solitude. On the plus side, you'll be able to catch a bus at the entrance or walk into Banff and take advantage of all the town's amenities.
The Two Jack Main and Two Jack Lakeside campsites, close to Lake Minnewanka offer quieter, non-reservable sites 12km from Banff. Lakeside has the advantage of hot showers and pitches close to the water's edge.
Backcountry Camping in Banff
Parks Canada also runs 50 backcountry or wilderness campsites for those in search of a seriously rugged outdoor experience. These campsites are out of reach of tour buses and can only be reached by long hikes, horse or mountain bike. Wilderness passes, which cost around $9.80 per day or $68.70 for the season are required and can be picked up at the park entrances or the visitor information centres in Banff and Lake Louise. Visitors going backcountry must be prepared to carry their own supplies including food, emergency medical and survival kit, water purification equipment and carry out all garbage.
Backcountry campsites can be booked through the Parks Canada website. The reservation booking fee is $11.70.
Campsites around Lake Louise
Lake Louise has separate trailer and tent sites on the Bow River just 1km from the village centre and 4km from Lake Louise. Tents and soft-sided trailers are banned from the Lake Louise campsite during times of high bear activity in April/May and October/November.
Campsites outside Banff
Canmore, just 25km south of Banff and Kananaskis Country to the west of Banff National Park have a huge selection of provincial parks and privately-run campgrounds, RV parks and resorts.
Spray Valley and Peter Lougheed provincial parks and Elbow River Valley offer picturesque camping and recreational opportunities in the foothills of the Rockies.
Tips: Check out information boards and the Parks Canada website for updates on campfire regulations, area closures, bear awareness, drinking water safety, avalanche risks etc.