When road tripping by campervan (especially one from North Campervans ;)), you have an abundance of options for location and/or style of campsite  due to them being compact with a low key paint job and fully self sufficient. Whichever style of camping you’re looking to do it’s good to keep in mind that high season is from June-September and that Banff and Jasper are especially busy during these times. If you’re looking to get away from the busyness, driving even just an hour farther in any direction can radically change your experience as far as crowds go.

Campsite Options

Some of the different camping options you can consider are:

  • National Parks Campgrounds (Reservable) – these campsites can be right in the hub of things with benefits being close access to many of the famous spots that you may be looking to visit. The cons can be that they can be quite busy and also open up in January for the entire season allowing them to book up quickly. A favorite of ours is Two Jack Lakeside if you’re looking to be in the Banff area.
  • Provincial Parks Campgrounds (Reservable) – these campsites are a bit more out of the way but can be excellent options that are close enough to the sights but a bit more removed from the crowds. They can still get busy with local traffic but being that the reservable sites open up just 90 days (or 120 in BC) in advance they can be a bit easier to book. If you’re looking for a spot that is a bit off the beaten track check out Premier Lake Provincial Park (north of Cranbrook).
  • First Come First Serve – these campsites are located in National and Provincial parks and are a great option for those who don’t like to plan in advance. You will need to be flexible though in that you may not always get a spot at your desired campground. Best practice is to move during the week and when looking to get into a new campsite – get there the morning of and wait to obtain a spot before continuing with your day. A favorite of ours is Kicking Horse Campground (Yoho National Park) – especially if you can get a site close to the river!
  • Backcountry Campgrounds – these campsites are located throughout National/Provincial Parks and public land areas. If you’re game to hike a bit, have tenting gear and want a bit more of a wilderness experience – these can be amazing options to add into your road trip adventure. A favorite that is an easy hike in for all ages is Laughing Falls in Yoho. If you prefer canoeing – to add in a trip camping on Maligne Lake (Jasper) or Clearwater Lake (Wells Grey Provincial Park) could also be options worth considering!
  • Random Camping – these camping areas require you to be completely self sufficient. Don’t expect there to be any services and keep in mind that roads aren’t always well maintained. If you do random camp check out this article by Alberta Parks giving some guidelines on random camping responsibly. The camping and hiking in around Abraham Lake (Nordegg area) is awesome.
  • Private Campgrounds – these can be found throughout Western Canada outside of the National and Provincial Parks – just use Google!
  • Casinos, truck stops and some Walmarts – if you’re in a tight spot and just need a place to crash for the night.

All of the above options are worth considering! Do your research, respect signage, and if you don’t know – just ask 🙂 Regardless of where you end up, “Bare” Campsites should be practiced meaning all garbage/food etc is stored in vehicles, food lockers or thrown away in the garbage.

Happy Camping!

Camping in Western Canada!

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