Banff National Park


Banff National Park Camping

Banff National Park camping is in one of 13 campgrounds that hold more than 2,000 sites, making camping an easy and inexpensive way to enjoy the park.

Campsites can be reserved through the PARKS CANADA CAMPGROUND RESERVATION SERVICE (877/737-3783) and it’s strongly recommended that you do reserve as soon as the system opens in January (check the website for the exact day and time reservations are accepted). Although a limited number of sites are available for those without reservations, they fill fast each day (especially in July and August). The official checkout time is 11 a.m., so if you don’t have a reservation, plan on arriving at your campground of choice earlier in the day than this to ensure getting a site.

Open fires are permitted in designated areas throughout all campgrounds, but you must purchase a Firewood Permit to burn wood, which is provided at no cost.

Campgrounds Around the Town of Banff

Closest to town is TUNNEL MOUNTAIN CAMPGROUND, which is three campgrounds rolled into one. The location is a lightly treed ridge east of downtown, with views north to Cascade Mountain and south to Mount Rundle. From town, follow Tunnel Mountain Road east, to beyond the Douglas Fir Resort (which is within walking distance for groceries, liquor, and laundry). If you’re coming in off the TransCanada Highway from the east, bypass town completely by turning left onto Tunnel Mountain Road at the Banff Rocky Mountain Resort. Approaching from this direction, the first campground you pass is the park’s largest, with 622 well-spaced, relatively private sites, each with a fire ring and picnic table. Other amenities include drinking water, hot showers, and kitchen shelters. This campground has no hookups. It is open mid-May to early September. Less than one kilometre (0.6 mile) farther along Tunnel Mountain Road toward town is a signed turnoff (Hookups) that leads to a registration booth for two more campgrounds. The power-only section (closest to town) stays open year-round, the other mid-May to September. Both have hot showers but little privacy between sites.

Tunnel Mountain Campground.

Lake Minnewanka Road Campgrounds

Along Lake Minnewanka Road northeast of town are two campgrounds offering fewer services than the others, but with sites that offer more privacy. The pick of the two is TWO JACK LAKESIDE CAMPGROUND (June to mid-Sept.), with 80 sites tucked into trees at the south end of Two Jack Lake, an extension of Lake Minnewanka. Facilities include hot showers, kitchen shelters, drinking water, and flush toilets. It’s just over six kilometres (3.7 miles) from the TransCanada Highway underpass.

The much larger TWO JACK MAIN CAMPGROUND (mid-June to mid-Sept.) is a short distance farther along the road, with 381 sites spread throughout a shallow valley. It offers the same facilities as Two Jack Lakeside, sans showers.

Bow Valley Parkway Campgrounds

Along Bow Valley Parkway between the town of Banff and Lake Louise are two campgrounds. Closest to Banff is JOHNSTON CANYON CAMPGROUND (early June to mid-Sept.), between the road and the rail line, 26 kilometres (16 miles) west of Banff. It is the larger of the two campgrounds, with 140 sites, and has hot showers but no hookups. It is within walking distance of Johnston Canyon Resort, with a café, restaurant, and the beginning of a trail to the park’s best-known waterfalls.

Johnston Canyon Campground.

Continuing eight kilometres (five miles) toward Lake Louise, CASTLE MOUNTAIN CAMPGROUND (early June to early Sept.) is also within walking distance of a grocery store (no restaurant), but it has just 44 sites and no showers. Services are limited to flush toilets, drinking water, and kitchen shelters.

PROTECTION MOUNTAIN CAMPGROUND, a further 14 kilometres (8.7 miles) northwest and just over 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) from Lake Louise, was closed for many years to allow Parks Canada to clear trees that were deemed dangerous; the trees are now gone and the campground has reopened.

Lake Louise Campgrounds

Lake Louise has a large campground that is divided into separate sections for hard-sided units and soft-sided units (including tents and tent trailers). For details, visit the Lake Louise Camping page.

Icefields Parkway Campgrounds

Icefields Parkway campgrounds generally have fewer facilities than those in Lake Louise and Banff, but demand is lower, so it’s easier to get a reservation and some campgrounds along this stretch of highway are first-come, first-served. Please visit Icefields Parkway Camping.