Icefields Parkway Camping

Icefields Parkway camping is extremely popular in summer, with campgrounds in scenic locations catering to tents, campers, and RVs.

Some Icefields Parkway campgrounds can be reserved through the PARKS CANADA CAMPGROUND RESERVATION SERVICE (877/737-3783) and it’s strongly recommended that you reserve as soon as the system opens in January (check the website for the exact day and time reservations are accepted).

Although a number of Icefields Parkway campgrounds 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 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 between Lake Louise and the Columbia Icefield

Beyond Lake Louise, the first available camping along the Icefields Parkway is at MOSQUITO CREEK CAMPGROUND (late June-late Sept.), 24 kilometres (15 miles) from the Trans-Canada Highway. Don’t be scared by the name, though; the bugs here are no worse than anywhere else. The 32 sites are nestled in the forest, with a tumbling creek separating the campground from a hostel of the same name. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring, while other amenities include drinking water, pit toilets, and a kitchen shelter with an old-fashioned wood stove. If you’re camping at Mosquito Creek and want a break from the usual camp fare, consider travelling 17 kilometres (10.6 miles) up the highway to the convivial, historic dining room at Lodge at Bow Lake to feast on Canadian-inspired cuisine.

The view from Waterfowl Lakes Campground.

The view from Waterfowl Lakes Campground.

WATERFOWL LAKES CAMPGROUND (late June-mid-Sept.) is 33 kilometres (20 miles) north along the Icefields Parkway from Mosquito Creek. It features 116 sites between Upper and Lower Waterfowl Lakes, with a few sites in view of the lower lake. Facilities include drinking water, flush toilets, and kitchen shelters with wood-burning stoves. Rise early to watch the first rays of sun hit Mount Chephren from the shoreline of the lower lake, then plan on hiking the 4-kilometre (2.5-mile) trail to Chephren Lake—you’ll be the first on the trail and back in time for a late breakfast.

Continuing toward Jasper, the Icefields Parkway passes The Crossing, a good place to gas up and buy last-minute groceries before reaching RAMPART CREEK CAMPGROUND (July-Aug.), 31 kilometres (19 miles) beyond Waterfowl Lake and 88 kilometres (55 miles) from Lake Louise. With just 50 sites, this campground fills early each afternoon. Facilities include kitchen shelters, pit toilets, and drinking water.

Campgrounds near the Columbia Icefield

Within a few minutes drive of the Columbia Icefield are three campgrounds. All sites fill on a first-come basis.

 WILCOX CREEK and COLUMBIA ICEFIELD CAMPGROUNDS are within two kilometres (1.2 miles) of each other at the extreme southern end of the park, just over 100 kilometres (62 miles) south of the town of Jasper, and around 125 kilometres (78 miles) north of Lake Louise. Both are primitive facilities with pit toilets, cooking shelters, and fire rings. Smallish sites at Columbia Icefield Campground (tents only) are set in a stunted subalpine forest of aspen and spruce, with views extending across to the Athabasca Glacier. Immediately to the south, Wilcox Creek offers larger sites, better suited to RVs and trailers, but with no hookups.

 ICEFIELDS CENTRE RV (mid-May to mid-Oct.) is a glorified parking lot beside the main parking area for the Icefields Centre. It has space for around 100 campers and RVs (no tents) and unparalleled views of the Athabasca Glacier.

Wilcox Creek Campground.

Wilcox Creek Campground.

Campgrounds Between the Columbia Icefield and Jasper

 JONAS CREEK, HONEYMOON LAKE, and MOUNT KERKESLIN CAMPGROUNDS are all within a 50-kilometre (31-mile) stretch continuing north from the Columbia Icefield. All have pit toilets and cooking shelters, but no hookups. Sites at these three campgrounds are first-come, first-served.

Honeymoon Lake Campground

Mount Kerkeslin Campground.

Closer to the town of Jasper are the following three Icefields Parkway campgrounds that you will need reservations for (see above).

 WAPITI CAMPGROUND offers 366 sites and has showers. This is the park’s only campground open year-round.

Two kilometres (1.2 miles) farther north, WHISTLERS CAMPGROUND, at the base of Whistlers Road, three kilometres (1.9 miles) south of Jasper, has over 700 sites, making it the largest campground in the Canadian Rockies. Washrooms and streetlights are spread throughout, while each section has showers, playgrounds, and a nightly interpretive program. Whistlers is open May to mid-October.

Sites at WABASSO CAMPGROUND, along Highway 93A approximately 16 kilometres (10 miles) south of town, are set among stands of spruce and aspen.