Waterton Lakes National Park


Waterton Lakes National Park Camping

If you want to enjoy the warm summer nights of southern Alberta, you will find several options for Waterton Lakes National Park camping.

Waterton Lakes National Park Campgrounds

Waterton Lakes National Park has three campgrounds holding almost campsites. Reservations are taken for sites at the main Townsite Campground 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).

The most popular camping spot—thanks to a central location and top-notch amenities—is TOWNSITE CAMPGROUND (Apr. to mid-Oct.), a large, open facility within walking distance of the lake, trailheads, restaurants, and shops. Many of its more than 246 sites have power, water, and sewer hookups. The campground also offers showers and kitchen shelters.

Mule deer at Townsite Campground.

The 129 sites at CRANDELL CAMPGROUND (mid-May to early Sept.), 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) from the town site on Red Rock Canyon Parkway, are sprinkled through an area affected by the 2017 Kenow wildfire, which destroyed all infrastructure that has since been rebuilt. This campground has flush toilets and kitchen shelters but no hookups. Pleasant Crandell Lake is an easy 2.4-kilometre (1.5-mile) walk from the southwest corner of the campground.

BELLY RIVER CAMPGROUND (mid-May to early Sept.), 26 kilometres (16 miles) from the town site along Chief Mountain International Highway, is the smallest (24 sites) and most primitive of Waterton Lakes National Park’s developed campgrounds. Located beside a shallow, slow-moving body of water, facilities are limited to pit toilets, a kitchen shelter, and drinking water.

Campfires are not allowed at the Townsite Campground, but at the other two facilities, a fire permit includes unlimited wood.

Waterton also holds 10 backcountry campgrounds. Each has pit toilets, a cook shelter, and a water supply. Open fires are discouraged and are prohibited during periods of high fire danger; check with a warden. If you are planning to camp in the backcountry, you must reserve directly through the Waterton Lakes Visitor Centre.

Commercial Campground

You’re a little way from the action at the commercial campgrounds outside Waterton Lakes National Park, but the wider range of facilities (especially if you have a young family) and the peace of mind in being able to reserve a site with hookups make them a viable alternative.

On Highway 5, six kilometres (3.7 miles) east of the park gate, is CROOKED CREEK CAMPGROUND (403/653-1100, June to mid-Oct.). The sites are close together, so it’s best suited to RVs.