As we all know by now, Canada is celebrating it’s 150th birthday. In honour of this lovely milestone, the nation’s national parks are opening their doors at no charge.
With Golden, British Columbia being located at the heart of six national parks, we know the area well, and we know you'll be exploring these national beauties - most likely staying more than one day to soak in all the scenery.
If you want a break from lodges, to connect with nature, or to stay at the trailhead of lots of amazing hiking, camping is a great option.
If you are unsure where, we have a list of our favourite campsites, all easily accessible, sorted by national park.
But be sure to check online to ensure availability - the campsites in the parks are always quite busy.
Yoho National Park
All campgrounds in Yoho National Park are secured on a first come, first served basis. Make sure you arrive early to claim your space, especially in a year where there are expected to be an influx of visitors.
1. Takakkaw Falls
Located at the base of one of the more magnificent waterfalls in the Canadian Rockies, this campground has one of the best access points if you're looking to explore and be active during your stay at the park. With a whole whack of hikes nearby (including many of our favourites!), this campground is one to definitely check out.
2. Hoodoo Creek
This is the closest National Park campground to Golden. Located just before the mighty Wapta Falls - a waterfall that feeds into The Kicking Horse River - this campground offers some beautiful views of Mount Hunter, and is accessible for small RV’s with no service. It’s got an open meadow showcasing the mountains, a creek close by, and is hidden in the trees for a nice secluded sleep in the woods.
3. kicking horse campground
The largest campground in the park, Kicking Horse Campground offers a few more amenities. If flush toilets and hot showers sound like a treat, this would be a good options to check out. Located east of Field, B.C. (on the way to Takakkaw Falls), it has the beautiful Kicking Horse River flowing through.
If you're looking for some hiking ideas while visiting the park, check out our recommendations for The Best Hikes in Yoho National Park
Glacier National Park
It’s worthy to note here that for those looking to stay in Glacier National Park, camping is the only option, as no hotels are located within the park limits. These campsites are also offered on a first-come, first served basis.
1. Illecillewaet Campground
Located within The Rogers Pass National Historic Site, this campground is a rarity. It is one of the few places in Canada where you can camp at a national historic site. Plus, the campground is the gateway to some of the most challenging, yet beautiful hikes in the park.
We highly recommend staying at this campground to knock off a bunch of hikes from one location. It is located 3 km west of the summit of Rogers Pass, and offers 60 campsites so it is a good place to check out first.
2. Mount Sir Donald Campground
This is one for those looking for the true “camp in the woods” experience. With 15 spots, all without on-site water or fire pits, this campground will fill your seclusion desires. This campground is only open during July and August and it's a three minute drive to the park’s hiking centre.
If you're looking for some hiking ideas while visiting the park, check out our recommendations for The Best Hikes in Glacier National Park
Banff National Park
As one of the most well-known national parks in the country, this park has more than 2,400 sites located within 14 campgrounds, all of which offer a variety of services.
1. Lake Louise Campground
The majority of visitors who travel to Banff National Park typically check out Lake Louise, one of the most iconic lakes in the Canadian Rockies. So it is no wonder this campground makes our list - its location is ideal. This campground is just a stroll to the village and 4 km to the lake itself. It offers both tent and RV options, but it does require a reservation. Best to check online now!
2. Two Jack Main Campground
With so many options to choose from, this one makes our list because it is located close to Lake Minnewanka. It's also great for a more secluded and authentic experience in the Canadian Rockies. It’s minutes from Lake Minnewanka, and 15 minutes from the town of Banff itself. It’s a no service campground though, but RV sites are available, along with tent grounds.
Kootenay National Park
There are only a few camping options in the park, and a few require reservations while the others are on a first come, first served basis. Be sure to check online before you head out.
We love this one simply for its ease and accessibility. This campground overlooks the Village of Radium Hot Springs and offers beautiful views of the Columbia Valley. The wondrous Bugaboo mountain range can be seen in the distance here, marking this campground as a great settling point when exploring the area. The Purcell mountains are also seen from this point. Although not as secluded as the rest, this one is very close to amenities, as well as the famous natural hot springs.
A sub-alpine spruce forest surrounds this high-altitude campground, making it one of our favourites in this Kootenay National Park. Located on the west end (near Banff) of the parkway, this campground is a short drive from many of our favourite hikes, including Stanley Glacier and Floe Lake.
Get more info on Stanley Glacier and Floe Lake, as well as some others, by checking out our recommendations for The Best Hikes in Kootenay National Park
One of the most beautiful highways in Canada (if not the world!). Campgrounds are all first come first served along this road, so expect to arrive early in order to secure your spot.
1. Mosquito Creek Campground
The name itself sounds a little weird, but there's no need to worry. Those pesky little bugs are no worse than any other area of the park. Located just off the parkway, this campground boats amazing scenery with tons of hiking options nearby.
2. Waterfowl Lake Campground
Located 73 km from the town of Banff, this campground offers 116 sites in the forest, with trails leading up to Cirque and Chephren Lakes, making for some nice hikes right from your sleeping site. The sparkling Mistaya River enters Waterfowl Lake, a lovely sight from your campground.
For hiking ideas while heading up the Icefield Parkway, check out The Best Hikes Along the Icefields Parkway
Although there are PLENTY more options of camping in these national parks, we thought we would narrow down your options just a bit, to hopefully make your decision a tad easier.
Go explore and live an adventure!
Cheers, from the Glacier Crew.