Out of all the possible destinations to camp in Canada, camping in Alberta is tops. Here, there’s a good mix of front country sites for tents and RVs, backcountry options, plus several spots for glamping. For your convenience we’ve rounded up the very best front country camping options for you.

alberta geo domes

You don’t have to have a tent or RV in order to enjoy camping in Alberta

Camping in Alberta

When looking for a prime spot for camping in Alberta, many people focus on the Rockies. There’s nothing wrong with that – except when you can’t find a site on your preferred dates. It used to be that you could roll up to Banff or Jasper National Park on any given summer weekend and nab a spot without a reservation. Truth!

Since that’s no longer the case, we’ve all had to cast a wider net. To help you in your search for the perfect campground, here’s a look at some of the best campgrounds across the province.

Canadian rockies highway

When camping in Alberta, the journey is part of the destination. (Credit Chris Amat)

Glamping

For those who wish to camp in comfort, there’s several glamping options to be aware of.  We have a comprehensive post on the top glamping spots in Alberta that delves into the options (yurt, glam tent, geo domes, etc…) in detail.

Elk island glamping

Glamping typically means you’ll have a roof over your head and a bed to sleep in. (Credit: Elk Island Retreat)

Private Campsites

There’s a host of private campsites dotted throughout Alberta. Check out this post, which reviews 14 private sites within the province.

Close to Calgary

Sundre is one of those under the radar destinations within easy striking distance of Calgary, and boasts a rad private campsite – Tall Timber Leisure Park. Sundre is quite pretty and pretty quiet. Head here for crowd-free hiking, biking and fishing opportunities along the Red Deer River.

Tall Timber Leisure Park offers:

  • Pool and hot tub
  • 2 Playgrounds
  • Laundromat
  • Snack bar
  • Baseball diamond
  • 36 Fully serviced sites
  • 22 Power and water sites
  • Picnic table and fire pit at each site
  • No tents
  • Open May 1 to October 15
  • Non-potable water

For more camping options in Sundre, check out this post.

Tall Timber RV

Some RV owners leave their rig for weeks at Tall Timber.

Canmore Campgrounds

You’ll find less out of province tourists camping in this region and more Albertans taking advantage of this pristine spot just outside the Park gates to Banff National Park.

The only campground right in Canmore townsite is Spring Creek RV. A stay here includes:

  • Wheelchair accessible showers (coin) and washrooms
  • Potable water and dump station
  • 15 and 30 amp sites with water and sewer
  • Some pull through sites
  • Picnic table and fire pit at each site
  • Playground
  • Walking distance from downtown Canmore and the trails along Spring Creek
  • No tenting allowed

Minutes from the town of Canmore are several other campsites. This post lays them all out for you.

camping in alberta

Spring Creek doesn’t offer a lot of privacy, but you’ve got the views!

Kananaskis Campgrounds

Likely the most popular Kananaskis campground is Mt Kidd RV Park. It sports 229 sites that range from fully serviced, semi-serviced and no hook-up sites. Some sites even have TV hook-ups! Each sites has:

  • Picnic table and fire pit
  • Access to washrooms, but showers may be closed depending on COVID restrictions.
  • Tents are welcome

Check out this post that delves into the many other Kananaskis campgrounds.

road trip Kananaskis Country

Kananaskis Country is just as pretty as Banff National Park. (Credit: Travel Alberta)

Banff National Park Camping 

The only campsites you’re going to find in Banff National Park are those run by Parks Canada. Some of the most popular front country sites close to the town of Banff are:

Tunnel Mountain

There’s several campsites at Tunnel Mountain. Choose between Village I or II, an oTENTik or the trailer section. (An oTENTik is part tent, part A-frame cabin, kitted out with beds, furniture and lighting.)

Tunnel Mountain is ideal for those who aren’t quite sure how isolated they want to be. From Tunnel Mountain, it’s totally possible to walk into Banff townsite, but there’s also a public bus you can hop on.

Good to Know

  • Village 1 is the largest in Banff with over 600 spots
  • Tunnel Mt Village II is smaller than Village I, but II is closer to town. Not all sites have a fire pit.
  • Both villages offer: flush toilets, showers and sanitation dumps
  • Camping runs mid-May 14 until early October
camping Tunnel mountain village

Tunnel Mountain Village I. (Photo credit: Travel Alberta)

Two Jack Lake

Another campground split into two sites, Two Jack Lake is slightly further from town – about a 10-15 minute drive away from Banff, so you can still get the best of both worlds. On rainy days, being able to swoop into the townsite is a bonus for young families

Two Jack Lakeside campground is right on the shores of Two Jack Lake. Two Jack Main is situated along Lake Minewanka. Both sites are pretty rustic with no services. The Main campground has more spots, but it opens a few weeks later.

No gear? At Two Jack you can book into one of their equipped campsites or an oTENTik.

camping Two_Jack_Lakeside

Dining alfresco at Two Jack Lakeside. (Credit: Paul Zizka)

Lake Louise Campground

Lake Louise is one of the premier spots to visit in Banff National Park. Lake Louise Campground is the closest camping option to the town of Lake Louise. The campsite is about 1 km away and it’s 4 km from the lake itself.

Good to Know

  • 189 Hard-sided, shared double sites for camping units only (no tents, pop-outs or soft sided campers)
  • 15-30-50 Amp power
  • Sani-dump station
  • Not all sites have a fire pit
  • 206 Soft-sided sites
  • Sites are enclosed by an electric fence to prevent wildlife visits

For more info on camping in Banff, refer to this comprehensive Banff camping post.

Jasper National Park 

Some people think Jasper National Park is prettier than Banff. It’s hard to say, but Jasper certainly has lots of lovely, swimmable lakes that are an incredible shade of blue. This National Park is also flush with camping options. Firewood and fire permits are included in your reservation fee for any sites within this Park.

Whistlers Campground

Whistler’s had a major, multi-year overhaul and is set to reopen this summer. When it does, it’ll have upgraded shower and restroom facilities and a paved two way, pothole-free road.

Good to Know

  • 781 sites + oTENTiks
  • Washrooms and hot shower facilities
  • Interpretive programming
jasper camping

As your way into camping by staying in an oTENTIK at Whistlers campground. (Credit: Parks Canada/Ryan Bray)

Wapiti

This pretty campground is nestled near the Athabasca River. It offers tenting and electrical hook-up spots for RVs. Wapiti sports 362 sites with amenities like hot showers, electricity and fire pits.

Wabasso

A good option for small RVs (under 35 ft) and tents, Wabasso has 231 sites. There’s no showers here, but there are toilets and electrical sites. Best is you’ll be next to the Athabasca River and have easy access to hiking and biking trails.

Honeymoon Lake Campground

Situated on the Icefields Parkway (one of the world’s greatest road trips) between Lake Louise and Jasper, Honeymoon Lake Campground is about a 40-minute drive south of Jasper Townsite. They don’t take reservations here, so take your chances to snag one of the 25 sites – best suited for tents or smaller RVs (under 27 ft).

Not to miss in Jasper

  • Visit Spirit Island via the Maligne Lake Boat Cruise. In a few years the pine beetle will have destroyed the trees on the island. Go now!
  • Take the SkyTram up to the top of Whistlers Mountain
  • Go whitewater rafting
  • Bike the Athabasca River trails

Want to throw in the towel and book a hotel? Jasper has a super high percentage of cabins and lodges with their own exterior entrances. Check out these awesome accommodation options.

Jasper_accommodations

Summer seems to last forever in Jasper. (Credit: Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge)

Writing on Stone Camping

An often overlooked gem, Writing on Stone Provincial Park is a must visit for anyone looking to stay in an otherworldly landscape. Writing on Stone camping is run through Alberta Parks and is offered year round.

Good to Know

  • 47 Power sites are available year round
  • Sites are well shaded in the Milk River Valley
  • The Milk River is quite warm and shallow near the campground, so bring your bathing suit (and a lot of towels)
  • Visitor Center and supply store on site
  • Playground and plenty of hiking trails through the hoodoos
  • Flush toilets, showers
  • Water and sewage disposal
  • Each site has its own fire pit and picnic table
  • Reservation camping runs from the May long weekend until September long weekend
Writing on Stone camping

The campground is to the left- in all those trees. In the foreground are all the hoodoo trails for you to explore.

Elk Island Camping

Just outside of Edmonton lies this gem of a national park. Camping is run through Parks Canada. They have a wide variety of options, such as:

  • oTENTiks at Astotin Lake Campground
  • Winter camping (unserviced, but access to kitchen shelter and outhouses)
  • Group camping sites for up to 60 people (may be suspended during COVID)
  • Equipped campsites that come with a tent, sleeping pad, stove, laster (you bring the bedding)

The most popular camping option at Elk Island is at Astotin Lake Campground. Amenities include:

  • 75 Non serviced sites (includes 15 for walk-in tenting)
  • Each site has a picnic table and fire pit
  • Near flush toilets and showers
  • Potable water
  • RV dump/fill station
  • Camping runs mid-May to Thanksgiving

Elk Island Retreat

Just outside the National Park lies this private enterprise, complete with yurts, tipis, cabins and geo-domes. Glamping here is swish! You can even add wine and a charcuterie board to your camping reservation!

Why visit:

  • Elk Island National Park is home to 700 bison roaming freely throughout the park. Take a Behind the Senses tour with Parks Canada to learn more.
  • Astotin Lake is tops for SUP, canoeing and kayaking
  • There’s plenty of hiking and biking trails, mind the bison, though!
  • The Park is part of the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve, making it a prime spot to view the Northern Lights
Elk Island geo dome

At Elk Island Retreat, glampers have their own deck and BBQ (Credit: Elk Island Retreat)

Peter Lougheed Provincial Park

There are a dozen campgrounds in Peter Laughed Provincial Park. What’s particularly rad about camping here is that you get a very similar experience to Banff National Park with epic mountain views and wildlife viewing opportunities. Pack your clubs if you’re a golfer. Kananaskis Country Golf Course is nearby.

Only 3 of Peter Lougheed’s front country campsites can be reserved in advance. They are:

Elkwood

  • 61 Unserviced sites
  • 69 Sites with power and water (30 amp)
  • Tap water
  • Playground, fire pits, paved biking paths
  • Close access to hiking trails and Kananaskis Lakes
  • Showers ($2 token) and flush toilets (may be closed due to COVID)
  • Interpretive programs

Boulton Creek

  • 86 Unserviced sites
  • 37 Power and water sites
  • 32 Power, water and sewer sites
  • Well treed sites with fire pits
  • Quick access to hiking trails, paved bike paths and the Kananaskis Lakes
  • Equipment rental and supply store on site
  • Camping runs mid May – mid October

Lower Lake Campground

  • 95 Sites – 83 of which are reservable, but unserviced
  • Easy access to Kananaskis Lakes, hiking trails and bike paths
  • Pit toilets
  • Playground, fire pits
  • Tap water and pump

Mounta Sarrail doesn’t take reservations and is set up for walking-in tenting only. It sports:

  • 44 Well treed sites
  • Pit toilets
  • Water
  • Fire pits
  • Food storage
  • Lake access, trails for hiking and biking (some paved)
Kananaskis camping

Fish, canoe, kayak or swim in the Kananaskis Lakes. (Credit: Andy Best)

Rocky Mountain House Camping 

An often overlooked destination, this National Historic Site has plenty of cultural and outdoorsy activities to amuse the troops. Those wanting to stay overnight can bed down in a front country campsite, a fully equipped campsites (Parks Canada provides the main gear – tent, stove, etc…), and there’s even glamping options.

Front country camping

  • 10 Sites for walk-in tenting
  • 24 Unserviced trailer sites
  • Kitchen shelter
  • Picnic area and fire pits
  • Flush toilets
  • Showers (may be unavailable during COVID restrictions)

Heritage Camping

This is what really sets Rocky Mountain House apart. Choose between camping in a tipi, Métis Trapper Tent or a rustic cabin. More info:

  • Trapper Tents sleep up to 5 on twin or double beds
  • Tipis sleep up to 8
  • Cabins sleep 6 people  – 2 on a bed and 4 sleeping mats
  • Bring your own sleeping bags/linens
  • Community fire pits and picnic tables
  • Washroom facilities

Each Heritage Camping fee includes a fur trade camping kit with a bison hide, period cooking kit (utensils, bannock mix, tea) and a fire-starting kit, so you can make like you’re a fur trader from back in the day.

Rocky Mountain House camping

Step back in time at Rocky Mountain House. (Credit: Travel Alberta/AV Wakefield)

Crescent Falls Campground

This privately run site is a half hour drive from Nordegg and 2 hours from Lake Louise. Amenities include:

  • 31 Non-serviced, well treed sites
  • Equestrian sites available
  • Outhouses and water
  • Firewood available for purchase
  • A 2.5 km trail leads you from the campground to a Crescent Falls lookout. It’s impressive!
Alberta waterfalls

Crescent Falls and the beautiful Bighorn River. (Credit Travel Alberta)

Fish Lake Campground

In the same Nordegg/Rocky Mountain House neck of the woods you’ll find Fish Lake, which is sometimes referred to as Shundra Lake. This campground is operated by Westward Bound Campgrounds and offers:

  • 100 Sites – some unserviced, some with power, some waterfront and some pull-through
  • Sites are spacious and most are surrounded by trees
  • On the lake (flush with rainbow trout) you can use electric motor boats
  • Access to OHV trails in the area, plus swimming, biking and hiking
  • Pit toilets

Alberta Camping Reservations 

To reserve any National Park campsite (Banff, Jasper, Elk Island), your best bet is with the online registration system which typically accepts summer reservations in January, but during COVID it was pushed back to April.

Alternatively, you can call: 1-877-RESERVE (737-3783). If you’re outside North America, call: 519-826-5391.

For provincial campsites, visit the Alberta Parks online reservation system.

MORE CAMPING AND OUTDOOR IDEAS:

Private campsites on Vancouver Island

Best hot springs in Alberta

Alberta’s best beaches

Where to kayak in and around Banff

Itinerary for a perfect weekend in Banff

Fun Jasper summer activities

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Where to camp in Alberta

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