Everything you need to know about Canmore camping

Camping is a rite of passage for any Canadian or visitor to Canada. Obvs, I’m into both glamping and lazy camping at Banff’s equipped campsites, but camping, true camping, with a tent or trailer is an experience everyone should have. Here’s all you need to know about the best spots for Canmore camping outside of Banff National Park.

Canmore camping: 8 Fantastic sites for your tent or RV
Besides trappers tents and tipis, there’s options for RVs and tenters around Canmore. (Credit: Sundance Lodges)
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Canmore Camping

Here’s something you may not know about me: I love waking up with the smell of woodsmoke in my hair. It reminds me of my youth and camping (and if I’m being honest, high school bush parties at Beaverland – don’t ask). Canmore is a choice spot for camping as it delivers all the epic views of Banff National Park, but with less bus tourists. 

There’s approximately 8 campgrounds near the town that are worth pitching your tent at. Below I dive into the amenities at each one, so you can choose the best campsite for your troops.

Everything you need to know about Canmore camping
Canmore and the Kananaskis region are only an hour from Calgary, which makes camping less arduous.

Bow River Campground

Located along the north side of the TransCanada Highway, just off the Three Sister’s overpass, this is the campground I like to bike around when it’s closed. Shhhh… don’t tell anyone. I’m only a rule breaker because Bow River Campground is close to my favourite biking trails in Canmore. 

This Canmore campground is anchored along the shores of the Bow River, hence the name. As one would expect, it’s a choice spot for fishermen with loads of rainbow trout, brown trout and whitefish if you’re skilled enough to snag them.

Heads up: This camping area is also an exit point for those who’ve  rafted down from Banff, but that won’t matter to campers, as it’s mostly my neighbours Jim and Carolyn who do this.

Back to the campground… there are over 60 RV accessible campsites and most are serviced with power and water. They’ve also got a few walk-in tenting sites.

Firewood is available to purchase, and there is a hand pump for water for those few sites without. Sadly, toilets are outhouse style and there are no showers. But, hey! There is a little playground to kick your kids off to.

You have to make a reservation though, so do that here.

Three Sisters Campground

This one always confuses me, as it’s located at Dead Man’s Flats, not at the Three Sisters Overpass. (The campground just off the Three Sister’s overpass is Bow River Campground.) Anyway, you can’t miss Dead Man’s Flats where Three Sisters Campground is located.

Its marker is this massive Canadian flag flying at the service centre with two gas stations and a remarkably good Indian restaurant bizarrely called the Mad Dog Cafe.

Three Sisters Camping Canmore
Sites are large with lots of trees at Three Sisters Campground.

The campground itself has 36 unserviced campsites with wood framed gravel tent pads (though RV and campers are welcome). Each site sports its own fire pit and picnic table. With loads of mature trees riddling this Canmore campground, sites are well shaded.

There’s plenty of wood available, non-flush toilets, a playground and a picnic shelter. Because this campground is right beside the Bow River, you’ll want to take advantage of the fishing opportunities and there’s also a hand launch for small non-motorized boats.

Call 403-673-2163 for more information.

Three sisters campground canmore alberta
Book into Three Sisters early and you could get a campsite on the Bow River.

Spring Creek Campground

All the benefits of town camping combined with luscious mountain views are yours at Spring Creek Campground. Situated smack dab in the middle of Canmore, it’s only a few minutes walk to downtown with all its cafes, shops and services.

Camping spring creek cnamore
It’s a bit cheek to jowl at Spring Creek, but look at those views!

No tents are allowed at this RV campground, but if you’ve got an RV, you’ll love all the amenities. There are 100 RV sites, some with 15, 30 and 50 amp water and sewer services.

Coin laundry and RV supplies are available for purchase. Washrooms and showers are wheelchair accessible.

Contact Spring Creek at 403-678-5111 or [email protected]

Lac Des Acres Campground

About a 10-minute drive from the town of Canmore, Lac Des Acres Campground is located in picturesque Bow Valley Provincial Park. This close to Canmore campground has approximately 30 campsites, each with its own fire pit.

The site is pretty, which makes up for the pit toilets and lack of hook ups. There is play equipment, and a hand pump delivers water.

lac des acres campground canmore albera
On the right, you can just spot the playground equipment at Lac Des Acres Campground.

The actual lake catches quite a bit of wind, which makes it a choice spot for windsurfers. Note: Plenty of traffic accidents happen around this stretch of the TransCanada Highway.

Believe the road signs when you’re instructed to reduce your speed to 95 km/hr.

lac des acres camping canmore
Tents and RVs co-exist at Lac Des Acres Campground.

Camping is by reservation only and you can do that on this section of the Alberta Parks site.

Wapiti Campground

First up: Do not confuse this with the Wapiti Campground in Jasper National Park. This campsite is situated in the northwest section of Canmore, Alberta.

Camping here means you’re in close proximity to all the town’s amenities, the Legacy Trail (an awesome 22 km paved pathway between Canmore and Banff), plus the Travel Alberta Information Centre.

Camping at Wapiti canmore
From Wapiti, you can walk into Canmore, but unfortunately it’s wedged between the TransCanada Highway.

Here, there are 88 sites that range from serviced to unserviced (AKA tents). There’s a shower facility that will set you back $3 per wash, and firewood is $10/bundle.

Insider tip: Score a slightly better price on firewood at Save on Foods or Canadian Tire in the town of Canmore.

wapiti campsite canmore alberta
The tent sites at Wapiti Campground are all in the trees, which acts as a buffer from the highway

For more info call: 1-866-366-2267. Reservations are now closed (as of the May long weekend), but there are some first come first served sites available. 

Alpine Club of Canada

The HI Canmore Clubhouse is part of the Alpine Club of Canada, and is less than a five-minute drive from the town of Canmore. If you’re really not into camping, this mountain hideaway is the next best thing.

It’s right in the middle of the woods and feels like a hotel without the sticker shock. You can rent out a single bunk or a cabin that accommodates up to 15 people.

Don’t worry about packing your own towel, sheets, blankets or pillows, they’re all provided. Plus, there’s a fully equipped kitchen, large deck with BBQ and coin laundry.

Be sure to walk around the property to find its authentic tipi. Pack your hiking boots and bikes, as there are several trails directly from the Clubhouse. 

canmore hostel
There’s a massive deck at the Canmore Clubhouse (Credit: Alpine Club of Canada)

Reservations are essential, so call 403-678-3200.

Camping in the Kananaskis

There are few choice spots for camping in the Kananaskis. Kananaskis Country (or K-Country as locals refer to it), offers all the epic mountain adventures and vistas as Banff National Park, but isn’t on the international radar (yet).

It’s mostly Albertans who head here for camping and hiking. Relatively speaking, there’s less crowds here than in Banff, but you’ll still want to make reservations if you plan on camping in the Kananaskis. Below are a few of my favourite spots.

It doesn’t matter if you sleep in a tent or trailer, but you really must roast marshmallows over a fire.

Mount Kidd RV Park

Situated in Kananaskis Provincial Park, Mount Kidd RV Park is one of the most desirable camping spots in the Alberta Rockies. This is a private campground and you’ll want to reserve your spot ASAP,  especially if you plan on camping on a summer weekend.

Luckily, this campground is open year-round, and in the winter months, there’s often a crackling fire in the Campers Centre. Once the snow clears, you can take advantage of their bicycle paths and tennis courts.

There are over 200 sites that cater to all manner of trailers, motor homes and tents. There are fully serviced, semi-serviced and no hook-up sites. Some even have cable TV hook ups! Each site comes with its own picnic table and fire pit.

Reservation info here.


Sundance By Basecamp

You’ll feel like you’re staying in the backcountry at this hidden gem. Situated just off Highway 40, it’s a straightforward drive to Sundance By Basecamp (formerly Sundance Lodges) from Calgary after you peel off the TransCanada Highway.

If you’re into glamping, this is the spot for you. Bed down in one of six Sioux (First Nations) canvas tipis or cozy up inside a Trapper’s Tent – similar in it’s coverage, but different in design.

BYOB (bring your own bedding) or rent from them to enjoy maximum glamping in Alberta.

where to go tipi camping canada
If you don’t have a trailer, rent a tipi for the night at Sundance Lodges

Got your own mobile bedstead? Book into the unserviced RV and tent campsites. If you’re travelling with a large posse, group areas accommodate 3 to 6 campers in a large, majorly scenic setting.

For your convenience there’s an onsite shop with basic groceries, ice, firewood, propane, coffee and ice cream.

Reservation information here.

Hotels near Canmore

Should you need to throw in the towel, there are two hotels along Highway 40 (that’s in the Kananaskis) to rest your head at. Stoney Nakoda Resort is right at the intersection of the TransCanada and Highway 40.

It’s got a massive parking lot and doesn’t charge for truck or RV parking. If you stay over, breakfast is included, as is WiFi. This pet-friendly, Kananaskis hotel also sports an indoor pool and waterslide.

As a bonus, there are laundry facilities, an on-site casino and good nightly dinner specials.

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kananaskis hotel
All the benefits of getting back to nature without having to rough it are yours at Pomeroy Kananaskis Lodge.

Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge is a 20-minute drive along Highway 40 once you turn off the TransCanada. This lovely lodge has recently undergone a major overhaul and is now home to Kananaskis Nordic Spa.

With a daily kid’s club and ample outdoor adventures for the tots, it’s pure heaven for families. For larger groups, get one of the new loft rooms that sleep six, have two full bathrooms and a wood burning fireplace.

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Where to camp in canmore

Have you ever been camping near Canmore? Where are your favourite spots?

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12 thoughts on “Everything you need to know about Canmore camping”

  1. So many awesome campsites! My brother lives in Canmore so we get out there quite a bit. Love Boulton Creek…it is the only place I have ever seen a moose! Just wish I lived out there!

  2. I have been craving some big mountains, and this looks like just the spot to find them!

  3. Haven’t been camping in Canmore yet. But man, those views are amazing! What a great list of campgrounds to choose from too. Now to decide between tent camping or RVing.

  4. steph and zach dorworth

    We are more of Glampers haha but this place looks enticing. It seems like there’s so many options for campgrounds around there. You did a great job researching them all! The Canmore Clubhouse would be the place for us haha. Sounds and looks like a gorgeous place to visit!

  5. Fiona Maclean

    Camping is my nemesis…even the idea of glamping gives me goosebumps. But Canmore does look very well set up. Maybe I’d be ok in an RV or caravan, I’ve only ever camped under canvas and I have to confess I just can’t get into it!

  6. Tracie Howe

    Canmore is beautiful! I will have to consider camping when I get up to that area. It sounds like there are countless great campgrounds to choose from, and many with some amazing campsites!

  7. Not much into camping, glamping is more my style. I love the beautiful mountain scenes on your shots. I’m very curious about the tipi, what does it look like on the inside? Thanks for sharing this great list for campgrounds just outside of the Banff National Park.

  8. Such a great list of campsites The scenic beauty around is mind blowing.
    Marshmallows roasted on fire make the camping experience complete 🙂

  9. Like you, I also remember camping from my child hood. Never ever got the hang of it. It does look nice on your pictures – the majestic mountains behind the cozy colorful tents, the marshmallows in the camp fire….lovely. But I don’t want ants in my stuff and I want a shower at the end of the day. So stay there, I come to visit for the day and at night I go back home – deal?!

  10. Camping always seems like a wonderful and fun idea, and these campsites look really awesome! The views are really beautiful too!

  11. These settings are all so incredible for camping! It seems like some are quite crowded, though — 80+ sites, including RV sites? I usually go for the smaller campgrounds that can only accommodate tent campers, but I might sacrifice the seclusion for those mountain views.

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