Best Campgrounds in Banff National Park: 13 Stunning Locations

Whether you’re looking for a family RV camping experience or a solo backcountry camping getaway in Banff NP, our guide has you covered! Read on to find the perfect spot for you!

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Written by: | Reviewed by: Kieran James Cunningham
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Banff National Park, Canada’s oldest national park, is stunning – and massive. If you’ve seen a postcard of the azure, glacier waters of Moraine Lake or Lake Louise, then you know the allure of the Canadian Rockies. But to camp here? Now that’s the treat.

Formed in 1885, Banff National Park covers 6,641 square kilometers of sublime terrain. Windswept rock faces, turquoise-colored lakes, dense forests, and an abundance of wildlife – this place will make you feel so small, and yet so connected to the environment all at once.

Banff National Park is an outdoor-activity oasis. Be it hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, water rafting, canoeing, fishing, or paddleboarding (you get the point!), you’ll want to base yourself here for a while – and we’ve got the list for you!

Whether you’re into backcountry camping, car camping, or parking an RV at a river campground for the family, in our list you’ll find the place for the Banff camping experience you’ve always dreamed of.

Banff National Park
The scenery in Banff National Park is utterly breathtaking!

Camping In Banff National Park: What You Need To Know

Banff National Park is 1.5 hours from Calgary International Airport. With buses, shuttles, rideshares, and private tours departing daily, access is easy. Transportation within the park is also great, though we suggest booking buses ahead, especially in July and August. Up-to-date information is available on the app BanffNow.

A daily fee or annual National Park Pass is required to enter the park. To camp, you’ll also need a camping permit. For all long weekends from May to September, alcohol bans are in place for all Banff, Kootenay, and Yoho National Park campgrounds. 

Once you enter, the Icefields Parkway begins. For 140 miles, Highway 93 traces the Continental Divide from Lake Louise north to Jasper National Park, and what’s best is that our list of camping locations is dotted all along this stunning stretch of terrain! 

13 Best Campgrounds in Banff National Park

1. Lake Louise Campground

lake louise banff
You can’t camp closer to the glacial-blue waters of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake!
  • Type: RV & Tent
  • Electric: Yes
  • Nearest town: Lake Louise (1km)

Nestled in the middle of Banff National Park, right off the Icefields Parkway, Lake Louise Campground has fully-equipped campsites, hot showers, flush toilets, and access to incredible hiking trails. Looming mountains, dense forests, the Bow River, and fresh mountain air – this is one of our favorite campsites!

Sixty kilometers from downtown Banff, the Lake Louise Campgrounds are in fact split in two by the Bow River. The ‘hard-sided’ campground – aka Lake Louise Trailer campground – is suited for vehicles and RVs (15 meters max.). Each site is serviced with 15/30/45 amps. 

Across the Bow River, the ‘soft-sided’ campground – aka Lake Louise tent campground – is better suited for tent campers. These campsites are unserviced and are best for tent camping, tent trailers, or motorhomes (up to 7 meters) with soft sides. 

Camping in Banff National Park means you might encounter wildlife, but you needn’t worry since the whole campground is surrounded by an electric fence. However, being one of the busiest campgrounds in the area, we recommend reserving in advance. There are also fire and no-fire sites to choose from. 

2. Two Jack Lakeside Campground

twin jack lake banff
A synonym for Two Jack Lake? Paradise!
  • Type: Small RV & Tent
  • Electric: No
  • Nearest town: Banff (12km) 

Central to a camping experience in the Canadian Rockies is lounging by a glimmering, turquoise-colored lake, and Two Jack Lake offers you just that!

On the shores of Two Jack Lake, you have the opportunity to disconnect and unwind all day: you can swim (freezing!), fish for trout (obtain a license from National Parks Canada), canoe, kayak or paddleboard, or walk the Two Jack Lake Campground trail for stunning views of the surrounding mountains. 

Two Jack Lakeside Campground is minimalistic, rustic, and unserviced, but it features fire pits and wood, hot showers, a camp kitchen, and disability access. The nearest dump station is two minutes away at Two Jack Main Campground, opposite the Lake Minnewanka Loop Road.

This is one of the National Park’s most popular reservable campgrounds – sites are normally booked up for the following summer by the end of January, so get on it quick! 

There are 74 sites at Two Jack Lake. 22 are walk-in and the rest are reservable. Each tent site has a flat, elevated gravel platform to provide comfort and stability, so you’re guaranteed not to roll off your camping mat into Two Jack Lake!

This is a convenient spot to base yourself for an extended period in Banff National Park. Within a short drive, you have access to incredible hiking and mountain biking trails in the Lake Minnewanka area. There are amazing rock climbing routes, white water rafting… basically, if you like the outdoors, then get here asap!

3. Waterfowl Lakes Campground

waterfowl lakes banff
Outdoor theater, in the Canadian Rockies? Yes, please! 
  • Type: Small RV & Tent
  • Electric: No
  • Nearest town: Banff (12km) 

The Waterfowl Lakes Campground sits in an idyllic location near the Icefields Parkway on the Mistaya River between Upper and Lower Waterfowl Lakes. 

These two glacier-fed, turquoise lakes are surrounded by breathtaking, monumental peaks: White Pyramid Mountain, Bison Peak, Spreading Peak, Epaulette Mountain—the list and the sheer magnitude of the peaks goes on! Interestingly, the lakes get their color from the Glacial silt coming from Peyto Glacier, not too far away. 

Waterfowl Lakes is in one of the best locations in Banff National Park. It provides access to a variety of trails. From the southwest of the lakeside campground you’ll find the trailheads to Cirque and Chephren Lakes, both easy hikes. The latter provides incredible views of Howes Peak and Mount Chephren. 

Access to Bow Lake, Peyto Lake, downtown Banff, and the Saskatchewan River Crossing are close by. 

There are 110 campsites with the grounds split into three sections: RV, lower lake, and walk-in tent sites. There are fire pits, flush toilets, an amphitheater, food storage lockers, piped water stations, and sheltered cooking areas. 

4. Tunnel Mountain Campground

  • Type: RV & Tent 
  • Electric: Yes/No
  • Nearest town: Banff: (5km)

The Tunnel Mountain Campgrounds comprise of two ‘villages’. 

If you’re a tent camper, Tunnel Mountain Village Campground 1 is best. It is quieter, more traditional, and each site is tree-lined, offering more privacy. There are no electrics in this Tunnel Mountain Campground, but each loop has toilets, showers, and bear boxes. For a small fee, you can have unlimited firewood

Tunnel Mountain Village II has 160 sites and feels more like a parking lot, but it is perfect for those with larger units. Each site has electricity at 15/30/45 amps. The site has showers, flush toilets, sani-dump, and water.

The Tunnel Mountain Campgrounds provide exceptional views of the surrounding hills, so whichever you choose, you’ll definitely enjoy your stay.

5. Silverhorn Creek Campground

Saskatchewan River Crossing banff
It may feel like overflow camping, but these are some of the most accessible Banff camping views.
  • Type: RV 
  • Electric: No
  • Nearest town: Lake Louise (55km)

This is an RV-friendly campsite that might feel like an overflow camping spot due to how close you are to your neighbors, but don’t be fooled . . . the Silverhorn Creek Campground offers some of the best, most accessible views in Banff National Park.

There are 67 camping sites, most with a picnic table. There are dry toilets, a water pump, and garbage bins. Although this may feel more like overflow camping, you’ll also feel tiny compared to the mountains that loom above you!

Silverhorn Creek provides access to so many hiking trails and some of the best viewpoints in the Canadian Rockies. We highly recommend checking out Waterfowl Lakes, the Saskatchewan River Crossing (gas, restaurant, convenience store, cash withdrawal), Peyto Lake, and Bow Lake. 

6. Rampart Creek

weeping wall banff alberta
Where an ice climber can dream of world-class, frozen lines.
  • Type: RV & Tent
  • Electric: No
  • Nearest town: Lake Louise (94km)

Rampart Creek Campground is magical. Sitting on the north bank of the Saskatchewan River, the views into the valley or across the Icefields Parkway on the East Face of Mount Wilson are incredible. If you’re a winter climber, you’ll know of the Weeping Wall, Polar Circus, and Ice Nine Falls – and if you aren’t these are definitely worth checking out.

Rampart Creek Campground is well placed, nearly halfway between Jasper National Park and Lake Louise, and 40km away from the Columbia Icefields. Down the road is the popular Saskatchewan River Crossing, from where a hike to Glacier Lake offers a great excursion. 

With 51 sites (11 of them operating on a first-come basis), this is one of the Park’s reservable campgrounds and we highly recommend booking in advance for July and August. Amenities include garbage containers and recycling bins, potable water, a picnic shelter, and camp kitchens

7. Wapiti Campground

Athabasca River alberta
One for those who love local meandering on a bike.
  • Type: RV & Tent
  • Electric: Yes
  • Nearest town: Jasper (5.5km) 

Located on the Athabasca River in Jasper National Park, Wapiti Campground is one of the biggest campsites on our list and is bound to get busy during the summer months. Operating year-round, there are 362 sites during the summer and 93 winter camping spots. Compared to the rest of our campsites there is a higher level of privacy offered due to the many trees here that separate each site. 

This is the perfect base camp for all things Jasper, especially if you have a mountain bike. Easy trails meander around the site, along the river, and straight to town. 

Some of the local attractions include Pyramid Lake, Lake Edith, Lake Annette, Patricia Lake, Medicine Lake, Maligne Canyon, Mount Edith Cavell, Jasper Park Lodge, the Jasper Tramway up Whistlers Mountain, Miette Hot Springs… and on goes the list of stunning places to visit!

8. Wilcox Campground

mount andromeda canada
Many incredible hikes are close by including up Mount Andromeda.
  • Type: Small RV & Tent
  • Electric: No
  • Nearest town: Jasper (107km) 

This is the Canadian Rockies at their finest, almost smack in the middle of Banff National Park.

This area is worth exploring for a few days. The Parker Ridge hike, only 3km east, provides amazing views over the Saskatchewan Glacier. From here, you can also access the Wilcox Trailhead, where several hikes provide views of Mount Athabasca, Mount Andromeda, Athabasca Glacier, and Snow Dome. 

Aside from these glaciated peaks, you can also see the sweeping valleys of dense forests and, if you’re lucky, bighorn sheep and mountain goats.

Wilcox comprises four tight loops, so a trailer/RV no bigger than 9 meters is recommended. If you’re larger than this, fear not! The Icefields Center RV Campground is 1km away. 

Amenities include dry toilets, a camp kitchen, fire pits, picnic tables, and piped water. 

9. Columbia Icefields

columbia icefield jasper national park canada
The best views in Jasper National Park—period.
  • Type: Tent
  • Electric: No
  • Nearest town: Jasper (108km) 

The Columbia Icefields Campground is said to be the best tent-only campground in any of Canada’s national parks. Mount Athabasca and the glacier loom above. You can feel the presence of the surrounding mountains, too. 

Icefields operates on a first-come, first-served basis and you’ll share the area with many mountaineers, climbers, and hikers keen for an early start. 

Highlights include Boundary Peak, Mount Kitchener, and Parkers Ridge. Even closer, from a trail behind the campsite, you can go into Wilcox Pass to gain views of Mount Athabasca, Mount Andromeda, Athabasca Glacier, and Snow Dome.

Amenities include free firewood, cook shelters, tap water, flush toilets, and a water pump. 

10. Mosquito Creek Campground

caldron lake and mistaya mountain banff
Don’t worry – the mosquitoes aren’t worse here than in the rest of Banff National Park!
  • Type: Tent & Small RV
  • Electric: No
  • Nearest town: Lake Louise (24km)

Banff camping is all about experiencing the elements – big mountains, snow, waterfalls, and wildlife. If you’re looking for a more authentic tent camping experience in Banff National Park with a few comforts, then this is the place for you.

Mosquito Creek is well located within Banff National Park. It is a great basecamp to hike to Caldron Lake, Fish Lakes, and the Molar Pass, and popular for climbers looking to head up Hector Mountain and Glacier.

There are 32 sites, each equipped with fire pits and a picnic table. The site itself has dry toilets, a communal camp kitchen, and food storage lockers. Firewood is available if you purchase a fire permit. There are further picnic tables along Mosquito Creek, too.

This popular site operates on a first-come basis so make sure to get here in the morning! You can stay for a maximum of 14 days, and the site accommodates small RVs too.

11. Johnston Canyon Campground

johnston canyon banff
The advantage of staying here is experiencing the Johnston Canyon without the hoards.
  • Type: Tent & Small RV
  • Electric: No
  • Nearest town: Banff (25km)

Located along the Bow Valley Parkway, this is one of the busiest campsites in Banff National Park. However, you’re close to the Ink Pots and Johnston Canyon hike, which is one of our favorites. 

Your campsite gives you an advantage over the many other tourists not staying at Johnston Canyon Campground, since the best times to enjoy this hike are either at sunrise or sunset. With waterfalls, bubbling mineral springs, overhanging canyons, and towering limestone walls to see, you don’t want to skip out on this one!

The Johnston Canyon Campground has 132 sites, features running water, hot showers, sheltered cooking areas, flush toilets, an amphitheater, fire pits, and more!

12. Protection Mountain Campground

bow valley parkway banff
This is for the star-gazers, silhouette-seekers, and anyone who loves to dream in the Canadian Rockies. 
  • Type: Tent & Small RV
  • Electric: No
  • Nearest town: Lake Louise (15km)

Protection Mountain Campground offers some of the most spectacular views of Protection Mountain and Castle Mountain in Banff National Park. A camping trip is never complete without a little stargazing and by ranking 3-4 on the Bortle Scale, the potential for stargazing here is infinite. 

Located on the east side of the Bow Valley Parkway, this is a perfectly-located base to access many hiking trails. Some of the highlights nearby include Pilot Mountain, Stanley Peak, Mount Whymper, and Boom Lake. You are also right near the provincial border here and can see the mountains in British Columbia. 

There are 72 campsites situated in woodland here and are best suited for tents and small RVs. Like most other sites in Banff National Park, they operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Amenities include piped cold water, sheltered communal kitchens, wood-burning cook stoves, flush toilets, and fire pits. 

13. Castle Mountain Campground

castle mountain banff
Small, intimate, rustic. 
  • Type: Tent & Small RV
  • Electric: No
  • Nearest town: Lake Louise (28km)

Castle Mountain Campground is located right off the Bow Valley Parkway, 28km south of Lake Louise and 34km north of Banff. Nearby is also a small store, gas station, bar, and restaurant. 

Located in the center of Banff National Park, this is a great base to go explore some of the most beautiful sites near Lake Louise: Silverton Falls, Johnston Canyon, Mountain Castle, Helena Peak, Protection Mountain, Morant’s Curve, and the Ink Pots, which are pools of colorful minerals. 

Castle Mountain Campground has two toilets, hot and cold water (no showers), fire pits, a communal camp kitchen and shelter, a wood-burning stove to cook on, and picnic tables. This campsite operates on a first-come basis with self-register. 


Can You Hear the Rockies Calling? 

Whether you’re in a car or on foot, alone or with your family, in Banff National Park you’re bound to encounter beautiful mountain peaks, glistening lakes, and wildlife staring back at you. Camping here is a unique experience. There are few words to describe the feeling of waking up to such a serene landscape. Now it’s time to get up (over?) there and enjoy it! 

If you liked this post, feel free to share it with your friends or anyone looking for the best campgrounds in Banff National Park! Drop us a line in the box below if you have any questions or comments.

Last update on 2024-06-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Alexandre Marceau is a French-Canadian writer, editor and keen mountaineer based in Edinburgh, UK.

During his undergrad in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, at the confluence of the Saint-François and Massawippi Rivers, he discovered that literary timelines, much like veins, carry the timeless stories that shape the regional identities of place. As a result, in 2019, he co-founded yolk, a Canadian literary journal for which he serves as Fiction Editor.

Alexandre’s work has appeared in various journals, newspapers and websites in Canada and Scotland, and he is the Creatives Editor for the Scottish Mountaineering Press. His time is divided between climbing, trail-running, snowboarding and writing.

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