Banff Camping – All You Need to Know | National Park

Lake view of banff national park with a pink haze

Camping in the oldest park in Canada, Banff National Park, certainly has its charm. With its wonderful wildlife and fascinating fauna, one is really able to reconnect with nature and oneself.

It’s a great option if you’re looking to distance yourself from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Allowing you to get back to basics and enjoy the simpler things in life.

Are you more interested in getting your adrenaline flowing? If so, Banff should be your next destination. It is an adventure lover’s paradise, offering endless hiking and biking trails, as well as kayaking and fishing galore. Banff will definitely get your heart pumping faster.

blue lake moraine in banff

What better way is there to experience nature than by getting up close and personal with it. Find out here all you need to know about camping in the great Banff National Park.

Tip: Don’t have a tent for your camping adventure in Banff? Don’t worry, we have you covered. Here’s a list of the best inflatable tents, so you can decide which fits your requirements best.

Banff National Park – Background Information

The park is over 2,500 square miles in size, located in the midst of the mountains. And it attracts large numbers of visitors each year – excited to experience the glory and beauty of the park.

Banff National Park has it all. Enjoy the stunning Lake Louise, the spectacular peaks of the Canadian Rockies and the Icefields Parkway. Are if you’re more of an adventure seeker – no problem! There are several activities for you. Go river-rafting, fishing, mountain biking or hiking.

buck eating grass

Animal lover? Banff has you covered. Spot wolves and grizzly bears. Or enjoy some bird-watching. No matter what your interests are Banff has a bit of everything to satisfy your needs.

Camping in Banff

There are several accommodation options available to those visiting the national park. Comfort-loving travelers can stay in a lodge or hotel located in one of its rustic villages.

For the nature-lovers and thrill-seekers, how amazing would it be to venture out into the wild and camp under the glistening stars?

There are 2462 campsites in 14 campgrounds located throughout the national park. Feeling overwhelmed by the numbers? Don’t know where to start your research? Don’t worry – below we share the basics about camping in Banff.

Banff Campsites

Peak season for camping is June, July, and August. During these months, campsites fill up quickly, so most of the campsites require advanced reservations during the busier times.

There are also some first-come, first-serves campsites. The trick to getting a spot here? Arrive as early as possible. Some people even camp out the evening before just so they can secure a spot at the campsite the next day.

legs of person in a hammock with mountain view

Banff Camping Reservations

Reservations for a campsite in Banff National Park can be made through the online portal of Parks Canada. We strongly recommend that as soon as you know your dates and where you want to go – book your spot.

Campgrounds in Banff

If you are interested in camping near Banff and its town center, the closest campgrounds are the Tunnel Mountain Campgrounds and the Two Jacks Campgrounds. Johnston Canyon is also close by. All these campgrounds can be reserved in advance through the Parks Canada reservation system.

Here’s a breakdown of each one, so you can decide which fits you best.

Tunnel Mountain Campgrounds

This campsite is ideally located near public transport. If you are looking to head into town, it’s just a quick bus ride away. The campground also offers amenities such as showers and electricity.

There are over 700 sites available. Due to its massive size, it can feel less intimate than some smaller grounds. But Tunnel Mountain doesn’t disappoint with its magnificent views of the mountains.

overhead view of tunnel mountain area in banff

Two Jacks Main and Lakeside Campgrounds

These campgrounds feel more wild and rustic. The town center is no longer a quick public bus ride away. But you are right next to the Two Jack Lake, which makes up for the more isolated location. The lake offers wonderful views for a stunning sunset.

The campsites are spread out through the trees and give you a sense of privacy. If you are lucky, you can reserve a spot right next to the lake for an unforgettable experience.

Lake Minnewanka is located around the corner and offers a lot of amazing hiking trails to be explored. Be sure to add these campsites to your list of options for your trip to the Banff National Park.

Johnston Canyon

Johnston Canyon Campground is located roughly 30 minutes outside the town of Banff. It is most known for the spectacular Johnston Canyon hike. This is a popular attraction among visitors – making it a busy campground.

If you are lucky enough to secure a spot at the campsite, seize the unique opportunity to get up early and hit the trail before it gets too crowded. Always make sure you have planned your hike ahead of time, for your own safety. Read our guide to planning your next hiking trip.

birds eye view of johnston canyon in banff

Lake Louise Campgrounds

This large campsite is divided into two areas. One for hard-sided campers and another for people with their tents.

The campsite itself is not incredibly scenic but its location is convenient. You are close to Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, and the surrounding trails. Some of the best hikes in the Rocky Mountains can be found in this area.

Though not one of the most picturesque campsites, one should still add Lake Louise camping to their list.

RV Campsite

This area contains 189 spots and are mainly pull-through style – meaning you share the parking spot with your neighbor. The campsite offers electricity, fire pits and picnic tables. Additional amenities include hot showers, flush toilets, sani dumps and disability access.

Tents Only Campsite

The Lake Louise tents only campground offers 206 campsites surrounded by electrical fencing to protect visitors from wandering bears. The tents only area offers the same amenities as the RV campsite.

Campgrounds on the Icefields Parkway

Located north of Lake Louise are the Mosquito Creek, Waterfowl Lakes, and Rampart Creek Campgrounds. These campsites are all first-come, first served. It is strongly recommended to arrive early in the morning as this will increase your chance of securing a spot.

lake and mountain view of icefields parkway in banff

As the campgrounds are popular, you aren’t afforded the luxury of being picky with your campsite. As soon as one becomes free, take it. After this grueling experience of finding a spot, you’ll want to relax and make the most of your time. Thankfully, the area has lots to offer and you can be out exploring all day.

Mosquito Creek Campground

This campsite is one of the park’s most primitive and secluded camp spots. It is open for both tents and RV’s and offers its guest’s pit toilets. If you struggle to part ways with the technological world when camping, remember to pack yourself a portable solar charger. It will be a life-saver during your trip.

The campground has 32 sites and is located right off the renowned Icefields Parkway. The perfect location to explore the northern areas of the national park.

milkyway stars

Waterfowl Lakes Campground

With a capacity of 116 sites, Waterfowl Lakes is one of the larger camp areas along the Icefield Parkway. Tents and RVs are welcome and are spread throughout the pine tree forest. Flush toilets are available. The campground is ideally located, as it is within walking distance of the Waterfowl Lakes.

Rampart Creek Campground

This campsite, like Mosquito Creek, is one of the last campgrounds in Banff to close for the year. Its amenities include pit toilets and the camp spot is open for both people with tents and RV’s.

This campsite is ideal for those looking for a quieter, well-maintained spot to unwind in the beautiful pine forest. As its name suggests, it is right next to Rampart Creek and is surrounded by some beautiful, accessible peaks – waiting to be explored.

Concluding Thoughts on Banff Campgrounds

man over looking lake in banff national park

Without a doubt, there is something magical about camping in Banff National Park. That feeling you get when waking up to the sweet sounds of nature is one you cannot get in the city.

Here in Banff, you are finally able to relax and feel the fresh, crisp air in your lungs. And listen to the breeze rustling through the trees.

With camping sites in some of the most spectacular spots in the park, the campsites in Banff are the perfect place to pitch your tent after a day exploring the surroundings. If you haven’t yet – start planning your trip now as camping in Banff National Park is a must-do.