Camping in Western Canada

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camping fish lake

Camping, Fish Lake, near Nordegg
Photo Credit: Travel Alberta

In Canada the western provinces (Alberta, British Columbia (BC), Manitoba, Saskatchewan) and territories (NWT and Yukon have excellent opportunities for camping. There very good government and privately run campgrounds. The National Park campgrounds are also great.

There are also amazing opportunities for back country trekking and camping in the mountainous areas of Alberta, BC, NWT and Yukon. For trekkers that venture into these regions, they should be trained in maps and compass use and proper gear, clothing, food storage/disposal and bear avoidance skills are mandatory!

Back county travelers, in the National Parks require permits. To travel and camp in the back country, trekkers must also be appropriately equipped with rain proof clothing, lightweight packs, tents, sleeping bags and cooking supplies. Those things listed, above are available at our Ya’Gotta Adventure Travel Store.

When in the back country, in regards to bears and any of the wildlife, trekkers must be aware that they are the intruders and must have respect for all wildlife.

The three northern territories Yukon, Northwest Territories (NWT) and Nunavut also have amazing opportunities for camping and more so than the southern provinces potentially extreme isolation. This is particularly true for those wishing to travel the Dempster Highway (671 kilo/417 miles) that runs from near Dawson City, in the Yukon, across the Arctic Circle to Inuvik, NWT.

The summer camping season in the southern provinces runs from approximately the Victoria Day long weekend in late May, till the Labour Day weekend in early September. The season varies with it being shorter in the northern territories to longer on the the west coast, Vancouver Island and the southern parts of all four provinces.

Summer weather conditions can vary with daytime extremes reach +30 C and night (particularly in the mountains) it can going down to freezing levels. With climate change heavy rains can occur even in semi-arid areas of the prairies. Prepare for both extremes, although winter wear is not required, during the summer, clothing should be planned for layers and have outerwear that is waterproof.

During the peak season reservations are suggested. There are also specially designated sites for group excursions. For back country travel, in the National Parks, permits are required, dogs are not allowed, nor can you build fires. The following are links to sites about campgrounds in western Canadian provinces and territories:

National Park (Parks Canada) campgrounds and back country permits  can be booked online or by phone. Travelers also require access fees to the parks. For more information about fees in the parks click here.

Want to learn how to camp? Checkout Parks Canada’s Learn to Camp page, with instructions tips ad downloadable apps, for mobile devices.

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