Imagine waking up to singing birds, fresh mountain air mixed with the smell of the pine trees and sun rays shining through the trees. That’s what camping in Jasper National Park is all about. We’ve camped in most of Jasper’s campgrounds and this is our guide to help you plan your trip (including secret local tips).

This guide covers:

  • basic rules and safety tips for camping in the Rockies
  • tips for reservations
  • a detailed breakdown of each reservable & first come first serve campsite in Jasper National Park, including photos
  • other camping options when campgrounds in Jasper are full
  • plenty of reasons why we think camping in Jasper is the best option when visiting

 

Camping in Jasper National Park - Icefield Centre

This can be your view!

Jasper National Park has 11 official campgrounds with over 1,800 sites.

Most campgrounds are seasonal and open from mid-May to mid-October. July and August are the busiest months and for the most enjoyable trip, I recommend booking your campgrounds in advance (reservations open in January). Campgrounds close to the town of Jasper are usually fully booked months in advance for the summer season.

While you have the option of camping all year round, I would not recommend it unless you have a heater in your campervan. Let’s face it, you’re in Canada, and it can get -25C at night very often.

Camping in Jasper National Park is, in our humble opinion, the best way to enjoy the outdoors and embrace the sounds and smells of nature.

If you like adventurous trips, book a Smile Campervan from us. It’s a budget-friendly option to see the Canadian Rockies.

Camping in Jasper National Park - Wabasso Campground

Camping with Smile Campervan

Camping tips & rules for Jasper

Camping in the Rockies is very different from what you might have experienced before. There are lots of bears and other wildlife. I’m sure you will see some on your trip but with wildlife come rules to keep them and you safe.

You will find below some basic rules for camping in Jasper National Park.

Wildlife

Wild animals are everywhere. When you are visiting the Rockies, you’re in a bear country. There’s no fence around campgrounds and wildlife likes to wander around, most commonly elk, deer and bears.

Look around wherever you go in the campground and stay bear aware. This is not to scare you but to make your visit as safe as possible. Bears are generally scared and run away but they don’t like to be surprised.

Feeding wildlife or approaching them for selfies is strictly prohibited. Unfortunately, this happens more often than you might think. Park rangers are on patrol and can fine you up to 25,000 CAD.

Bare campsite

This is the most important rule of all. All food, food-related items (grills & dishes), and anything that has a scent might attract bears into your site. You should never leave any of these items unattended for even a minute.

Everything must be stored inside your vehicle or in bear-proof storage lockers that every campground provides.

Download this brochure from Parks Canada for more info.

Camping in Jasper National Park - Wabasso Campground

Common sight in Jasper. Please give them space and take only pictures from distance.

Permits

Park Pass

To visit any national park in Canada, you are required to purchase a Park Pass (daily or yearly).

  • 9.80 CAD per person for a daily pass, 19.60 CAD for a group/family
  • 67.70 CAD per person for a yearly pass, 136.40 CAD for a group/family

The yearly pass is valid for all National Parks in Canada. You can either purchase it at the gate when you enter the national park, in Visitor’s Centre or online here.

Camping

Fees for camping range from 15,70 CAD for a basic first come first serve campground to 32,30 CAD for a campsite with electrical hook up.

While camping fees for the first come first serve campgrounds are payable at the self-registration kiosk, reservable campgrounds can be paid in advance when booking online or at the gate to the campground directly to Parks Canada staff (cash or card).

Fire permit

If there’s no fire ban in place, you can have a campfire at your site when you purchase a fire permit for 8,80 CAD. You can only use the firewood provided. Even though we’re used to just gather dead wood from the ground for campfires, this is not allowed in National Parks.

Camping in Jasper National Park - Wapiti Campground-2

How a bare campsite should look like (also no food in tents).

Wild/random camping

Wild camping is not allowed in any National Park, only in campgrounds. You can, however, wild camp for free on public land, review the rules here for Alberta. British Columbia has more options for free camping in Provincial Parks and Recreational Sites. You can use this website to find them.

Campsite reservations

Popular campgrounds closest to Jasper (Whistlers, Wapiti, Wabasso) need to be booked in advance for the summer. Reservations for summer 2019 opened January 8th at 8 am, and most sites were booked within minutes. So you really need to prepare.

But if you are like us and don’t like planning half a year in advance, you will still have a place to stay, don’ worry and continue reading for all options.

Best campgrounds in Jasper

If you don’t want to read the full guide, I will save you some time. These are my recommendations for the best campgrounds in Jasper:

  • Wabasso Campground (reservable)
  • Snaring Campground (first come first serve)
  • Wilcox Creek Campground (first come first serve)
  • Icefields Centre (first come first serve)

Map of campsites in Jasper

Green – First come first serve campgrounds
Blue – Reservable campgrounds
Orange – other options if all of the above is unavailable/full

All campgrounds on the map are accessible by car. The full breakdown of each is further below.

Camping in Jasper National Park

Camping is a popular budget-friendly option in Jasper. You can either make a reservation online or at any Visitor Centre. We always use first come first serve campgrounds to have more freedom.

There are 3 different types of campgrounds in Jasper National Park:

  1. Reservable campgrounds – reserve here
  2. First come first serve campgrounds
  3. Backcountry campgrounds

TIP
Basic first-come first-serve campgrounds cost 15,70 CAD – 21,50 CAD per night per campsite and campgrounds with showers cost 27,40 CAD per night per campsite.

Reservable campgrounds in Jasper

Whistlers Campground (closed in 2019/2020)

Location: 4 km from Jasper

Operating dates: closed in 2019/2020

Amenities: hot showers, toilets, shelters, hook-ups, dump station, drinking water

Fees: N/A

Number of sites: 800

Popular nearby attractions: town of Jasper, Jasper SkyTram & Whistlers Peak, Marmot Basin ski resort, Valley of the Five Lakes Hike

Valley of the Five Lakes Hike, Jasper National Park

Valley of the Five Lakes Hike, Jasper National Park

This is the biggest campground in the Rockies and is now under construction which should continue in 2020 as well. 

This campsite has everything you might need including hot showers, electricity, and full hookups.

It’s closest to town, has extensive facilities, playgrounds, biking trails, and even glamping tents. The trail connecting the campground to Jasper makes the access incredibly easy without using your car (which is very rare in Canada).

Wapiti Campground

Location: 6 km south of Jasper

Operating dates: year-round (May 1 to October 14 for summer & October 14 to May 6 for winter)

Amenities: toilet, picnic shelter, hot showers, hookups

Fees: 27,40 – 32,30 CAD per night per campsite

Number of sites: 363 in summer, 75 in winter

Popular nearby attractions: Jasper SkyTram & Whistlers Peak, Marmot Basin ski resort, Valley of the Five Lakes Hike

With Whistlers now closed, this campground is the most popular given its proximity to town. Even though it’s a big campground, it was fully booked when we visited in early June. It is now the only campground with showers in Jasper.

It’s located right by the Athabasca River and just walking within the campground is a nice and peaceful evening activity.

Every site has privacy with lots of trees around. If you really want to camp here and don’t have a reservation, show up at 8 am when the park rangers open the booth and they might have a spot if someone cancelled or is leaving early.

Wabasso Campground

Location: 17,5 km south from Jasper; located along 93A highway

Operating dates: May 1 to October 7

Amenities: toilet & running water, picnic shelter, outdoor washing sink, drinking water

Fees: 21,50 – 27,40 CAD per night per campsite

Number of sites: 231

Popular nearby attractions: hiking trails at Mt. Edith Cavell, Athabasca Falls, Valley of the Five Lakes Hike

Another big campground near Jasper along the Athabasca River is Wabasso. As you drive along the 93A highway from Jasper, you will notice the giant area this campground occupies.

We loved the spacious sites and proximity to bathrooms and drinking water. There’s almost no phone signal but also no shortage of wildlife. Park rangers mentioned a local black bear who particularly like this campground so remember to pack all your food when leaving your site.

Camping in Jasper National Park - Mt. Edith Cavell Hike

Mt. Edith Cavell Hike, Jasper National Park

Pocahontas Campground

Location: 45 km north of Jasper

Operating dates: May 15 to September 23

Amenities: toilets & running water, shelters, hookups

Fees:  21,50 CAD per night per campsite

Number of sites: 140

Popular nearby attractions: Miette Hot Springs, Sulphur Skyline Hike

Camping in Jasper National Park

Scenic drive in Jasper

A little hidden away from it all is a secluded Pocahontas Campground. This was the only reservable campground (in 2019) which wasn’t fully booked for summer months in advance. If you’re looking for a quiet place, this is it!

The trailhead to incredibly popular hiking trail Sulphur Skyline starts at the Miette Hot Springs and it’s quite a drive to get there from anywhere else. Staying in this campground gives you a big advantage of starting the hike early in the morning and beat the crowds.

First come first serve campgrounds in Jasper

  • You will self-register at the kiosk when you arrive and find an available site.
  • Camping fee (and optional fire permit) is payable either by cash (you need to have the exact change) or you can fill out the paper slip with your credit card info.
  • Every campground has fire rings with firewood, picnic tables at each site, and drinking water. Outhouses are well maintained with toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
  • Check out is at 11 am and I recommend arriving before that to get a site. You can still leave and explore for the day as long as you paid for the site and your paper slip is attached to the wooden pole in front of each site (so others know it’s been taken).

TIP
All first come first serve campgrounds are basic without showers. You can shower at the Fitness & Aquatic Centre in Jasper for 4 CAD or at SnowDome, a coffee bar with private showers, internet, and laundromat.

Snake Indian Falls in Jasper National Park

Snake Indian Falls in Jasper National Park

Snaring Campground

Location: 17 km north from Jasper, along Snaring Road

Operating dates: May 15 to October 7

Amenities: outhouse, picnic shelter, drinking water

Fees:  15,70 CAD per night per campsite

Number of sites: 62

Popular nearby attractions: Snake Indian Falls (amazing backpacking or biking trip), Pyramid Lake & Pyramid Island, Patricia Lake, Maligne Canyon, Edith Lake & Annette Lake – great for swimming, kayaking, SUP, biking or hiking; the road to Medicine Lake & Maligne Lake

Despite the campground being a bit further from town, this is the one campground I would recommend if you’re staying in Jasper for a few days. The reason is simple – many of Jasper’s lakes and other popular attractions are located closest to this campground (you can see the exhausting list above). You can set up a camp here for 3 nights and go exploring around.

If you come early enough, ask for a campsite by the Snaring River and you’ll have the best view every morning (you might need a bug spray in the evening though).

Edith Lake in Jasper National Park

Edith Lake in Jasper National Park

Mount Kerkeslin Campground

Location: 36 km south from Jasper along Icefields Parkway (198 km from Lake Louise)

Operating dates: May 15 to September 30

Amenities: outhouse, picnic shelter, drinking water

Fees: 15,70 CAD per night per campsite

Number of sites: 42

Popular nearby attractions: Athabasca Falls, hiking trails at Mt. Edith Cavell, hiking trails for Geraldine Lakes & Lookout

One of our favourite campgrounds in Jasper. It’s by the Athabasca River and the best part is, there is a sandy beach on the shore, a great place to relax after an adventurous day.

Also, the smell of the pine trees never gets old. The sites are in the trees providing much-needed shade in summer and still provide a lot of privacy. And if you’re nicely equipped, the drinking water provided at the campground is all you need.

Big thumbs up for Parks Canada who equipped every single site with a picnic table in campgrounds.

Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park

Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park

Honeymoon Lake Campground

Location: 52 km south from Jasper along Icefields Parkway (182 km from Lake Louise)

Operating dates: May 15 to September 23

Amenities: outhouse, shelter, drinking water

Fees: 15,70 CAD per night per campsite

Number of sites: 35

Popular nearby attractions: Honeymoon Lake, Sunwapta Falls

Yes, is as romantic as it sounds. Just look at the pictures. Campground nestled in the forest, by the lake, and with a view of the mountains. Even though there’s no beach, the rocky shore provides a nice launch for a kayak, canoe or stand up paddleboard. And if you just want to relax, take advantage of the bench, bring a picnic and enjoy the view.

Sunwapta Falls, Jasper National Park

Sunwapta Falls, Jasper National Park

Jonas Creek Campground

Location: 77 km south from Jasper along Icefields Parkway (156 km from Lake Louise)

Operating dates: May 15 to September 23

Amenities: outhouse, shelter, drinking water

Fees: 15,70 CAD per night per campsite

Number of sites: 25

Popular nearby attractions: Columbia Icefield, Stutfield Glacier

The smallest campground in Jasper National Park provides very secluded and quiet sites. It is located right by the creek and the fresh air it provides with the nice smell of the trees is indescribably rejuvenating.

Given its distance from Jasper and Lake Louise, it’s also a great spot on the Icefields Parkway where you can camp to break your trip into two days.

Icefields Centre (vehicles only)

Location: right beside the parking lot for the Icefields Discovery Centre, 105 km south from Jasper along Icefields Parkway (128 km from Lake Louise)

Operating dates: May 1 to October 30

Amenities: outhouse only

Fees: 15,70 CAD per night per site

Number of sites: 100

Popular nearby attractions: Wilcox Pass Hike, Columbia Icefield, Toe of the Athabasca Glacier Hike, Stutfield Glacier, Parker Ridge Hike & Panther Falls just outside the border in Banff National Park

Conveniently located right by the Icefields Discovery Centre, this is a big parking lot for vehicles only. The view can’t be beaten by any other campground as you directly see the Columbia Icefield.

TIP
This is the only place on Icefields Parkway road between Lake Louise and Jasper with (free) Wi-Fi. (You need to go inside the building to have a signal.)

Columbia Icefield Campground (tents only)

Location: 105 km south from Jasper along Icefields Parkway (128 km from Lake Louise)

Operating dates: June 5 to October 14

Amenities: toilet, picnic shelter, drinking water

Fees:  15,70 CAD per night per campsite

Number of sites: 33

Popular nearby attractions: Wilcox Pass Hike, Columbia Icefield, Toe of the Athabasca Glacier Hike, Stutfield Glacier, Parker Ridge Hike & Panther Falls just outside the border in Banff National Park

A good option for tents as you also see the Columbia Icefield from this campground. The surrounding hikes and attractions make it a good place to stay even for 2 nights. Just make sure to stock up on food in Jasper, Banff, Canmore or Calgary before your trip (shops in Lake Louise are way overpriced).

Driving towards Columbia Icefield, Jasper National Park

Driving towards Columbia Icefield, Jasper National Park

Wilcox Creek Campground

Location: 107 km south from Jasper along Icefields Parkway (126 km from Lake Louise)

Operating dates: June 5 to September 23

Amenities: outhouse, picnic shelter, drinking water, dumping station

Fees: 15,70 CAD per night per campsite

Number of sites: 46

Popular nearby attractions: Wilcox Pass Hike, Columbia Icefield, Toe of the Athabasca Glacier Hike, Stutfield Glacier, Parker Ridge Hike & Panther Falls just outside the border in Banff National Park

Wilcox Pass Hike, Jasper National Park

Wilcox Pass Hike with Athabasca Glacier, Jasper National Park

This is the campground I would recommend the most if you’re driving the Icefields Parkway over the span of 2 days. For the best view of the Athabasca Glacier, hike the 8 km trail to Wilcox Pass and I assure you, you won’t be disappointed. The trail is even shorter if you just hike to the viewpoint with red chairs. Mountain sheep also love this spot.

Backcountry campgrounds in Jasper

Jasper National Park offers more than 1,000 km of backcountry trails. The most popular trekking routes are:

What you will need is to purchase a backcountry permit for 9,80 CAD per night online or in the Visitor Centre (a bit more if reserved by phone). If you’re planning one of the above-mentioned treks, book your campground as early as possible because they go fast. The reservation opens in late January and most of the campgrounds for the summer weekends are booked that day. You can book them online here.

Many of the backcountry campgrounds are maintained which means they will have food storage cables or bear poles where you need to store all your food so it doesn’t attract wildlife.

You can find more information about backcountry camping on the Parks Canada website.

backcountry camping in Jasper National

Backcountry camping in Jasper National

Other options when campgrounds in Jasper are full

As we always travel without a plan, we learnt to be resourceful. We’ll show you campgrounds that are not that obvious but are a great option. Summer weekends and long weekends in Canada are extremely busy so you might have to camp a bit further from Jasper.

Better have a further campsite than no campsite at all, am I right?

Snaring River Overflow in Jasper

Location: 17 km north from Jasper, along Snaring Road, (a bit further from the Snaring Campground after you cross the bridge)

Operating dates: June 1 to October 7

Amenities: outhouse, picnic shelter, drinking water

Fees:  15,70 CAD per night per campsite

Number of sites: more than 300

Popular nearby attractions: Snake Indian Falls (amazing backpacking or biking trip), Pyramid Lake & Pyramid Island, Patricia Lake, Maligne Canyon, Edith Lake & Annette Lake – great for swimming, kayaking, SUP, biking or hiking; the road to Medicine Lake & Maligne Lake

This is the best campground in Jasper, at least for us. Even though it’s not considered a campground but rather a spot where other campgrounds send travellers when they are full.

It used to be a big field where you could park wherever you wanted but now with the biggest campground in Jasper closed, they rebuilt it with designated camping sites.

If you’re in a tent, your campsite will be in the forest with privacy but all camping vehicles have sites side by side to fit as many as possible.

Camping in Jasper National Park - Snaring River Overflow

Morning view from Smile Campervan

Campgrounds near & in Hinton

Once you drive north of Jasper and leave the boundaries of the national park, there are several campgrounds towards Hinton:

  • Wildhorse Lake Campground
  • Maskuta Creek Campground
  • Hinton Campground

Campgrounds in Mount Robson Provincial Park

West of Jasper, right outside the Jasper National Park when you’re driving the Yellowhead Highway, is Mount Robson Provincial Park offering campgrounds as well:

  • Lucerne Campground
  • Robson Meadows Campground
  • Robson River Campground

And I will now tell you a secret which will make camping in Mount Robson Provincial Park a brilliant idea. You will see Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Furthermore, there is a popular multi-day trail to Berg Lake where you can see a glacier with a mesmerizing blue pool underneath (backcountry campgrounds need to be reserved in advance). And if you just feel like day hiking, head to Kinney Lake.


What do you think? Does camping in Jasper National Park sound like a great idea? Let us know if you have any questions below.


Spread the word! PIN this to your Pinterest board.

 

About Maya Steiningerova

Heyo, I’m Maya! An adventure athlete currently living near the Canadian Rockies with my partner in crime Michal. I love running in the mountains, jumping in the ice cold lakes, mountain biking and trying not so common activities, such as mountaineering. By showing that an ordinary person can live an extraordinary life, my hope is to inspire you to live an adventurous life and provide you with tips and tools for your own adventure.