The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Jasper National Park

Camping in Jasper is a tremendous way to explore the lovely park in the summer months. However, Jasper National Park attracts over two million visitors a year and thousands of those have plans to camp in the park. Due to the high demand, we recommend you take note of a few things before planning your trip to the park.

We’ll break down the campsites and share which ones you’ll need to book reservations in advance. We strongly recommend you make reservations for most of the campsites in the Canadian Rockies as demand is very high and relying on the first-come-first-serve campsites is a bit of a gamble.


Camping in Jasper National Park

Jasper does not have a large variety of options for hotels or camping as in Banff. However, visitors do have a number of options for camping In Jasper and that includes a few private campgrounds just outside of the park.

There are four options for camping in Jasper front country reservable and non-reservable, backcountry, and random camping. We’ll break down each category and your options for campsites in the park. All of the campsites are equipped with at least potable water and toilet (dry or flush).

What you’re looking for as far as campgrounds in Jasper relies heavily on your means of camping whether that is an RV, tent, or campervan. Campers who will need facilities for an R/V will most readily need a reserved campsite.

Reservations do come with a fee for each separate reservation at $13.50 via phone and $11.50 when booked online. In addition, to the reservation fee, it should be noted that while fire-pits are at many campsites campers are required to have a fire permit which costs $8.80. The fire permit includes free firewood and can be purchased at the campground.


Front Country Campsites (Reservable)

CampgroundSitesFacilitiesPrice
Wapiti Campground363 (75 Winter)Electrical Hookup, Fire Pit, Sani Dump, Playground, Kitchen Shelter, Showers, Flush Toilets$28 to $33.01
Wabasso Campground231Electrical Hookup, Fire Pit, Sani Dump, Playground, Flush Toilets$21.97 to $28
Pocahontas Campground140Fire Rings, Flush Toilets, Running Water$21.97
Whistlers Campground800RedevelopmentN/A
Overflow280Dry Toilets, Water$16.05

Wapiti Campground

Athabasca River

This is the closest campground to town it is currently the largest campground in Jasper until Whistlers Campground reopens. It has some great views and sits on the shore of the Athabasca River. Along the river, there is a trail that leads all the way into the town of Jasper. Currently, Jasper and more specifically the campground area is infested with pine beetles who have decimated the tree population so expect to be surrounded by many dead trees in the area.

The campground also operates a limited number of winter campsites that operate on a first-come-first-serve. The campsite has a massive 363 sites in the summer and 75 winter campsites. Wapiti Campground has a large number of facilities that include kitchen areas, hot showers, fire pits, picnic tables, food lockers, flush toilets, electrical hookups, dumping station, and even a playground. It’s a decent campground, but it can be a little expensive for a one-night stay with the reservation fee. We most look forward to when Whistlers Campground opens back up with new facilities.

  • Operating dates: Year Round (Summer May 6 – October 12)
  • Reservation: Required
  • Amenities: Electrical Hookup, Fire Pit, Sani Dump, Playground, Kitchen Shelter, Showers, Flush Toilets
  • Fees: $28 to $33.01
  • Number of sites: 363 (75 Winter)

Wabasso Campground

If you’re looking for a more quiet campsite check out the Wabasso Campground. It’s a little further outside of Jasper town that’s around a 25-minute drive. However, the campground does have nice facilities such as electrical hookups, flush toilets, playground, fire pits, sanitation dump, and kitchen shelters. Campsites are best suited for tents, campervans, and RVs under 35 feet.

The campground has some fantastic views and almost half the campsites sit along the Athabasca River. Similar to the Wapiti Campground we love falling asleep to sound of a rushing river. A number of trails lead out from the campground and there is a great sandy beach along the river for sunny days. We like this campsite a little more than Wapiti as the sites have more space between them, but there are no showers. It should also be noted the pine beetle has also killed off much of the trees around this campsite.

  • Operating dates: May 6 – September 28
  • Reservation: Required
  • Amenities: Electrical Hookup, Fire Pit, Sani Dump, Playground, Flush Toilets
  • Fees: $21.97 to $28
  • Number of sites: 231

Pocahontas Campground

This campground is close to Jasper’s eastern gate and around a 40-minute drive from town. Services are limited, but there are flush toilets which we always prefer over the dry toilets. It’s typically a good bet if you’re having a hard time finding reservations as it’s quite far from Banff and a good drive out of the town of Jasper.

Its location does come with one distinct advantage it’s right next to a popular hiking trail. The Sulphur Skyline starts at the Miette Hot Springs and is one of the most popular hikes in Jasper with incredible views. Most of the campsites here are small so it’s best for tents, campervans, and motorhomes under 27 feet.

  • Operating dates: May 13 – September 14
  • Reservation: Required
  • Amenities: Fire Rings, Flush Toilets, Running Water
  • Fees: $21.97
  • Number of sites: 140

Whistlers Campground

Currently Under Renovation. This will be the nicest reservable campground in Jasper once the renovation is finished. The goal is to have the campsite open for the spring of 2021, but we will have to monitor updates given the chance of unexpected delays. It is the largest campground in Jasper with close to 800 campsites.

Whistlers Campground is close to town and includes all of the facilities and services you could hope for from a campsite. Facilities on offer include water, sewage, electricity, playgrounds, full hookups, running water, flush toilets, fire pits, and shower facilities.

  • Operating dates: 2021
  • Reservation: Required
  • Amenities: N/A
  • Fees: N/A
  • Number of sites: 780

Overflow Campground

I wouldn’t recommend making plans to choose the overflow campground. Its primary purpose is to help increase the number of campsites given the closure of the Whistlers Campground. It’s a primitive gravel lot that is wide open and has level campsites that can fit large RVs.

There are only dry facilities here with drop toilets, recycling, and trash only. There are no fire pits or fires allowed on at the campsite. It’s a mix between first-come-first-serve and reservation with half of the lots available for reservation.

  • Operating dates: May 13 – September 21
  • Reservation: Required
  • Amenities: Dry Toilets, Water
  • Fees: $16.05
  • Number of sites: 280

Front Country Campsites (Non-Reservable)

Mount-Athabasca-and-Andromeda-Icefields-Parkway-Banff

The non-reservable campsites are a mixed bag with some of the campsites are our favorites in the Canadian Rockies, while others are nothing more than an overflow parking lot. They all operate on a first-come-first-serve basis. This means you can not reserve these campsites in advance. The best advice for these campgrounds in the peak summer is to arrive in the morning and grab a campsite as others depart.

CampgroundSitesFacilitiesPrice
Snaring Campground62Dry Toilets, Fire Pits, Food Storage, Kitchen Shelter, Potable Water$16.05
Kerkeslin Campground42Dry Toilets, Fire Pits, Food Storage, Kitchen Shelter, Potable Water$16.05
Columbia Icefield Campground33 (Tents)Dry Toilets, Fire Pits, Food Storage, Kitchen Shelter, Potable Water$16.05
Honeymoon Lake35Dry Toilets, Fire Pits, Food Storage, Kitchen Shelter, Potable Water$16.05
Jonas Campground26Dry Toilets, Fire Pits, Food Storage, Kitchen Shelter, Potable Water$16.05
Wilcox Campground46Dry Toilets, Fire Pits, Food Storage, Kitchen Shelter, Potable Water, Sani Dump$16.05
Icefields RV Centre100None$16.05

Snaring Campground

Snaring has a nice mix of campsites, ranging from private and well-treed to wide open and sunny. If you’re tent camping there are some really lovely walk-in campsites along the river that are quiet. We love the spots along the river with dramatic views of jagged peaks.

It’s right across from the Overflow campsite so it’s the better option to try first before settling with the less desirable campground. It’s a dry camp similar to the Overflow, but they do have fire pits and a kitchen shelter. Campsites are limited in size to vehicles under 27 feet so RVs will need to head to the Overflow.

  • Operating dates: May 13 – September 28
  • Reservation: No
  • Amenities: Dry Toilets, Fire Pits, Food Storage, Kitchen Shelter, Potable Water
  • Fees: $16.05
  • Number of sites: 62

Kerkeslin Campground

Ahtabasca Falls Jasper

This basic campsite is a quiet, but beautiful spot along the Icefields Parkway. The campground is often overlooked so if you’re in need of a campground it may be a good bet in the summer months, no guarantees. Either way, the campgrounds a limited number of campsites ensures it remains quiet and never too busy.

Amenities are limited to dry toilets, potable water, a kitchen shelter, and fire pits. In our opinion, if you don’t mind the lack of showers or flush toilets it’s a lovely little campsite and a hidden gem.

  • Operating dates: May 13 – September 21
  • Reservation: No
  • Amenities: Dry Toilets, Fire Pits, Food Storage, Kitchen Shelter, Potable Water
  • Fees: $16.05
  • Number of sites: 42

Columbia Icefield Campground

Icefields-Campground-MSR-Tent-Mountaineering

This is probably one of the most difficult campsites to score in the peak summer months. It operates on a first-come-first-serve basis and it’s very small. There is not much for facilities here, but the views if you’re lucky enough to score one of the eight choice sites are unreal. This site is limited to tents only, but a small van might be able to pull off a camp here granted parking is not level.

From the site, you look out onto the Athabasca Glacier. We got super lucky with this spot by showing up at 8:00 in the morning and catching someone who was on their way out. We spent three nights at this campsite while we climbed the surrounding mountains including Mt. Athabasca. Word of warning due to the elevation and proximity to glaciers this campsite is pretty chilly.

  • Operating dates: June 3 – October 12
  • Reservation: No
  • Amenities: Dry Toilets, Fire Pits, Food Storage, Kitchen Shelter, Potable Water
  • Fees: $16.05
  • Number of sites: 33

Honeymoon Lake Campground

Honeymoon Lake

This little campsite sits along the Honeymoon Lake on the Icefields Parkway. It’s a nice lake for kayaking or SUP and the trails along the lake are a great way to enjoy the wilderness. Like many other first-come-first-serve campgrounds in Jasper, it has limited facilities. However, you will find dry toilets, potable water, and fire pits.

  • Operating dates: May 13 – September 21
  • Reservation: No
  • Amenities: Dry Toilets, Fire Pits, Food Storage, Kitchen Shelter, Potable Water
  • Fees: $16.05
  • Number of sites: 35

Jonas Campground

This is the smallest site for camping in Jasper. Its size gives you a taste of backcountry without any of the work as there are dozen great walk-in campsites for tent campers. The other sites are capable of holding small RVs, tents, or campervans. It’s tucked away in the forest along the Sunwapta Valley and not far from the Columbia Icefield Skywalk.

It’s another basic campsite, but we love it for quiet and access to hikes. At the campsite you will find dry toilets, potable water, and fire pits.

  • Operating dates: May 13 – September 14
  • Reservation: No
  • Amenities: Dry Toilets, Fire Pits, Food Storage, Kitchen Shelter, Potable Water
  • Fees: $16.05
  • Number of sites: 26

Wilcox Campgound

This campground sits at the trailhead of one of the most popular hikes in all of Jasper. It’s just down the road from the Icefields campsite and the discovery center. While the views aren’t bad they aren’t near as good the Icefields campground. However, it’s a pretty quiet campground and typically a pretty safe bet like snaring for scoring a campsite. In addition, small RVs under 27 feet will be able to camp at Wilcox and they have a dump station. It’s another basic campsite and at the campsite, you will find dry toilets, potable water, and fire pits.

  • Operating dates: June 3 – September 21
  • Reservation: No
  • Amenities: Dry Toilets, Fire Pits, Food Storage, Kitchen Shelter, Potable Water, Sani Dump
  • Fees: $16.05
  • Number of sites: 46

Icefields RV Centre

This is a basic overflow campsite for RVs, trailers, and campervans. It’s in the parking lot of the Icefields Discovery Center and does not offer much of anything for facilities. The good news is the “campground” is cheap, has amazing views, and almost always open.

There are no facilities here other than what you can use at the Icefields Discovery Center when it is open to the public. We’ve used their flush toilets a few times when camping in the area, but never stayed here.

  • Operating dates: May 6 – October 12
  • Reservation: No
  • Amenities: None (Icefields Discovery Center)
  • Fees: $16.05
  • Number of sites: 100

Jasper National Park Backcountry Camping

Backcountry Camping Jasper

There are 14 backcountry campgrounds in Jasper National Park. Jasper National Park offers more than 1,000 km of hiking trails so there are some tremendous multi-day hikes possible in Jasper. All of the campgrounds require a reservation and many of the most popular are in high demand so you’ll need to be active with your reservations. You are also required to have a reservation and backcountry camping permit.

Fires are not permitted in backcountry campsites. All backcountry campgrounds have tent pads, dry toilets, picnic tables, and food storage so you won’t need to pack a bear bin.

The most popular trekking routes are:

  • Skyline Trail
  • Jacques Lake
  • Tonquin Valley
  • Maligne Lake Canoe
  • Fryatt Valley

Camping Types in Jasper


Frontcountry Camping

This is the most common campground in Jasper and where most people will want to spend their time. These are campsites that you can access via a car or short walk. This includes campgrounds strictly for tents and those that can accommodate RVs and camper-vans. Many of the campsites have facilities that include toilets, kitchen areas, or showers.

There are also a number of campgrounds that offer fully-equipped campsites with all you could need. Quite a few of these campsites also operate on a first-come-first-serve basis so it’s possible to make a last-minute plan to camp in the park.


Backcountry Camping

Mt Assiniboine
Mt. Assiniboine

There are a number of campgrounds in the Canadian Rockies that require you to hike into the location or take a helicopter. Some of the best hikes in Jasper and the Canadian Rockies take place from these campgrounds so reservations go very fast. If you want to spend time in these spectacular locations it will require some work and advance planning to score a reservation.


Random Camping

This is the least common type of camping and we’d generally advise it for people who have already spent time in the Jasper and looking for new areas to explore. Random camping areas are far from the most popular trails and sights of Jasper. They’re also deep in the backcountry where you’re more likely to encounter wildlife and will be far away from a cell signal or help. Parks Canada does allow random camping in the most remote regions of the park. You can’t just pull off to the side of the road, walk just off a popular trail, or camp near the campground in Jasper.

You are also permitted to bivy for a number of climbing and mountaineering objectives in the park. It’s most commonly done by mountaineers on the icefield. Random camping in Jasper still requires you to have a backcountry permit and register with Parks Canada the region you will plan to camp. Guidelines for random camping in Jasper require you to camp at least 5.0 km. from a trailhead or campground, 50m from any trail, and 70m from a water source. Fires are not allowed.


Jasper Campground Basics

If you wish to camp in any National Park you will need the following.

  • A National Park Pass: We buy ours annually as locals, but if you plan to visit for an extended period of time it makes for far more sense to buy the annual pass rather than the daily.
  • A Camping Permit: Some campgrounds require advanced reservations that can be made via phone or online. Other campsites are a first-come, first-serve basis where you register and retrieve your permit at the site. (Make sure to carry enough cash if you opt for the latter.) Even if you have plans for random camping that still requires a permit.
  • A Fire Permit: A number of campsites have individual pits and allow for campfires. They cost $8.80 per site per night so bring enough cash to pay for the permit at the campsite.

Camping Tips


Reservations

Save your money by booking online rather than the phone. You can book your site on the Parks Canada website.


“Bare” Campsite

All visitors are advised to practice the bare campsite policy. This means no food left unattended or out and all campsites are clean to reduce conflicts with wildlife, most specifically bears.


Come Prepared For Cool Temperatures

Summers in the park are lovely with temperatures that range from 16° to 23° Celsius. While temperatures at night frequently drop below zero especially in the shoulder months. We like to camp in the park with a -7C/20F sleeping bag as it allows for the greatest comfort in the park. Remember you can always unzip a sleeping bag, but you can’t add more insulation.


Free Camping/Random Camping

There is no free camping or random camping allowed in Jasper National Park. You must camp in a designated campsite and/or have a backcountry permit.


Things to do in Jasper

Spirit Island Jasper

Jasper National Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Canada. Like it’s southern sister, Banff, there are many things to do in Jasper all year round.

In the summertime, you can easily grab a canoe and paddle your way around one of the many mountain lakes, or in the winter you can take a drive on the stunning Icefields parkway. If you’re wondering what to do in Jasper on your Canadian vacation, we have you covered.

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