Camping tips for Alberta, BC: campground reservations, hidden gems, summer adventures


Booking a campground in Alberta or BC these days can feel a little like getting tickets to a Taylor Swift concert: hordes of digital savvy super campers and hikers are primed to go as soon as the floodgates open, ready to snap up all the best spots. 

However, if you’re willing to put in a little legwork (and maybe be a little flexible), you can still score some excellent camping throughout the summer season in Western Canada. Even if you’re not a “swifty” at planning.

Camping, hiking reservations in Alberta & BC 

Here’s a few things to know for camping and hiking reservations in Alberta and BC, including sites and trails managed by Parks Canada, Alberta Parks and BC Parks. 

There is also a wide inventory of municipal campsites and private campgrounds to explore, which we’ll highlight as well (including some with greater availability or easier—i.e. less competitive—booking windows).

Alberta Parks camping reservations

Lac La Biche Off Road Adventures Elinor Lake Paul Lavoie
Photo: Paul Lavoie
Enjoying a fire on a backcountry lake in Lac La Biche.

The Alberta Parks system has set opening dates each year, for when reservations can be made. 

Here are the camping reservation opening dates for 2024 for Alberta: 

February 20, 9:00am Backcountry Camping reservations   

February 22, 9:00am Comfort Camping reservations 

February 26, 9:00am Individual Campsites reservations 

February 28, 9:00am Group Camping reservations 

Reservation fees remain the same for 2024. So that’s a bonus! 

New changes to AB Parks bookings for 2024 

Blame it on Covid. Over the last couple years the issues of overbooking, sliding and access have become more and more challenging as a whole new cohort of campers jumped into the action.

To help address some of those challenges, Alberta Parks is introducing new features for 2024, including new tools and policies to address fair and equitable access, easier payment methods, site selection and booking for additional units, expanded call centre support (24/7, 363 days) and last-minute bookings.

Last-minute Alberta Parks campsite bookings

Here’s a new feature we love, for those spontaneous trips. With Alberta Parks' new "Camping This Weekend" feature on you can find last-minute campsites available to book for the coming weekend. 


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Tip: Be sure to check back to the site often as cancellations may open a spot for you and your family!

More info & to make reservations:

BC Parks camping/hiking reservations

Photo: Sunseta Media
Waterside camping at Secret Beach puts you on the edge of the Broken Group Islands.

Booking for BC Parks operates on a different system, with bookings open as of January 2024. 

Some of the big, popular hiking trails have different dates for booking. There are also some policies to know about for both frontcountry and backcountry bookings. 

For all your info on BC Parks camping reservations, check out: 

Hiking reservations for popular BC hiking trails 

Berg Lake Trail 
Kinney Lake camping reservations open May 31, 2024; Whitehorn is expected to reopen this season. See the BC Parks trail update here * Berg Lake Trail has been under construction since 2021 (due to extreme weather damage). 

Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit 
Bookings for this popular circuit start the fall prior, and are open as of Oct 2023 for the summer 2024 season. For more information on the circuit, and reservations, check out BC Parks info here.

Moose Chris Wheeler
Photo: Chris Wheeler
Paddlers on the Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit enjoy a moose cameo.

Garibaldi is a technical backcountry hike in the Coastal Mountains just 70km north of Vancouver, near Whistler. Detailed information is available on BC Parks

Parks Canada camping/hiking reservations 

Parks Canada opens its reservation system in January of each year. Some sites are open for bookings on a first-come, first-serve basis until they fill up, others are only open via random draw. 

For full details on launch dates and entering into draws, visit 

To book campsites or register for hiking at any time, on available campgrounds or trails, visit 

Municipal and private campground bookings for Alberta and BC 

Beyond federal and provincial parks, there are other options, some of which extend access to those who are planning with shorter windows. Of course, for camping in high season, it's always best to book as far ahead as you can.

Camping on Vancouver Island

These and more are featured in our roundup of 10 Western Canada camping experiences you'll love.

More campground listings 

For more campground listings, both Travel Alberta and Destination BC provide listings to many more of their respective provinces’ best sites. 

For more campground listings in Alberta
check out 

For more campground listings in BC
check out

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