Thousands of people’s summer vacation includes camping in Jasper National Park. In fact, I read somewhere that Jasper is home to Canada’s largest campground. And what about you? If you’re planning to bring your family out to Jasper and hoping that you’ll be able to grab a camping site the day you arrive… well, you may want to rethink your plans!
If you plan to go camping in Jasper, then you really should get a campsite reservation!
As I write this, the snow is falling, the temperature is dropping, and thinking about sleeping in a tent is far from our minds. We all know the snow won’t last forever and come spring we’ll start craving smores, campfires, and outdoor destinations. We’ll be eager to sit down with friends and our calendars, marking off all potential camping weekends.
However, to really do things right, we should actually be looking at our calendars in December! But, we’re a family of five. How can we know our schedules for next summer by Christmas? Craziness! And, then to coordinate our uncertain calendars with the busy uncertain calendars of our camping friends, ludicrous!
But, we love camping. Our friends love camping. We want the great camping spots. And, the only way to get the great camping spots in Jasper National Park is to reserve those spots when the reservation system opens up in January. And, thousands of other campers know this too!
So, here’s my number one tip for you and your family:
Reserve your camping site as early in the year as you can!
Now, if you happen to want to camp at one of the sites which don’t accept reservations, then no worries, there’s nothing you can do but cross your fingers and arrive early. But, if you happen to have a big RV and expect to partake in the camping luxuries of water and electricity, then using Parks Canada reservation system is a must!
Here’s a little update to this post: Just this past January 2018, I sat, fingers poised at my computer waiting for the reservation system to open up at 8am. Within 10 minutes, almost all serviced sites were already reserved for the entire summer! 10 minutes!
For your convenience, I have broken down your Jasper National Park campsite options into two groups: those where you can reserve a spot, and those where you cannot. (This information is accurate for the 2018 season. Things can always change with Parks Canada and I recommend you check out the reservation system for up to date info).
Camping in Jasper – What are your options?
Reservations can be made for these Jasper campgrounds:
Whistlers – This is the largest campground with close to 800 sites. It is close to town and has all services including water, sewage, electricity, playgrounds, running water and flush toilets, and interpretive programs. Whistlers is the only campground with full hook-up sites. If you want a full-hook up site for the busy summer months of July or August, you should be planning to make your reservations within the hour of the reservation system opening.
Important update: Whistlers will be closed for the 2019 summer camping season for maintenance and renovations… hopefully it will be an even more exciting campground come summer 2020!
Wapiti – Also close to town, Wapiti is the second largest campground with just under 400 sites. Seriviced winter camping is available here. They have some electric sites, running water, flush toilets, and a brand new playground. Wapiti sits beside the Athabasca River and has a nice walking path along the river.
Wabasso – This campground is further from town and so can be less busy at times. There is no cell reception at this campground. They do have some electric hook ups, running water, and flush toilets. Wabasso is also situated along the Athabasca River and has lovely trails along the water.
Pocahontas – Pocahontas is close to Jasper National Park’s eastern gate. There are no services here, but they do have flush toilets.
Jasper campgrounds which do not accept reservations:
Snaring River – Closer to town, Snaring is a popular campground for those last-minute campers. They do not accept reservations for this campground, and use the overflow area here when all other campgrounds are full. Snaring campground sits beside the Snaring River and it is lots of fun to play along the rocky shore . There is no running water and pit toilets only.
Kerkeslin – This often overlooked campground is close to Athabasca Falls on the Icefields Parkway. It too sits along the Athabasca River and can be fun for kids to play on the sandy shore (if the water is low). It can feel more secluded here and is often less busy. There are only pit toilets at Kerkeslin and no running water.
Honeymoon Lake – As the name suggests, this campsite is at Honeymoon Lake, further down the Icefields Parkway. Unfortunately there is not a beach at this site, but the Lake is great for canoeing. There is also a very large climbing rock that kids will have fun playing on and around. This campground only has pit toilets and no running water.
Jonas Creek – This is Jasper National Park’s smallest campsite with only 25 sites. It is closer to the Icefields Center and can be cooler because of this. There is no running water and has pit toilets only.
Columbia Icefield, and Wilcox – These campgrounds are smaller with just under 100 sites combined. They are both next to the Icefields Center and because of their high elevation and proximity to the glacier, expect it to be cooler here all times of the year. There are no hook-ups, running water, or flush toiltets, but Wilcox does have a sewer dump station. Icefields campground is tiered up the hillside providing many sites with views of the Columbia Glacier and can be a lovely spot to tent at.
I hope that this post has encouraged you to both consider camping in Jasper National Park, but also encouraged you to get your summer planning in order and make that very important reservation as early in the year as possible. You won’t regret it! (and even if you do, there’s a reasonable cancellation policy). Happy Camping!
If you are actually planning a trip to Jasper National Park and would like to stay , then sign up for the Jasper Edition Newsletter. You’ll get up-to-date news, activity ideas, local’s tips, and some goodies delivered right to your inbox once each month. These posts may also prove helpful in planning your visit to Jasper:
- Ultimate Bucket List of Things to Do in Jasper National Park
- What to See and Do While Visiting the Town of Jasper
- Your fun-filled 2 Day Itinerary for Jasper National Park