Whistlers Campground, great family camping in Jasper!

Every summer I bring my kids to Whistlers campground in Jasper National Park for a week of playing, exploring, marshmallow roasting, and campsite lounging… and campsite spying.

Yep, I said campsite spying.  Are you a campsite snoop?  Do you enjoy seeing how other people are camping just as much as you enjoy the camping itself?  You know, walking around the sites and checking out all the different get-ups:  Jeeps with roof-top tents, converted school buses, tiny tents, circus tents, trailers with campers parked on top, mobile mini-mansions, old-school vintage campers, and futuristic pop-ups…. The list goes on and on!

And there’s no better place to be a camping spy than in a giant campground.  The bigger the campground, the more camping families, get-ups, equipment, and gear!  How about a campground with almost 800 sites?  That’s a lot of campers!  Whistlers campground in Jasper National Park is one such campground.  Below, I’ll share why Whistlers makes a perfect family campground.

The large playground at Whistlers Campground in Jasper. Text reads: the best family camping, whistlers campground, Jasper National Park

Whistlers Campground in Jasper National Park

I read somewhere that Whistlers Campground was the largest campground in Canada.  I don’t know where I read that information and I can’t seem to find it again.  But, I do know that Whistlers is a big campground!

According to Parks Canada, there are 781 sites available at Whistlers.  Jasper has 10 campgrounds, with over 1900 campsites in total.  The next largest campground in Jasper is Wapiti with 364 sites, and it’s just across the highway from Whistlers.

As to be expected, with a campground this large, Whistlers has all the standard campsite amenities.  This is the only campground with full hook-ups (if you’re quick enough to reserve them) on drive through sites.  Whistlers also has running water, flush toilets, showers, organized programming, an amphitheater, playgrounds, and a fun nature play walking path.

playground with whistlers mountain in the background, jasper national park
The playground at Whistlers Campground in Jasper National Park

Another neat thing available at Whistlers Campground are these oTENTiks.  We haven’t been lucky enough to stay in one yet.  But I’ve heard they’re very nice, spacious, and affordable. 

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OTENTiks are soft-walled cabins with bunk beds, a table and chairs, a small electric heater, and an electric light.  You bring your own sleeping bags and cooking equipment, so you don’t have to worry about a tent, or sleeping on the ground!

How much does Whistlers Campground cost?

Staying at Whistler’s campground will cost somewhere around $24 – $50 (Canadian Dollars) per night.  This depends on what hook-ups you might get.  Below is the fee schedule for the 2022 summer season:

  • Full hookup, with fire pit: $50.00
  • Full hookup: $40.75
  • Electrical, with fire pit: $43.75
  • Unserviced, with fire pit: $38.50
  • Unserviced: $29.25
  • Walk-in (no vehicles): $24

Campfire permits are now included in your nightly fee.  If you do plan on having a campfire, make sure you reserve a spot with a fire pit.  The campground will provide you with firewood, but you’ll need to go get it and bring it back to your site. In fact, you’re not actually allowed to bring your own firewood into the National Park or across provincial lines.

Whistler Campground recent renovations

Over the 2020/21 summers, Parks Canada did extensive upgrades to all the bath houses, the roads, and some of the serviced sites. Now there are showers available in every loop instead of needing to use the main shower building. The main ring road has been paved and many of the interior roads were freshly paved as well.

a new bathhouse at whistlers campground
New bathhouse and dishwashing stations at Whistlers Campground in Jasper NP

Why Whistlers is the Perfect Family Campground

Super fun playground and biking area:  In the center of the campground there is a large field, the amphitheater, play structures, and swing sets. Although I wouldn’t say that Whistlers intentionally made a bike park, the little kids often use the playground area like one.  There’s a sand path with twists and turns, bumps and hills to loop around on.

kids playing badminton, playing on wooden structures, and in a creek at Whistlers Campground in Jasper National Park
Just our family having fun at Whistlers Campground in Jasper National Park.

Hot water:  Yes, this is a big one for me!  Jasper nights are cool, even on hot summer days, and it’s so much easier to convince the kids to wash the day’s dirt away when the water is warm.  I especially like that they have big dish washing sinks by the washrooms with hot water too!

Organized programming:  Before Covid, Parks Canada staff put on various games and events throughout the summer at a few of the different campgrounds.  It changed slightly from summer to summer, but generally they had games, campfire sing-a-longs, and theater productions (which can be surprisingly entertaining!). 

You’ll need to ask at the booth, the information center, or hunt out posters in the outhouses for details of that summer’s activities, times, and locations for possible activities this summer.

The walking path:  Not all walking paths are made equal.  The path cutting through the middle of Whistlers Campground wins points for being so exciting for young kids.  At short intervals along the path, the kids can balance along wooden beams, hop from stump to stump, scramble over small walls, splash through creeks, and even play in a little lean-to fort or house.  When we do this trail as a group of families, most of the adults get up and try their balance and jumping too!

Close proximity to the town of Jasper:  Because Whistlers Campground is so close, biking families can use the trails to get to and from town or to get onto the trails to explore over by Old Fort Point, Jasper Park Lodge, and enthusiastic bikers can get all the way to Maligne Canyon or Valley of the Five Lakes.

The elk:  As long as it’s not calving or rutting season, watching the elk saunter by your campsite can be a very exciting event!

Elk peeking out a cookhouse window at Whistler's Campground in Jasper National Park.
Yes, that’s an elk looking out of the cookhouse window. No, she wasn’t actually wearing glasses.

What we don’t like about Whistlers

How big it is:  I know, I know, I just told you how I enjoy looking at all the campsites and get-ups.  However, the down-side to a really large campground is that kids who want to explore have more chances of getting lost and turned around (adults too!).  Also, on busy summer weekends, the line-up of cars to get into the campground at dinner time can be really long!

Which campsite should you reserve?

This is a hard one, because choosing a site does depend on your camping equipment.  Not all sites are big enough for trailers.  Nor do all sites have electricity, or campfire pits.

Our favourite loops for electricity are 64 and 67.  The sites in this part of the campground are more open and get lots of sunlight through the trees.  Loops 64 and 67 are also close to the walking trail and play areas.

If we’re not concerned about having electricity, we really like loop 9.  Loop 8 would be good too, but I think that’s only for tents or tent trailers and so we haven’t stayed there.  Both 8 and 9 loop are right on the playground.  If your kids are old enough to go play unaccompanied, then try for these sites.  They’ll have a great time!

If you’re camping in full luxury (with water and electricity) you’ll probably want loops 50-59.  These sites are larger with-pull through parking.  Know that you really should be reserving these sites as soon as the reservation system opens up in January each year.  You’ll find more information about reserving campgrounds in this post.

Fire Smarting Update: Parks Canada has been busy updating Whistlers Campground and taking down all the dead Pine Beetle trees. Because of this much of the area with full electricity hook-ups now looks like an open field. There are baby trees, but it’ll take a long while for them to start providing some shade and privacy for those sites.

picnic table at campsite at whistlers campground in jasper national park
New, recently updated campsites at Whistlers Campgroudn in Jasper National Park

Also, remember that if you are close to the washrooms, you’ll have more foot traffic around your site.  The washroom buildings keep an outside light on as well.  If you think this might bother you or your sleeping family, you may want to choose a site further from these buildings.

I remember how years ago we’d hop in the car, gear piled high in the backseat and head off to the mountains, no certain plans… just open to go where the feelings and roads would take us.  It’s hard to do that now.  I’ll admit this is mostly because the backseat is now occupied with little people.  But those little people have different demands and comforts.  As much as I want to instill a sense of adventure with my kids, I also don’t want to cuddle a muddy kid all night long or hold a toddler over a stinky outhouse toilet if I don’t have to.  Which brings me right back to why Whistlers Campground in Jasper National Park is a great choice for families!

Planning to stay at Whistler’s Campground or another Jasper Campground?

If you’d like some information on all the campgrounds in Jasper National Park, you’ll find this is a helpful article.  I also explain how the reservation system works for the park.  Basically, to get the best reservable sites, you’ll want to have your camping plans made by the beginning of the year.  Seriously, they book up fast.  Like 10 minutes fast!

Lastly, what will you do while you’re visiting the park?  I’m all for hanging out at the campsite to play and read and explore.  But, you’ll be in Jasper and you’ll want to take in a few of the sights, I’m sure! 

Here are a few more Jasper National Park reads:

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2 thoughts on “Whistlers Campground, great family camping in Jasper!”

  1. there are so many great tips in this post. Thanks for sharing. I am always looking for good places to take my daughter for an adventure – this looks like a good one.

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