ARE you wondering where are the best places to pitch your tent this summer near Banff, Lake Louise, Yoho National Park, Golden BC, are? Is this the year to finally stoke your wanderlust? Look no further, the Canadian Rockies Summer Camping Guide is what you’re after! Fully revised & expanded, this guide includes some little some hidden gems perfect for your Canadian Rockies Summer getaway! On your Canadian Rockies camping vacation you can wake up beside an alpine lake, fall asleep to the sound of a distant waterfall, or sit around the campfire watching the sun fade behind a mountain. The adventures you can have are only limited by your sense of adventure! It’s no wonder tens of thousands of intrepid campers flock to the Canadian Rockies every summer. With 5 National Parks Clustered together and hundreds of world class hikes, the Canadian Rockies are truly a gem for campers. For weekend staycations that are an easy drive from Calgary & Edmonton, to those coming from across the globe, no matter how many times you visit the Canadian Rockies you will always find something new & exciting!
Campgrounds in Yoho National Park:
Yoho? Never heard of it? This is one of the oldest National Parks in the Canadian Rockies. The word “Yoho” is a Cree expression of awe and wonder. And this park is sure not to dissappoint. What does Yoho do best? Dozens of waterfalls including Wapta Falls, the Burgess Shale, and some spectacular hikes! (Our fave is the Iceline Trail)
The only populated area in Yoho National Park is the town of Field, BC. Located 26 Kilometres west of Lake Louise, this charming mountain town of fewer than 200 people is an authentic mountain retreat with accommodation year-round, artisan crafts, and culinary delights.. Established in the 1880s as a siding for the Canadian Pacific Railway, it is now home to many B & B’s, restaurants and the Yoho National Park Visitor Information Centre. The Kicking Horse River offers easy access for visitors. Of the 2.5 million travelers who pass through Yoho National Park each year, most enjoy the viewing areas, picnic facilities and interpretive displays along the Trans-Canada Highway, the Yoho Valley, and Emerald Lake roads. Takkakaw Falls, which drops 254 metres from the Daly Glacier to the Yoho River, the “Natural Bridge,” and Wapta Falls are popular scenic spots along the River. Tourism is big on the Kicking Horse River with half day & full day Whitewater Rafting adventures available.
When to go? June to September for the warmest weather and best hiking trail conditions. For the must see sights such as Wapta Falls or the Natural Bridge, we recommend early morning or late evening viewing to avoid the crowds.
- Kicking Horse Campground. This is by far the most popular of the campgrounds in Yoho National Park. It borders the western edge of the park and has great views of Mount Chancellor, the Canadian Rockies first peak over 10,000 feet on the Western Flank of the Rockies, This Campground is open May – September. It gets it name from being close to the headwaters of the Kicking Horse River. Typically on July and August Long Weekend, the Kicking Horse Campground in Yoho National Park that is maintained by Parks Canada is always full. The nearest campsite to the Kicking Horse Campground would Alpine Rafting’s Rustic Riverside Camping. Alpine offers this camping at no charge to all rafters, so this can add up to considerable savings if whitewater rafting on the Kicking Horse River is on your summer bucket list.
- Monarch Campground: A lesser know campground in Yoho National Park, the Monarch Campground sees less use than the Kicking Horse Campground, however it should not be dismissed as a worthy camping option. It is more suited to self sustained campers, such as tent or small campers.
- Takakkaw Falls Camgpround: Don’t even try and pronounce.;-) Do as the locals do and simply call is “Tak” Falls. It’s much easier! This Campground is awesome, and within striking distance of the stunning Wapta Falls, and has the upper reaches of the Kicking Horse River flowing past some of the sites. But what you may not know is that Yoho National Park is home of the waterfalls, with over 50 waterfalls in the park. What draws folks to camp at Tak Falls is that it is a starting point of most of the stunning hikes in Yoho National Park. The Iceline Trail takes the cake in our books, and the trailhead leaves right from the campsite. This Campground is a popular one for folks that enjoy hiking and those wanted to be close to prime Canadian Rockies Summer Activities like Whitewater Rafting.
For rate & season information please visit Yoho National Park’s Camping Page
Campgrounds in Golden, BC:
Golden, British Columbia, straddles the Western flank of the Rockies and holds the key to almost any mountain adventure your adventurous little heart can dream up! From mountain biking to rafting to paragliding, this sublime mountain town has got you covered! Golden is located within one hours drive of 5 National Parks, making it an amazing basecamp for all your adventures. Whats more – being outside the National Park allows Golden to offer an array of activities the Parks cannot – such as ATV’ing, Whitewater Rafting, Skydiving, Golf & Many More!
When to go? May to September is best. Golden lies about 86 kilometres west of the Continental Divide. As such, the weather is more predictable and warmer than neighbouring Lake Louise & Banff. During this time you will find the bike trails, rivers & hiking trails are all ready to rock!
- Alpine Rafting Rustic Riverside Camping: For seasoned campers, there is a free camping option right along the Kicking Horse River, right outside the Western Border of Yoho National Park. This site is awesome, encompassing about 25 acres of treed and open sites suitable for larger groups. There are a couple nearby lakes to enjoy, and quads are permitted on the logging roads. Many opt to camp right out on the river flats for a once in a lifetime experience. There are sweeping views of Mount Chancellor in bordering Yoho National Park from the sites. Contact Alpine Rafting for more info, or check out their Raft and Camp Packages.
- Golden Municipal Campground: This campground is family operated and they do take great pride in providing their visitors with a positive camping experience. There are sites right along the Kicking Horse River, which are more open, and there are also sites tucked back into the forest. Bike Trails on Mount 7 are closely for downhill mountain bikers. For a more leisurely ride, the rotary trail network borders the entire length of the campground. Maps of the rotary trails are available from the Campground office. A small store offers snacks, ice cream, camping supplies and pizza.
Campgrounds in Field, BC
Yoho National Park is home to some of Canada’s greatest campgrounds, operated by Parks Canada. Just a short distance from the town of Field front country, RV and car camping can be found. By hiking just a little further you can reach spectacular back country camp sites. On your Canadian Rockies camping vacation you can wake up beside an alpine lake, fall asleep to the sound of a distant waterfall, or sit around the campfire watching the sun fade behind a mountain. A camping trip in Yoho National Park is the perfect outdoor vacation getaway.
The town of Field, BC is a great little town to spend an afternoon browsing the local artisan shops, grabbing a hot coffee or meal. For a town of such a small size, it does have most of the amenities a traveler seeks. As you drive into Field, you will cross the Kicking Horse River over a bridge. From most locations in town, you can see sweeping views of the Kicking Horse River Valley. Just east of Field, high up on the Wapta Icefield, is the birthplace of the Kicking Horse River. There are no campgrounds right in the town of Field, you will need to travel a few minutes by car to access the Parks Canada Campgrounds Described above.
When to go? Summer in the Canadian Rockies can be described as short and sweet! May 15th to September 1st are the prime season for camping activities in & around Field BC. Anytime before May 15th & you are likely to encounter snow – both in camp & on the trails. September is still a great month for camping in Field, BC and if you can handle the cooler nights, you can enjoy most of the campground to yourself.
Campgrounds in Lake Louise AB
There are two campgrounds in the townsite of Lake Louise, which is in Banff National Park. The town of Lake Louise is in close proximity to the headwaters of the Kicking Horse River, which is the Wapta Icefield; specifically the Yoho Glacier. A recommended day trip from this campground would be to spend a half day or full day rafting the world famous emerald green waters of the Kicking Horse River, known as the jewel of the Canadian Rockies.
When to go? As beautiful as summer is in the Canadian Rockies, the townsite of Lake Louise straddles the continental divide & therefore can bring unpredictable weather. Think cooler temps at night, sometimes near freezing and sometimes just below. Don’t worry, there is still plenty of sunshine and sunny days to be had for your Adventures, just be sure to bring warm clothes for those cooler nights!
The Lake Louise Tent Campground is located 1 km from the village of Lake Louise, 4 kms from the lake itself, and lies 60 km north-west of the Town of Banff. It is open from May 15th to September. 30th. More information on the Lake Louise Tent Campground.
The Lake Louise Campground is located 1 km from the village of Lake Louise, 4 kms from the lake itself, and lies 60 kms northwest of the Town of Banff. More information on the Lake Louise Trailer Campground.
We hope you enjoyed reading the Canadian Rockies Summer Camping Guide. There are lots of great activities to do in the Canadian Rockies. From shopping, to hikes, to Whitewater Rafting on the Kicking Horse River, For more information on activities to take advantage of during your stay, please visit: Top 10 Things to Do in the Canadian Rockies
Lake Louise, Alberta
Walking along the Upper Reaches of the Kicking Horse River in Field, BC
Sunset atop Mount 7 – Golden BC
Riverside BBQ Lunch Kicking Horse River BC
Free Riverside Camping just outside Western border of Yoho National Park
Stand Up Paddleboarding in Yoho National Park